Delhi might not be known as the 'Lake city of India' or even close to what Nainital has to offer but it can definitely and proudly boasts of beautifully man created Lakes and Natural Lakes that were recently developed, renovated and maintained by the Delhi Tourism Board.
The water sports complex in Delhi was initiated with the idea to convert the city into the most preferred tourism destination of India that not only provides an experience to view Historical World Heritage complexes and monuments but also to transform the city into an all-rounder in terms of providing visitors with an entire gamut of tourist attractions under one roof.
Bhalswa Lake is a recently renovated Lake developed by the Delhi Development Authority situated in the northeast edge of Delhi and about an hour drive from India Gate. You can choose from a variety of boating facilities like paddling and rowing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Speed boat rides, water scooter rides, Hovercraft rides and shikara style of boats are available at a very reasonable rate. While some argue that the Lake has dried up, DTTDC claims that it is not the case and they have also constructed an eastern ridge to block any leakage and maintain the water level of the Lake. Tourist and visitors have limited facility and current project includes creating amusement rides and a Golf Course that will also convert this place into a hub for sports and recreational centre.
Damdama Lake is located just 45 km from Dhaula Kuan, Delhi and 60 km from ITO, Delhi or a 3 hour drive from the city that welcomes you with a peaceful surrounding ideal for a family get-together, weekend getaway, friends coming together or couples who are just seeking a quiet destination away from the main crowd of the city. It is one of the biggest Natural Lakes that nestles in a cup shaped depression set amidst the striking Aravalli hills that forms an excellent backdrop to your picnic and fun to your boating experience. For avid and amateur rock climbers, the terrains of the Aravalli Hills provide an excellent opportunity to try out your skills.
Badkhal Lake, earlier known as 'Bedakhal Lake' situated about 32 km from Delhi is another famous Lake in Badkhal village encircled by the Aravalli hills. The Lake usually remains dry in summers but fills up by the monsoon season. This year, the Lake is mostly dry due to low rainfall but on 30th November 2009, the government had announced that the Lake will be recreated and filled up before the Commonwealth games. Every spring, a flower show is organised here and from where the name of the Lake was derived which comes from a Persian word 'Bedakhal' meaning 'No Interference'.
Surajkund Lake also known as the 'Peacock Lake' was originally a water tank and an ancient reservoir and next to it is a semicircle embankment shaped like an amphitheatre and the ruins of a Sun Temple on the western banks of the Lake; all built in the 10th Century by King Surajpal of the Tomar dynasty who avidly worshipped the Sun God. The Lake is situated close to Badkhal Lake, 2 km from an ancient 8th Century Anagpur Dam or the Arangpur Dam and 8 Km from South Delhi. It was named after the 'Sun God' and means 'The Sun Lake' that offers tourists with a lovely picnic spot and a picturesque scene of the Aravalli Hills. From the 1st to the 15th of February, this place comes alive with the Surajkund Mela or Fair that fills the area with beautiful sculptures, art work, handicrafts and handloom work displayed by the artists themselves and available for purchase at a very less price. Certain mining close by are responsible for blocking the water flow to this reservoir and Mineral water companies almost dried up both the Lakes for their own profits; however, this Lake will also be renovated and filled by 2010.
The Old Fort Lake or Purana Quila Lake lies quietly at the foot of a hill situated a few km southeast of India Gate and a few km north of the Tomb of Emperor Humayun with the Old Fort set as the backdrop standing majestically amidst greenery. It is probably one of the only lakes that existed since the first city of Delhi named 'Indraprastha' was built. On the east, the Yamuna river flows which used to be the water source of the Old Fort. Delhi Tourism arranges boating facilities at a reasonable price per hour and a light show for tourists and visitors opened from 1200 hrs to 1900 hrs between April and September and from 1100 hrs to 1800 hrs between October and March.
India Gate Lake lies less than 2 km from Connaught Place now known as Rajiv Chowk. With the majestic and tall India Gate and green surroundings set as the canvas, this recently created artificial lake offers boating facilities to all at a nominal rate per hour. In the evenings and weekend, the Lake is filled to the brim with tourists and locals and sometimes you would need to wait for up to an hour to get a chance to enjoy your boating experience.
Naini Lake is also a recently manmade artificial Lake situated in Model Town in Delhi. It is rectangular in shape and 3 feet deep with an area of 12 acres and surrounded by small trees on the southern banks. The Lake has recently caught up as one of the main attractions in Delhi where you can enjoy a weekend with families and friends and a scrumptious picnic lunch with your loved ones. Pedal boating facility is available for tourists and visitor at a nominal rate. This Lake is popularly known as the 'Jheel' which means 'Lake Water' amongst the local people residing there.
Roshanara Garden Tank is another beautiful pond situated in the northern dense ridge forest of North Delhi that was built in 1650 by Princess Roshanara, the most loved daughter of Emperor ShahJahan. The Garden and pond was named after the Princess was buried here in her Tomb named 'Baradari'. It is almost round in shape and covers an area of 6 acres with a depth of 3.5 feet covered with a permanent growth of blue-green algae floating and rippling over the surface. The unique attraction is an Island that lies at the centre of the Lake surrounded by an abundant growth of Palm trees.