Ghumakkar inspired trip to Renukaji

Modern life is fast, furious, and hectic. Thus, in an attempt to spare the nerves that very often are at an edge, an escapade from the stress and strain of office frenzy was planned to the quiet hill station. Approximately 300 kilometres from Delhi, this serene spot is tucked away in the foothills of Himalayas. This time it was only us, the husband and wife with a three-year old kid as we failed to elicit favourable response from any of the family friends with whom we usually plan our vacations. It was the day of Dusshera and early morning we set out for our sojourn.

We decided to drive down in our own car and choose our own sweet pace. We had vowed to make it a relaxing trip and dared not show our frenzy while packing up for the short weekend tour. The homework on route selection was done. Taking cue from one of the previously written write-up in Ghumakkar by Anandarup Nandi, we had zeroed in on our route. The route charted out in front of us was through Sonepat, via Panipat, touching Karnal, crossing Kala Amb, to Nahan. The Renuka Lake was merely 40 kms from Nahan via Dadahu and takes less than an hour to reach the quaint little lake town.

The picturesque roads en route

We had started off around 6.30 in the morning and at about 10, we took an entertaining hour-long break on the way in Haveli near Kurushektra, a theme-based resting place on the highway to cater to the hungry and thirsty passers-bys. That gave us the much needed opportunity to stretch our legs. After an assorted sumptuous meal that was overly elaborate and more filling compared to a normal breakfast, we headed for our destination once more. Nahan provided us a short stopover while we checked out accommodation availability in Grand View Resort. Nahan was extremely picturesque and the resort looked very inviting with its splendid view. We had hoped to stop over and spend one night in the resort in our way back from Renukaji.

Unfortunately, the rooms were full and we shifted our focus to Renukaji once more. A total of about seven hours of cool drive through picturesque roads and we were in Renukaji comfortably.

The sparkling green waters of the Renukaji lake

A placid green lake, very few local inhabitants, shoals of gigantic fishes under the smudgy green waters and some colourful bobbing pedal boats offered us as much as we had expected at the first instance. There is very little to do in Renukaji other than relax – and that’s the beauty of it.

Blissfully peaceful

We had booked accommodation in the Renukaji Hotel that belonged to the HPTDC. The rooms were spacious and comfortable but did not have too much to boast of. The restaurant offered limited menu and the food was strictly vegetarian. But it seemed to be a testing time for our growling stomach as we had to wait every time for orders to be served that took ages. We had a quick lunch, changed and freshened up a bit and decided to hang around the lake.

Renukaji Hotel by the lakeside

The fluttering butterflies

A look at the lake and my naughty kiddo was excited to the point of diving into the waters to touch and feel the wide-mouthed fishes wriggling and swimming around in hundreds just beneath the green surface. We quickly hired the most colourful, dragon shaped pedal boat chosen by junior and floated off into the lake. There was so much of peace and calmness all around. The silence was soothing and harmonious.

The fishes awaiting their morsels

Darkness soon settled in as the lake waters caught the last rays of the fading sunrays and it was time to get back to the hotel. We pedalled to the shore and receded to our hotel and anchored ourselves on the terrace. Darkness coupled with the sounds of the forest was mesmerizing. We had a warm interaction with another group also chilling out on the terrace and junior had an awesome time playing with the big friendly pet dog of theirs. Relaxing was the ‘mahamantra’ of the tour – our mantra materialized into genuine tranquillity.

Next day morning, with new enthusiasm and a fresh body and soul we started off to the forest that harbours the zoo, spread all along the lake. At the beginning of our journey we stopped to offer our prayers to the Renukaji Temple and fed the already well-fed fishes at the temple ‘ghat’.

The Renukaji Temple

Trekking along the leisurely narrow winding way was fun. I pitied the families whizzing past us who would choose to go round the circumference in their comfortable and posh four-wheelers and shirked the slow walk. Spotted deer, barking deer, black bear, and lions all vied for our attention from their wired cages. But the animals that took our breath away and left us gaping were surprisingly giant bats, wild and free. Yes, bats they were, in hundreds and ferocious looking, hung upside down from a clump of very high eucalyptus branches. The whole jungle was reverberating with the shrieks of these bats even in broad daylight managed to create a weirdly eerie atmosphere. These creatures with black back and brown belly looked ominous enough to send bone-chilling sensations down the spine. The jungle seemed to be trembling, shuddering and quivering with the continuous vibrating motion of these bats.

The shrieking giant bats

The lion safari was a bit disappointing with a well-fed lazy looking lion sitting majestically in a fenced jungle area. Just across, two gigantic and ferocious looking beers were jostling and wrestling furiously. That was quite a scene and small kids peeping over into the enclosure, cheered them along with enthusiastic baby yells. There were a lot of monkeys watching and aping us wherever we wandered.

