Hussain Sagar Lake, Andhra Pradesh, India

Lake Locations:

India - South - Andhra Pradesh -

Also known as:  Hussainsagar

Defining the borders of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, Hussain Sagar Lake forms a direct link between South India’s past and present. The largest artificial lake in Asia, Hussain Sagar was built by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali in 1562 to serve as a water supply for the two cities. A levee, called locally a bund, forms the dam across a tributary of the River Musi, creating a lake that was originally about 1360 acres. The lake served this growing area admirably for centuries as a water source, fishery and landmark. However, the very growth that Hussain Sagar facilitated has nearly become the cause of its demise. For Hussain Sagar faces challenges due to pollution, over-use and declining water supply. The two burgeoning cities along its shoreline have seen explosive growth with little to control encroachment, sewage or industrial waste draining into the lake. Efforts are now underway to remedy the situation.

During its long life, Hussain Sagar has become the centerpiece of cultural life and modern entertainment for Hyderabad. At least four sailing clubs call its shores home. The Hyderabad Sailing Week has been conducted here since 1984 when the first Laser boats (an Olympic class boat) were introduced by the Laser Class Association of India. Boat tours are a common activity for all visitors. In the 1990s, a 60-foot carved marble statue of the Gautam Buddha was erected on a mid-lake island called the Rock of Gibraltar. Boat tours bring visitors for a quick tour, or speedboats can be rented for a more leisurely viewing. The lake is a favorite for water sports such as power boating and para-sailing. Luxury launches offer tours on the lake. These tours are often a crowing touch to an event-filled day or weekend spent enjoying the many amusements and parks along the shoreline.

The lakeshore, particularly the levee area – called the Tank Bund – has been heavily developed into gardens, parks and entertainment venues. A series of 33 large bronze statues of historical and eminent personalities of Hyderabad State and the State of Andhra Pradesh are displayed on pedestals along the road. Saidanimaa tomb and mosque, also known as Sayedani Maa Tomb, are located at the north end of the levee. An Archeological Survey of India-declared heritage site, these unique lime and mortar tombs are beautifully carved and have marble inlay work on them, a spectacular display of Islamic architecture. On the side of the bund opposite the lake, a new indoor snow park allows visitors from this tropical area to enjoy sledding, tobogganing and skating. The Tank Bund has been widened and improved several times, with fountains featuring colored lights and landscaping to make the area a favored strolling path. A new ‘necklace road’ has been built to circle the rest of the lake and better connect the many cultural and entertainment venues around Hussain Sagar. National Highway 9 runs along the top of the Tank Bund.

Just south of the Tank Bund, Lumbini Park features a musical fountain, landscaped garden with floral clock, nature trail, and children’s play area. The boating facility, one of the major attractions, extends to the middle of the lake. A multimedia show called Lumbini Laserium narrates Hyderabad’s history through a laser display on a water screen. On the northern side of Hussain Sagar lake is Sanjeevaiah Park, featuring a rock garden and a variety of hybrid roses. Other parks around the lake include a children’s park with playgrounds and miniature golf, and a park dedicated to Indira Gandhi where movies are often filmed.

The Hyderabad metropolitan area has a number of other sites of cultural interest to attract visitors. The Salar Jung Museum houses one of the largest one-person collections of antiques in the world and includes Persian carpets, Moghal miniatures, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquerware, famous statues and a variety of treasures from around the world. Ramoji Film City, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, offers facilities to produce any kind of movie. Visitors can take tours of the sets and facilities. Prasad’s IMAX, India’s third IMAX Theatre, is located in the heart of the city on the banks of Hussain Sagar Lake. The beautiful Andhra Pradesh Secretariat buildings and the Char Minar with its minarets attract sightseers as does the 13th century Golkonda Fort (sometimes spelled Golconda) just outside of the city. And Hussain Sagar is an important focal point of the annual Ganesh Nimajjanam, a festival celebrating Lord Ganesh. The culmination of the 10-day event is the immersion of small statues of the Lord Ganish in the waters of the Hussain Sagar. This immersion has actually become one of the factors contributing to declining water quality.

Hussain Sagar was once a healthy fishery and drinking water supply. Unfortunately, the few incoming streams have become contaminated with storm run-off, sewage and industrial wastes. The amount of inflowing water has also been reduced, causing Hussain Sager to shrink down to less than 900 acres and silt to diminish its former depth. Most commercially viable fish are gone, and massive die-offs have horrified the local population on more than one occasion. A form of carp introduced into the lake to eat moss growing on the bottom were soon removed by illegal fishing. Although waste treatment facilities have improved, many unauthorized sources of pollution still drain into the inflowing streams and ditches. Government and environmental groups have been working to improve water quality, but all too often local business does not cooperate fully.

Recent testing found that the annual Immersion of the Lord Ganesh statues was causing heavy metal indexes to rise. It was found that instead of the traditional clay statues, more of the faithful were buying the cheaper plaster of Paris statues which contain metals such as lead. The gilded paints used to decorate them are also high in metallic compounds. Efforts to both remove the residue left by the statues and educate the worshipers to use clay statues is expected to improve water quality in the future. Some dredging of sediments is being done with money provided by world environmental organizations. Aeration fountains were recently installed. Now that the situation has gained the attention of environmental groups, pressure on the Indian government has increased to take more definite action, and improvement is being seen.

Hussain Sagar is still a beautiful lake. The vista at night with the lighted fountains, the many lights around the Necklace Road, and the attractions that operate late into the evening make a lakeside stroll worth a visit. Hyderabad is known for shopping, particularly for pearls. Many restaurants and shops around the lake cater to tourists and religious pilgrims. Lodgings are plentiful, as Hyderabad is also a well-known industrial center and gets many business visitors. All types of rentals can be found including short-term rental apartments, but the large chain hotels are often the most reliable in terms of services and amenities. Many resorts, including spa resorts can be found lakefront and within sight of the shore. Real estate is also available but somewhat complicated for foreign investors to purchase. Trains run daily to as far away as Mumbai on the Arabian Sea. Hyderabad and Hussain Sagar Lake are inviting and accessible. Make a visit soon – and plan on shopping for pearls!

Things to do at Hussain Sagar Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Tobogganing
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Miniature Golf
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Hussain Sagar Lake

  • Carp
  • Char

Hussain Sagar Lake Photo Gallery

Hussain Sagar Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Surface Area: 862 acres

Shoreline Length: 9 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,759 feet

Average Depth: 17 feet

Maximum Depth: 32 feet

Water Volume: 21,970 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1562

Drainage Area: 26 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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