List of Largest Lakes of India

This article is meant for information of all important lakes and reservoirs of India, major lakes of India, Largest lakes of India and other interesting and unknown facts about lakes and reservoirs of India. This article also provides details about state wise lakes of India.

Difference between Lake and Lagoon

Lakes are enclosed large water bodies. Lagoons are water bodies which are connected to comparatively large water bodies (generally seas) with reefs or barrier islands. So in other words we can also say that lagoons are those lakes which are separated by larger water bodies by thin dividing reefs or barrier islands. Lagoons are generally coastal features which are separated by sea, although some river lagoons also exist.

Classification of Lakes of India

Lakes can be broadly classified in two groups – Natural Lakes and Artificial Lakes. Natural lakes can in-turn be classified as Fresh water lake, Brackish water lake and Salty lakes. Fresh water lake is generally feed by rivers and are potable in nature. Brackish water lakes are partially saline. Brackish lakes are generally found in the coastal areas and are separated by sea by a thin marginal reefs. For example Chilka lake and Vembanad lake are both brackish lagoons which are separated from sea by marginal reefs.

Some facts about largest lakes of India (in terms of Surface area)  –

  • Largest natural fresh water lake of India is Wular lake (260 Sq Km).
  • Largest artificial (manmade) fresh water lake of India is Shivaji Sagar Lake of Koyna Dam (891.7 Sq Km).
  • Largest brackish water lake of India is Chilka lake (1165 Sq Km).
  • Largest saltwater lake is Pangong Tso (700 Sq Km) of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Highest lake of India is Tso-Lamho Lake, Sikkim (Height 5330 m) (14th Highest in world).
  • Longest lake of India is Vembanad lake (length 96.5 Km).

  • Deepest Lake of India is  Gobind Sagar Lake (Depth 163 m).

Reservoirs which are created as a result of building dams can be considered as the best examples of artificial lakes. The examples of artificial lakes includes Indira Sagar lake, Nagarjuna Sagar (Nagarjuna Dam), Gobind Sagar (Bhakra Dam), Shivaji Sagar (Koyna Dam).

List of Largest Lakes of India by Surface Area

(Sq Km)
VembanadHalf Brackish, half freshwater203312Kerala
Shivajisagar LakeArtificial Freshwater891.780Maharashtra
Pangaong TsoSaline700100J & K
Indira Sagar LakeArtificial Freshwater627Madhya Pradesh
Pulicat lakeBrackish45010Andhra Pradesh
Sardar SarovarArtificial Freshwater375Gujarat
LoktakNatural Freshwater2874.6Manipur
Nagarjuna sagar lakeArtificial Freshwater285Telangana, AP
WularNatural Freshwater26014J & K
KolleruNatural Freshwater245Andhra Pradesh
Sambhar Salt lakeSaline2303Rajasthan
Gobind SagarFreshwater168163Himachal Pradesh
Dhebar lakeArtificial freshwater8731Rajasthan
Kanwar LakeNatural Freshwater67.5Bihar
Astamudi LakeFreshwater61.46.4Kerala
BhojtalArtificial Freshwater31Madhya Pradesh
Veeranam LakeArtificial Freshwater25Tamil Nadu
Vaitarna LakeArtificial Freshwater22.6Maharashtra
DalNatural Freshwater226J & K
PushkarArtificial Freshwater2210Rajasthan
Dipor BilNatural Freshwater11.64Assam
Vihar lakeNatural Freshwater734Maharashtra
PicholaArtificial Freshwater6.98.5Rajasthan
Paravur lake Freshwater6.6Kerala
Hussain SagarArtificial lake4.49.8Telangana
Sukhna lakeArtifical Freshwater44.8Chandigarh

Details of Major, Famous, Largest Lakes of India

Largest Lake of India : Vembanad LakeList of Largest Lakes of India

  • Type – one half brackish, other half freshwater
  • Area – 2033 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 12 m
  • Inflowing river – Achenkovil, Pamba, Periyar, Manimala, Meenachil, Muvattupuzha
  • Outflowing river – a number of canals

This lake is located on the west coast of Kerala and is surrounded by three districts namely Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam. This lake is also called as Punnamada lake or Kochi lake. This  is the largest lake of India in terms of surface area. It is also the longest lake of India as it has maximum length of 96.5 Kms. Kumarakom which is a popular tourist destination is on the shore of this lake.  Vembanad lake is known for Kerala backwater houseboats and is one of the important aspects of Kerala tourism. The famous port city of Kochi is located on western shore of the lake where it just touches Arabian sea. Vembanad lake can be distinctly divided in two parts : one part which is feed by rivers is freshwater while the other is brackish. This latter portion is separated geographically from arabian sea by barrier islands making the water not saline by partial brackish. Thanneermukkom bund which is also known as salt water barrier was constructed in 1974 to prevent the ingress (by action of tides) of salt water of sea to lake.

Largest Lake of India (Brackish) : Chilka Lake

  • Type – Brackish lagoon
  • Area – 1165 sq km
  • Max depth – 4.2 m
  • Inflowing river – Bhargavi, Daya, Makra, Malaguni, Luna
  • Outflowing river – 

Chilka lake is actually a coastal lagoon. It is situated on east coast of Odisha separated marginally by thin strip of land from Bay of Bengal. Chilka lake is largest lagoon of India and second largest lagoon of world. This lake is also famous for the migratory birds that fly thousands of kilometers from Russia and Mongolia to reach Chilka.

Largest Lake of India (Manmade) : Shivajisagar Lake

  • Type – artificial freshwater reservoir 
  • Area – 891.7 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 80 m
  • Inflowing river – Koyna
  • Outflowing river – 

It is freshwater artificial reservoir created by Koyna Dam. This lake is located near satara destrict of Maharashtra.