The Lord of the jungle

Once inside the jungle track, we followed the narrow path that went along the circumference of the lake, we stopped for some refreshments that we carried in our bag. A bit trepid and cautious of the monkey families around, we snatched quick bites. We thoroughly enjoyed the flora and fauna, the coloured hidden flowers blooming in nooks and corners, sounds of crickets and birds and expecting some jungle beauty to unfold as we turned every bend we walked on.

The beautiful white blossoms

There was a huge bird nest (or so it seemed) hanging from a tree overlooking the lake. We also spotted some beautiful water birds, a giant spider weaving a huge web, brightly coloured dragonflies skimming the waters, multicoloured caterpillars and other insects. The jungle watchtower had little to offer apart from the cool refreshing breeze and a view of the serene boats floating on the placid waters.

Giant bird nest

The leisurely floating colorful boats

Creepy crawly caterpillar

The giant spider weaving its web

After we came back to our resort, we visited another small, quaint Renukaji Temple in front of the resort. There we happened to witness the marriage ceremony of a local couple who were getting wedded in the temple, offering their prayers to Goddess Renukaji. Darkness had already descended as the clouds glimmered with the last fading rays of the day’s sun.

The newly wed couple gracefully posed for us

Next day morning, we had our breakfast and wandered around the lakeside feeding the big fat fishes and soaked in some more of the greenery and peace. And soon it was time to pack up and begin our journey back home.

The giant tortoise peacefully co-habiting with the fishes

The Parashuram Tal, beside the Renukaji Lake, the beautiful swans floating in the waters, serenity of the Renukaji temple, giant hungry fishes co-existing with a giant enormous turtle continuously hungry and feeding from human hands were overwhelming enough to make us feel contented and happy. Renukaji lived up well to the expectation of a soft and silent getaway hidden in the hills not yet tainted by cursed commercialization – isn’t that what we all look forward to desperately at times!


  • Nandan Jha says:

    Yes, that is indeed what we long for many times.

    Very beautifully written. It would be useful to know the tariff (though you do not seem to recommend the hotel) of the hotel. ‘Grand View’ has a very amazing location. We have been to Paonta few times since it is a hometown of a close friend and on one such occasion, we drove to Jamta.

    You should write more, Bidisha. :-)

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Nandan, for the lavish praise. Yep, such praises might go a long way in making me shed my laziness and take up writing travelogues more seriously ;).

      Renukaji Hotel tariff ranges from INR 1,000 to 2,000. They have dormitories at very cheap rate of INR 150 each. Grand View Nahan is what I would recommend for staying but then you would be about 30 kms from this peaceful haven of untainted charm and mesmerizing beauty.

  • Bidisha,

    Beautiful narration of Renuka lake. I never knew about such a lake. The top pic is no doubt the “The picturesque roads en route”. One would just love driving through it. Thanks for providing the information.

    Anupam Mazumdar

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Anupam, I am glad I could spread words about this beautiful place. The journey is gorgeous and not at all stressful. You should definitely attempt this place as a weekend getaway.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Very well narrated equally supported by beautiful pictures !

    We have been to Ponta Sahib many times from Dehradun , plan was made several times to visit Renukaji lake but not yet materialized , lets see when we will be able to visit.

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Mahesh. You better give this place a try but not in the peak summers. This place does not have too much of an elevation, so I would recommend you go in October, November or February, March.

  • Vipin says:

    You are true, Renukaji offers a tranquil and peaceful time away from the maddening crowd. Walking around the lake and exploring the beautiful flora and fauna is surely a fun. Effective narrative with nice pictures.

  • Renuka Lake ,

    Very beautiful Bidisha ………………………Wonderful post and superb place.
    The pictures taken are absolutely majestic ,specially of different species of animals……………………..and description is well upto the mark…..

    Can anyone share more about Renuka temple and Parshuram tal……………………………

    Once again Bidisha , overall a classy post……………and Thanks for sharing……………

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Vishal. Renuka Temple seemed to us another revered Hindu temple very popular among the tourists and localites. Nothing much to say. Just that the surroundings are very picturesque and all the water bodies (Parshuram Tal) around are throbbing with wriggling fishes waiting greedily to get fed :) and a lot of beautiful swans.

    • Vipin says:

      Vishal Ji, Renuka Temple is dedicated to Renuka ji who was the wife of Jamdagni Rishi. She had 5 sons out of which Parshuram was the youngest (and was considered the 6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu). In the ancient time, Renuka Lake was known as Ram Sarovar created by Lord Brahma for Lord Shiva and was fed by nearby flowing Giri Ganga. This region was ruled by powerful King Shahstrabahu who started showing cruelty on the people. One day he came to Rishi Jamdagni to ask for wish-fulfilling celestial cow Kamdhenu but Rishi refused to give it to him. In an angry mood, the King killed Rishi and his 4 sons and Renukaji fled and hid herself in Ram Sarovar. When meditating Parshuram got to know about this, he first revived his father and brothers from his supernatural powers and requested mother Renuka to come out of Ram Sarovar. Since then it is called Renuka Lake. When Parshuram returned after killing the cruel King, there was a Yagya to commemorate the occasion, the same Havan Kund is now known as Parshuram Tal.

