Udai Sagar, Rajasthan, India

Lake Locations:

India - West - Rajasthan -

One of beautiful Udaipur’s famous man-made lakes, Udai Sagar is likely one of the least visited by tourists. Udaipur, in the Mewar region of the Indian state of Rajasthan, is well-known for the many lakes built by the former ruling class. Udai Sager was one of the first built in the area for water storage when Maharana Udai Singh II completed it in 1565. Expecting war, the maharana wanted to assure the city a secure water supply. Using stone from other embankments, or bunds, he dammed the Berach River to form the 2600-acre lake.

The maharana was apparently correct in anticipating war, as the lake was the site of two specific incidents affecting the security of the area. In 1573, Kunwar Man Singh commanded Maharana Pratap Singh I to meet him on the Udai Sagar embankment to discuss surrendering to Mughal Emperor Akbar; Pratap refused the invitation and insulted the Rajput traitor. This led to the Battle of Haldighati in June of 1576. And it was near Udai Sagar that Maharana Raj Singh (1653-1680) defeated the army of Emperor Aurangzeb. A memorial to Maharana Pratap stands on a hill above Fateh Sagar Lake in Udaipur. Now no longer used for city water supply, Udai Sagar is used for local village water, irrigation, recreation and, increasingly, to facilitate zinc smelting nearby.

Relatively shallow – its deepest point is about 30 feet – Udai Sagar tends to suffer some from fluctuating water levels. Lying at the base of the Aravali Hills, the lake accepts a large part of the run-off from rains. The Aravali Hills are forested and picturesque, making Udai Sagar a scenic delight. Although not graced with the marble temples so often found along Udaipur lakeshores, the lake is still a favorite for recreational boating; visitors can take boat rides provided by local small businesses. Once a productive fishery, Udai Sagar has suffered from a reduction of the native catfish and carp that once populated the waters.

Excess water that could cause flooding is diverted into the Berach River via a channel. Other channels controlled by gates divert negotiated amounts of water to irrigate crops grown locally. No visit to the lakes of Udaipur would be complete without a visit to Udai Sagar when visiting the ‘Venice of the East’, as Udaipur is called. As Udaipur is the premier ‘romance capital’ of Rajasthan, it is the chosen destination for weddings, honeymoons and seduction. Udai Sagar lies about eight miles east of the city-center and is well worth a visit.

Udaipur itself has a large number of attractions to interest tourists, filled as it is with temples, palaces and gardens built by the maharanas for their families and royal courts. Many of the palaces have been converted to ‘heritage hotels’, some with very little architectural alteration other than the installation of necessary modern plumbing. One of the most famous of these is the Lake Palace, completely covering a small island on Lake Pichola. This beautiful white edifice has often been featured in movies and is available only to the well-to-do because of its premium rates. It’s a rare visitor to Udaipur who does not at least take a boat tour of Lake Pichola to photograph the gleaming landmark from the water. Boats launch regularly from the docks below the City Palace on the northeast shore. The City Palace itself is a tour-worthy stop: the palace holds a museum featuring artifacts from the life of the royal rulers of Udaipur past.

Boats are one of the most enjoyable ways to visit the many lakes of Udaipur via the canal system. Fateh Sagar Lake is another ‘must visit’ location in Udaipur. An island on the lake holds the largest solar observatory in Asia, while the Garden of Maids along the embankment is a delight of marble statuary, rain fountains and pavilions built by former kings for the ladies of the royal household. The gardens of the Maharana Pratap Memorial offer a scenic view over the lake and city. Other museums such as the Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum, Ahar Archeological Museum, and Archeological Site and Jagdish Temple really shouldn’t be missed. And there are plenty of places to view or buy traditional handicrafts, paintings and sculpture from native craftsmen. Udaipur is the preferred home-base for a visit to the Udai Sagar area and is well-supplied with more affordable heritage hotels, contemporary hotels and ‘home-stays’.

Udai Sagar has suffered in recent years from the impact of increased industry and mining. The zinc mines have contributed to pollution from run-off and waste water and have withdrawn huge amounts of water for smelting purposes. Farming has contributed to a problem with sedimentation in the lake. Both of these things have caused less quality water to be available for irrigation and have contributed to well pollution in the area. Pollution has also entered the lake from the Ahar River. Pollution has reduced the number and variety of fish available for harvesting. Fortunately, solutions are being actively implemented to improve water quality and provide for local irrigation needs.

A unique solution has been put into place along the Ahar River to remove pollutants before it reaches Udai Sagar. Called Green Bridge technology, short segments of the river are ‘remodeled’ using native plants to remove heavy metals and pollutants, while filtering occurs via the strategic use of ‘coir’ or coconut fiber barriers, gravel and aeration. Within the first month of utilization, water quality within Udai Sagar improved, while wells in the area showed less contamination. Stronger efforts at enforcement are reducing both run-off from zinc mine operations and the dumping of marble slurry, a by-product of marble quarrying which adds to sedimentation. Remediation efforts at Udai Sagar are developing new, cost-effective methods of water quality improvement that can be used in other locations. Udai Sagar will be much cleaner in the near future.

Visits to Udai Sagar are often included in tour itineraries. If not, transportation can be arranged to the lake from Udaipur with little difficulty. Many tours to Jaisamand Lake include a stop at Udai Sagar. As one of the area’s earliest public infrastructure projects, Udai Sagar says much about the concern most of the maharanas held for future growth and the well-being of the local population. The lakes are an early example of urban planning with an eye toward aesthetics. They are also a delightfully cool respite in a hot and semi-arid climate. So, plan your visit to Udaipur and make sure to include Udai Sagar.

Things to do at Udai Sagar

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Museum

Fish species found at Udai Sagar

  • Carp
  • Catfish

Udai Sagar Photo Gallery

    Udai Sagar Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Surface Area: 2,595 acres

    Shoreline Length: 9 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,751 feet

    Maximum Depth: 30 feet

    Water Volume: 18,970 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1565

    Drainage Area: 146 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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