While the cities in Rajasthan have a charm of their own, and can never be explored enough, Sambhar Lake deserves a day trip, especially if you’re in Jaipur. About 80km from Jaipur and 65km from Ajmer, Sambhar Lake is India’s largest inland salt water lake.
Sambhar Lake envelopes the beautiful and historic Sambhar Lake Town; and receives its water from five rivers, namely Samaod, Khari, Mantha, Khandela, Mendha, and Runpangarh. What’s special is that it looks different from season to season, depending on the depth of the water. During peak summers, the depth measures as low as 60cm (1.9ft) while in the monsoons, it goes up to 300cm (10ft).
Legend goes that, one of India’s famous kings, Prithviraj Chauhan, was an ardent devotee of Shakumbhri Devi, the ruling goddess of the Rajputs. After he had prayed to her with full devotion, she blessed him by converting the dense forest in the region into a silver land for the prosperity of his people, and then again into a silvery salt lake that has been helping people sustain in this region ever since.
However, the highlight of the lake are its gorgeous flamingos that throng the lake during winters. These migratory birds fly in from Northern and Central part of Asia in huge numbers, and turn the whole region into a pink spectacle.
For those who wish to spend a night here; camping is highly recommended. Pitch a tent, light a bon fire, indulge in local food and star-gaze for a surreal experience. Also, camping near the lake will afford you the changing colours of this place at different points in the day, at close quarters.
If there’s extra time in hand, you can explore places around Sambhar such as the archeological excavations at Naliasar, the terracotta figurines and well-planned settlements that are evidence of the Kushan and Gupta periods.