Sukhna Lake is a beautiful lake that lies in the foothills of Shivalik range. The unique thing about Sukhna is that it is a manmade lake. It is a 3 km long lake that was created in the year 1958. It was done by damming the Sukhna Choe, which is a seasonal stream flowing down from the Shivalik hills. Sukhana Lake of Chandigarh, India has become an integral part of the city
The lake was created by Le Corbusier and the Chief Engineer P L Verma. To preserve its tranquility, Corbusier insisted on two things: that it be forbidden for motor boats to circulate in the water, and for vehicular traffic to be prohibited on top of the dam (promenade). The lake is fringed by a golf course to the south, and Nek Chand's famous Rock Garden of Chandigarh to its west.
Sukhna is an inseparable part of the city of Chandigarh. Le Corbusier had foreseen that the residents of the city would be drawn it for the 'care of the body and spirit'. The city planners were deeply attached to the lake. So much so that Pierre Jeanneret's ashes were immersed in the lake in 1970 at his niece's request.
The roof of the 'bandh' or dam has become a favorite promenade. Serious walkers pursue an exercise regime, families enjoy an evening stroll and nature lovers mingle with children on roller skates. Photographers and painters love to capture its scenic beauty of the setting sun, or the heavily clouded monsoon sky, or the early morning mist in winter set amidst the tranquility of the lake. Even anglers do not leave unrewarded.
Sukhna has a membership-based Lake Club with lawns, a gym, indoor games, swimming pool and tennis courts with both synthetic and grass courts. Boating, rowing, sculling, sailing, kayaking and water skiing can be enjoyed throughout the year.
The lake, which was the venue for the Asian Rowing Championships, has the longest channel for rowing and yachting events in Asia. It also has facilities for other water sports like water surfing, skiing and sculling.
Sukhna is a sanctuary for many exotic migratory birds like the Siberian duck, storks and cranes, during the winter months. The lake has been declared as a protected national wetland by the Government of India.
During summers, there are streams of men, women and children from all walks of life offering voluntary service to desilt the lake bed for about three months. This annual ritual has been a regular feature since long ago.
Sukhna Lake is the venue for many festive celebrations, too. The most popular is the Mango Festival held during the monsoons when scores of varieties of mangoes are on display. From time-to-time, other food festivals featuring specialties from different Indian States are also held here, along with cultural performances.