Lake Pichola, Rajasthan, India

Lake Locations:

India - West - Rajasthan -

A watery surprise awaits visitors to Udaipur in India’s semi-arid Rajasthan region: beautiful Lake Pichola. The first of a series of man-made lakes, Lake Pichola is the foundation on which the city itself was founded. Udaipur is now surrounded by man-made lakes connected by rivers and canals spanned by multiple decorative arches, giving it the title Venice of The East. The beauty of the 1,700-acre shallow lake encouraged the building of multiple palaces along its shore in the six-and-a-half centuries since its creation. The lake has also been enlarged by further damming at least once, drowning the village of Pichola from which it takes its name. The plentiful water resources encouraged settlement and further efforts to build artificial lakes surrounded by ever-blooming gardens, multiple palaces and an eventual tourism industry based on these romantic views. Udaipur is now a cultural delight and one of the most often visited locations in the Rajasthan region.

The Sisarma, a tributary of the Kotra River, was dammed first in 1362 by a gyspy Banjahara tribesman to provide a pathway for transporting grain across the Sisarma. Two centuries later, Maharana Udai Singh II founded the city of Udaipur on the banks of the lake and also enlarged the lake by constructing a stone masonry dam in the Badipol region. Although large, the lake is quite shallow, with an average depth of only 14 feet. During periods of prolonged drought, the inflow from the Sisarma and the drainage from the surrounding hills is inadequate to keep the lake filled. The lake has been known to dry up completely on occasion.

Two large islands grace the surface of Lake Pichola. Jag Niwas Island is better known as the Lake Palace Hotel. The four-acre island is completely covered by a palace converted to a luxury hotel which plays host to India’s Bollywood stars and elite visitors. This famous structure is often recognized as a shooting location in the James Bond movie, Octopussy. Jag Mandir holds the Lake Garden Palace. Several smaller islands also serve various purposes, with Arsi Vilas a haven for birds; a platform, Natni-Ka-Chabutra, has its own legend involving a drowned tightrope walker and a curse she placed on the descendants of Maharana Jawan Singh.

A second small lake was constructed on the southeast side of Lake Pichola. Although named Doodh Talai, the small lake is more of an inlet for an incoming stream and contributes its water to the larger Lake Pichola. Two parks grace the shore near Doodh Talai. Marble temples, palaces, family mansions, bathing ghats and nature reserves have built up around Lake Pichola. Sitamata Game Sanctuary graces its western shore. And Udaipur itself is home to a number of museums depicting the extravagant lifestyles of the royal families of the Rajput era. Some of these are City Palace museum, Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum, Shilpgram Museum, Ahar Museum and a vintage car museum.

The City Palace of Udaipur graces the eastern shore of Lake Pichola, an imposing and somewhat eclectic structure with additions built by a succession of rulers. Boats plying the lake carrying tourists and sightseers depart from here. Jagdish Temple built in the Indo-Aryan architectural style is located in the City Palace complex. Its architecture includes beautifully carved pillars, decorated ceilings, painted walls and beautiful halls; it is one of the major tourist attractions in Udaipur. South of the palace is the hill known as Machhala Magra where part of the old city wall and the small fort of Eklinggarh can still be seen. Beyond this the former Khasi Odi, or hunting lodge of the Maharanas, is now a hotel.

Udaipur is a renowned tourism destination where visitors tour the waterways by boat, visit the lush gardens watered by the lakes, and schedule exclusive palaces-turned-hotels for weddings and celebrations. All types of lodgings are available in a wide range of prices. Some of the more elaborate are quite highly-priced, but there are other smaller hotels and guest houses that will suit most visitors’ needs and budgets. The city is well-endowed with restaurants and nightlife. Excursions can be taken to other unique locations in the surrounding area or to visit small villages along the lakeshore for festivals and fireworks.

Lake Pichola has suffered from declining water quality due to a combination of growing population with poor sanitary systems, irrigation run-off and the generally saline soil of the shallow lakebed. Most fishing is no longer viable, and many native species of fish no longer can live here. Increased focus on improving water quality has led to major improvements in sewer systems and pollution prevention from run-off. Irrigation from the lake has been halted and water quality is improving rapidly. Invasive aquatic plants have been removed, and new sewer projects are quickly being implemented. Udaipur knows that both its past and its future depend on the viability of Lake Pichola, and the citizens are determined not to let their famous ‘liquid assets’ be degraded. As much of the population still depends on Lake Pichola for bathing and laundry, they are most conscious of any negative change in the water’s quality. Improved scientific monitoring and more money for remediation projects are producing rapid results. The Venice of The East intends to maintain its proud reputation as the most popular destination in Rajasthan. They hope you will visit soon so they can introduce you to their beautiful lakes.

Things to do at Lake Pichola

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • Museum

Lake Pichola Photo Gallery

Lake Pichola Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Surface Area: 1,720 acres

Shoreline Length: 8 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,941 feet

Average Depth: 14 feet

Maximum Depth: 28 feet

Water Volume: 10,604 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1362

Drainage Area: 21 sq. miles

Spread the word! Share our Lake Pichola article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.