The Renuka Lake (660 m) is regarded as the embodimezznt of Renukaji, the wife of sage Jamadagini and mother of Parshuram, one of the ten Avtars of Lord Vishnu. Shaped like a profile of a woman, the lake has the circumference of 2.5 km and is the largest in Himachal. This placid stretch of water is fed by underground springs and the surrounding hills are padded by lush forests that support a large variety of plant and animal life. Boating and trekking are the additional attractions of Renukaji, whose natural beauty has to be seen to be believed. This is perfect year around destination that beckons every traveler.
Access : Renukaji is connected by road. It is 315 km from Delhi. The nearest rail head is at Ambala (95 km) Dehradun (105km) and Chandigarh (95 km). The nearest airports are at Chandigarh and Dehradun. Taxis/buses are available for Renukaji at all places.
Climate : In winter, the climate is pleasant and light woolens are suggested. Summer temperature are high and cottons are recommended.
Places of Interest
- Renuka Lake : Legend has it that when the evil Sahasarjuna killed the sage Jamadagini and tried to abduct his wife Renuka. She flung herself into the water. The gods restored her to life and this lake is regarded to be her embodiment. There is a row of temples along its banks, and a track encircles the water. Boats are available on hire next to the hotel.
- Parashurama Tal And Renuka Temple (100M) : At the base of the Renuka lake, this large pool is considered to embrace Lord Parshurama, who wished to spend all eternity at his mother's feet. Reportedly built overnight by an invading force of Gurkhas in early 19th Century, the original temple of Renukaji is here. Both mother and son are reunited every year at a celebratory fair held in November.
- Jamu Peak (8 km) : Above the lake is the peak where Rishi Jamadagini is said to have meditated. A footpath leads to the peak. There is a small temple and it offers an excellent view of the lake and surrounding area.
- Mini Zoo (2 km) : You can boat across the lake or drive to this zoo, which has Asiatic lions, spotted deer, lion tailed macaques, 'Nilgai' Methuen, barking deer and Himalayan black bears.
- Lion Safari (2 km) : Adjoining the zoo, an armored van enters the large enclosure allowing for a close glimpse of the lions within.
- Jataun (5 km) :The dam of the Giri Hydel Project is here and angling for Mahaseer (river carp) may be done.
Surrounded by sal forest and on the banks of river Yamuna, the historic town of Paonta Sahib (350m) was founded by the Tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. When only 16 years old, the Guru left Anandpur Sahib and on the invitation of Raja Maidini Prakash of Sirmour, lived at this beautiful spot for over four years. The historic gurudwara commemorates his stay and interestingly the water of the Yamuna fall silent below this which happened at the Guru's behest. The word Paonta means 'Space for a foothold'.
Paonta Sahib is connected by road. From Renukaji. It is 81 km via Nahan and 60 km via Rajban. From Dehradun, it is 44 km. The closest railheads are at Ambala and Dehradun. The nearest airports are at Chandigarh and Dehradun. Taxis/buses are available for Paonta Sahib at all places.
In winter, the temperature can hover around freezing point when heavy woolens are required. Summer temperature are high and cottons are recommended.
Places of Interest
- Gurudwara Paonta Sahib : This site was Guru Gobind Singh's home for over four years and it was here that he wrote the Dasam Granth. Within its precincts are the Sri Talab Asthan where he disbursed salaries and the Sri Dastar Asthan were he judged the turban tying competitions. At the Kavi Darbar Asthan, poetic symposia were held. There is also a memorial to sage Kalpi and a museum that displays pens and weapons of the period among other artefacts.
- Yamuna Temple : This ancient shrine is immediately below the gurudwara and is dedicated to the goddess Yamuna.
- Gurudwara Tirgarh Sahib (22 km) : This is built on the hillock from where Guru Gobind Singh shot arrows at the enemy.
- Gurudwara Bhangani Sahib (23 km) : This commemorates Guru Gobind Singh's first battle when he defeated Raja Fateh Sahib and his allies.
- Shiva Temple, Patlian (4.5 km) : Surrounded by fields and sal trees, the linga in this temple is supposed to be steadily increasing in size.
- Shrine of Baba Garib Nath (8 km) : Located in a sal forest and with an excellent view of the area, the shrine is revered by childless women.
- Ram Temple : Within Paonta Sahib the temple is located near the Yamuna bridge. With exquisite marble work built in 1889 in the memory of Raja Partap Chand of Kangra by his wife who originally belonged to Sirmour. The Kirpal Dass Gurudwara is just part of the temple.
- Gurudwara Shergarh Sahib (12 km) : At this spot Guru Gobind Singh beheaded a dangerous man eater tiger with a single swipe of this sword.
- Simbalwara Wildlife Sanctuary : 12 km off the main Paonta Sahib - Nahan road, this is known for a variety of bird life.
- Sirmour (16 km) : Here are the remains of the old capital of the princely state of Sirmour. The town is said to have been destroyed by flood in the 11th century, when it was cursed by a dancing girl.
- Nagnauna Temple (16 km) : Built in a hollow near the village of Puruwallia, this temple is closely allied with the legend of Sirmour's erstwhile ruling house.
- Katasan Devi Temple (30 km) : Also known as Uttam Wala Bara Ban, this is on the Paonta Sahib - Nahan road. The Shrine is revered by local people. At this spot, the forces of Sirmour defeated the marauding armies of Ghulam Qadir Khan Rohilla.
- Nahan (45 km) : Built in a series of interlocking circles, this charming town was founded by Raja Karan Prakash of Sirmour in 1621. It has numerous pleasing walks, several temples, a gurudwara and interesting architecture.
- Fossil Park Saketi (60 km) : This was the site of the largest fossil find in the Shiwalik hills. The park has a museum and life size models of animals that once roamed these tracts.
- Balasundari Temple, Trilokpur (63 km) : Legend has it that the Devi's pindi appeared in a bag brought by a local trader. The temple was built by Raja Deep Parkash of Sirmour in 1573. Close by is a recently built Shiva Temple.
- Adventure and Fishing : The most popular trek in the area is to the 3,647 meter high Choordhar - which poetically translates as the "Mountain of the silver bangle". Fishing is possible on the Giri and Yamuna rivers near Paonta Sahib.