You may be familiar with the valley of Kashmir and the famous
Dal Lake, the houseboats and shikaras, attract thousands of
tourists every year. Similarly, you may have visited some other tourist
spot near a lake and enjoyed boating, swimming, and other water games.
India has many lakes. These differ from each other in size and
other characteristics. Most lakes are permanent; some contain water only
during the rainy season, like the lakes in the basins of inland drainage of
semi-arid regions. There are some lakes that are the result of the
action of glaciers and ice sheets, while others have been formed by wind,
river action, and human activities. A meandering river across a floodplain
forms cut-offs that later develop into ox-bow lakes. Spits and bars form
lagoons in the coastal areas, e.g. the Chilika lake, the Pulicat lake, and
the Kolleru lake. Lakes in the region of inland drainage are sometimes
seasonal; for example, the Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan, which is a saltwater lake. Its water is used for producing salt. Most of the freshwater
lakes are in the Himalayan region. They are of glacial origin. In other
words, they formed when glaciers dug out a basin, which was later filled
with snowmelt. The Wular lake in Jammu and Kashmir, in contrast, is
the result of tectonic activity. It is the largest freshwater lake in India.
The Dal Lake, Bhimtal, Nainital, Loktak, and Barapani are some other
important freshwater lakes. Apart from natural lakes, the damming of the
rivers for the generation of hydel power has also led to the formation of
lakes, such as Guru Gobind Sagar (Bhakra Nangal Project).
Lakes are of great value to human beings. A lake helps to regulate
the flow of a river. During heavy rains, it prevents flooding and during
the dry season, it helps to maintain an even flow of water. Lakes can also
be used for developing hydel power. The moderate the climate of the
surroundings; maintain the aquatic ecosystem, enhance natural beauty,
help develop tourism and provide recreation.
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