Largest Lake of India (Saline) : Pangong Tso 

List of Largest Lakes of India

Pangaong Tso

  • Type – Saline lake
  • Area – 700 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 100 m
  • Inflowing river – 
  • Outflowing river – 

This lake is situated in Laddakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state at surface elevation of 4250 m making it India’s second highest lake (Highest lake is Tso Lamho, height 5330 m, Sikkim). The maximum depth of this lake is 100 m, which makes it the deepest lake of India. This lake is shared between India and China and India occupies only 40 % of the total surface area of lake. Although the lake is saline, still it freezes completely during the winter season due to subzero temperatures. Some portions of this lake is seen as territorial dispute between India and China, although status quo has been maintanined post India China war of 1962.

Indira Sagar Lake

  • Type – Artificial freshwater reservoir
  • Area – 583 Sq Km
  • Max depth –  
  • Inflowing river – Narmada 
  • Outflowing river – 

Indira Sagar Lake is artificial reservoir which is created by Indira Sagar Dam built on Narmada river. This is located near Mundi, Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh. It is largest artifical lake/reservoir of India in terms of volume of water.

Loktak Lake

List of Largest Lakes of India

Phumdis of Loktak Lake

  • Type – fresh water
  • Area – 287 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 4.6 m
  • Inflowing river – Manipur river
  • Outflowing river – 

This lake is located in Manipur state of North East India. It is the largest fresh water lake of North Eastern India. The unique feature which differentiates this lake is the floating islands (called phumdis in local language) of this lake. This floating islands keep on moving from one place to other. Kebul Lamjao which is a national park is also located on one such floating island. Kebul Lamjao is thus the only floating national park of world which is located in Loktak Lake.

Largest Freshwater Lake of India : Wular Lake

  • Type – Fresh water
  • Area – 30 to 260 Sq Km.
  • Max depth – 14 m.
  • Inflowing river – Jhelum
  • Outflowing river – 

Wular lake is considered as the largest fresh water lake of India. It is located in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir. This is very shallow lake whose max depth is only 14 m. the surface area of this lake keeps on changing as per the season from 30 to 260 sq km. roughly. J&K tourism has promoted this lake for tourism related activities such as boating, water skiing etc.

Sambhar Salt Lake

  • Type – Saline
  • Area – 230 Sq km
  • Max depth – 3 m

This lake is considered as the largest saline lake of India. It is located between the Aravali mountain range close to the cities of Jaipur and Ajmer of Rajasthan state. Salt farming is done in this lake from long periods. A dam is constructed in between the lake which regulates the flow of salt water from lake to evaporation ponds. The salty water which is fetched by opening the gates of dam are evaporated to produce salt.

Some other Important Lakes of India

Dal Lake

List of Largest Lakes of India

The Beautiful Dal Lake

  • Type – Fresh water
  • Area – 22 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 6 m
  • Inflowing river – Telbal nalla from Marsar lake
  • Outflowing river – two streams Dal Gate and Amir Nalla

Dal lake is considered as the iconic symbol of Sri Nagar and Jammu & Kashmir. It is also the epicenter of tourism industry of Jammu and Kashmir state. The lake is famous for its houseboats and shikara rides. Most of the places of interest in Sri Nagar like Shankaracharya temple, Mughal gardens – Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chasme Shahi are located on the shore of this famous Dal lake. After tourism, the second economic aspect of Dal lake is the fishing industry. Carp fish is particularly main catch of this lake. The lake freezes completely during extreme winter season.

Pushkar Lake

  • Type – artificial lake
  • Area – 22 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 10 m
  • Inflowing river – Luni river 
  • Outflowing river – Luni river

The devotional and sacred Pushkar lake is located in Pushkar town of Ajmer district of Rajasthan. As per Hindu mythology, Pushkar is called as Teertha Raj (King of all Holy sites). Pushkar is primarily known for the most important temple of lord Brahma. although the pilgrims take bath throughout the year but the holy dip of Kartik- Purnima is considered  most important.

Pichola Lake

  • Type – Freshwater artificial lake
  • Area – 6.9 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 8.5 m

This is an artificial lake which was constructed centuries ago in year 1362 in Udaipur of Rajasthan. This lake was constructed by Bajara tribesmen. Later, Maharaja Udai Singh impressed by the beauty of this lake founded the city of Udaipur at the vicinity of this lake. This is to note that Udaipur is also known as City of Lakes. It is not just one lake but a series of contiguous lakes which are interconnected with each other. The other important lakes in and around Udaipur are Saroop Sagar Lake and Fateh Sagar Lake.

Deepor Beel

  • Type – Freshwater lake
  • Area – 11.6 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 4 m
  • Inflowing river – 
  • Outflowing river – 

This lake is located in Kamrup district, near Guwahati of Assam state of India. In assamese Deepa means elephants and Beel means means lake which can be derived to lake of elephants. It is one of the largest wetlands (Ramsar Wetland) of Asia. The lake is known for its distinctive flora like water lilies, varieties of marshy grasses, 18 different varities of phytoplanktons, various medicinal plants, aquarium plants and varieties of orchids. Asian elephants, leopards, porcupine, sambar are the common fauna attributed to this lake.

Hussain Sagar Lake

  • Type – artificial lake
  • Area – 4.4 Sq Km
  • Max depth – 9.8 m
  • Inflowing river – River Musi

It is an artificial lake which was built by Hussain Shah Wali in 1562.  It is located in Hyderabad of Telangana state. A giant monolithic statue of Gautam Buddha was placed in year 1992 in the lake to enhance the tourism aspects of the lake. The island at the center where the Buddha statue is erected is called Jibraltar rock. The height of this monolithic Buddha statue is 18 m which makes it world’s tallest monolithic Buddha statue.