      • Bidisha says:

        Thanks Vipin for adding value to the writeup through your narration about the mythological connotation associated with the Renukaji Temple and the Parshuram Tal. Good read for me too.

  • Manish Kumar says:

    Nice to know about this place.

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  • ashok sharma says:

    very interesting write up,photos could have been better.

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Ashok for letting me know. You have sealed my determination to buy a good camera and give more efforts to nature photography :).

  • Neeraj Jat says:

    ?????? ??? ???? ?? ???????? ??? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???? ????? ?? ???? ??????

    • Bidisha says:

      Neeraj, I would advise you to wait for October, November and avoid the peak summers; since it is not that elevated, Renukajee faces hot summers and might not be that comfortable in summers.

  • Naveena Israni says:

    Very refreshing post Bidisha! Loved reading it!

  • Bidisha says:

    Thanks Naveena. Loved writing it as well :).

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    The unhurried prose was in tandem with the tranquillity of the place. It was a nice read, Bidisha. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I agree with Nandan that you should write here more often.

    I wish you wrote a line or two about the newly wedded couple who posed for you.

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Mr. Narayan for your words of praises. I am definitely encouraged to exploit my lazy self more for writing.

      As we were returning to our hotel from the lake side, we decided to have a go at the sole Maggi and soft drinks point situated around the corner. My 3 year old settled for a packet of chips. Sipping our coffee and spooning our maggi, we suddenly saw a group of localites approaching the small temple just in front of the hotel. We keenly observed the procession, and we could guess it was a marriage ceremony when we saw the couple dressed up in finery exchanging garlands in front of the deity. The priest chanted some mantras and in minutes the ceremony was over. As the newly married couple was leaving the vicinity, I requested them to pose for us, which they did gracefully and I hurriedly clicked away a few shots. That’s to it, Mr. Narayan. :)

      • D.L.Narayan says:

        Thanks Ms. Bidisha, for sharing this story. Such human interest anecdotes add warmth and an endearing quality to the posts. Please feel free to call me DL or I shall have to address you formally too ;-)

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Very nice & informative along with excellent & Beautiful pictures……..

    Keep shareing your story……


    Ritesh ….

  • Malabika GUha Mustafi says:

    That’s I call a true classy Travelogue!!This time your narration not only gives the impression of facts written in an asthetic way( you are good at that..I know :]) but also reflects the true essence of the journey..and that’s the whole purpose of our presence in here…overwhelming experience ..hope you will put your laziness aside and penning down more often and enrich us….

  • Bidisha says:

    Malabikadi, I am truly bowled out that I could touch your romantic soul. I treasure every word you have for me, negative as well as positive :)…

  • Anurag Lall says:

    Bidisha, thank you for the great information provided. I am planning to drive there end May this year. Just a few questions. Please let me know the road condition once off NH-1 (near Prince Hotel, I guess). Also are there any other eating places in Renuka apart from HPTDC hotel (My guess is no but just confirm). Is there a bar at the HPTDC hotel. Thanks a lot.

    • Bidisha says:

      Hi Anurag

      As I had reiterated, peak summers might not be the best time to visit Renukaji, as it will be very hot. Since Renukaji does not have much altitude (approx 4,000 feet), it does not get cool in summers. But then if you are really keen, you should make a go.

      The condition of the roads throughout is very good. I don’t remember driving through any bad patch. But then it has been almost 7 months since we had visited Renukaji, my information might not be absolutely updated.

      Apart from HPTDC run Renukaji Hotel, there is only a Maggi corner where you might get eggs, tea, coffee, soft drinks, and at the max various packaged namkeens and biscuits and bread toasts. There is no bar in Renukaji Hotel and the food is strictly vegetarian and with very limited options. :)

      Hope you have a nice journey and a pleasant stay. Let me know if you have any more queries.

  • Anurag Lall says:

    Bidisha; thanks for further information/clarifications. Yes I am aware May may not be the best time to visit; but with kids and my schedule, unfortunately that is the time we have on hand. I guess the HPTDC hotel does have a/c rooms; so it’s fine. Boating etc can be done earlier in the day and in evening and afternoon in the hotel should be tolerable; hopefully the a/c works fine. My main concern was the road condition. I don’t think in a few months roads could have deteriorated my much. Thanks again.

  • varun says:

    nice t-log bidisha. renuka ji is always so beautiful that it attracts tourists. there is a waterfall in the way and its a big natural waterfall which is so beautiful. have u seen that i am asking because you have’t mentioned. earlier there were so many lions in that mini zoo but now only a pair. you described every detail nicely :)

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