There is a quiet grandeur about this majestic Tehri dam and the landscape that is a surreal amalgamation of varied hues of blue water, surrounded by green mountains, protected by cloudy skies, resilient by simplicity of new Tehri town. And, what better way to celebrate this inherent hill beauty than a three day spectacular display of socio-cultural allure at the Tehri Lake Festival. The name Tehri is derived from the Sanskrit word, Trihari – a place that cleans three types of sins (sins of thought, word and deeds). Frankly, I don’t know about the cleansing of sins but I can assure that you will get complete detox, aka urban cleansing at the Tehri Lake festival.
There is no dearth of tourism offerings from the state of Uttarakhand. A typical tourist is spoilt for choice – char dham yatra, white water rafting at Rishikesh, the hidden valleys of Naga & Nelang valley, the charsi baba of Gangotri, trek to Shikhar Varnavat, the enchanting beauty of Kasauni, Binsar & Harshil, are just a few experiences etched in my mind. Tehri Lake festival, Asia’s biggest lake festival comes as a jewel in the crown showcasing the best that Uttarakhand pridefully offers.
10 Things I Enjoyed About Tehri Lake Festival
1. Sunrise At Tehri Dam – An Experiential Moment
Wrapped in a shawl, lying on my lounge chair outside the tent, overlooking the azure Ganga waters of Tehri, I felt blessed to witness the moment of crowning glory when the sun rose over the stoic Himalaya peak, spreading a luminous shade over the grey morning sky. I can travel to any corner of the world to experience such a heavenly moment. What about you?
2. Landscape Magnanimity That Humbles You
Soak into panoramic views for as far as you can see. A photographer’s delight, Tehri is a perfect tourist destination nestled in the foothills of Himalayas. I felt proud standing there marvelling at Asia’s largest and highest dam and world’s biggest hydro-electrical power project. The magnanimity humbles you! My heart swelled with pride standing at this iconic place.
3. Water Sports To Rediscover Tehri
44 Sqkms of water encased amidst scenic mountains makes Tehri Dam the perfect place for water sports and other recreational activities. We marvelled at the erosion led natural designs created on the surface of mountains closely, spotted the ruins of submerged Tehri palace, discovered a vantage point to capture the beauty of New Tehri all in one frame and also flew a drone ( courtesy blogger @packedforever) while on a motor boat ride.
There were other water sports activities that one could enjoy like Jet Ski, water ski, water zorbing, banana boat, rafting, parasailing, kayaking etc.
Though the focus was on water sport activities, there were others too, especially hot air balloon J
4. Enthralling Cultural Shows
My favourite was Ganga arti in the evening followed by laser show that enthralled the public and everyone was literally at the edge to watch the show. Apart from that, on all three evenings of the event there were notable performers from the state of Uttarakhand and all around India to enthral the audience. Womaniya band, a home bred all woman band was empowering to watch. Zubin Nautiyal was the highlight event of the show.
5. Garhwali Culinary Treat
To give adequate push to Garhwali culinary, a Masterchef contest was organized at the Tehri Lake festival. I loved to see women dressed in ethnic dresses and jewellery participating with aplomb.
We had our meals in the traditionally designed dining hall with sitting arrangement. Simple Garhwali food was served with love and respect on wooden chowki. Athithi devo bhava
Mandawa ki roti was my favourite.
6. Fairytale Stay
It is best to stay inside or closely around the lake festival venue to completely soak into the three day festivity. Swiss cottage tent by the Tehri Lake was perfect stay arrangement for us. My son was super excited and enjoyed his tenthouse, a little bigger this time.
All in white, staying in tent house felt like a fairytale.
Located in the midst of lake, you must try the floating huts. A memorable experience of being on a nowhere land.
Homestays offered by locals is a good option to cut on cost and increase of authentic experience.
7. Experiential Daytrips
We took day trips to Dhanulti, Chamba, Surkanda Devi, Kanatal and Kunjapuri temple. The trips consisted of small treks, good vantage points to observe the beauty of land, an introduction to cultural kaleidoscope, loads of fresh air for the tired souls and enough greenery for the tired eyes. We felt rejuvenated.
If you have time you can even drive upto Uttarkashi or Gangotri to completely see this sector.
8. Full Dose of Family Time
At Tehri Lake Festival, children were not left out. Kid’s area with all sorts of rides and bouncy jumps was arragend to provide holistic entertainment for the family. While kids enjoy, parents could roam around either shopping, watching cultural shows or just taking a quiet moment by the lake under the moonlight.
9. Complete Detox & Relaxation
3 full days of complete detox and relation is guaranteed at Tehri Lake festival. It seems as if you are in a parallel world – real but stress-free!
Water always has a calming effect on me and so staying by the Tehri Lake, watching the sunrise and star gazing at the moonlit nights, worked wonders for me.
The best thing about Tehri is that it convenient to reach. Just a few hours’ drive from Delhi (Delhi to Tehri dam is 338 kms) and cool mountain air will welcome you to take away all the stress. Being headquater of Tehri-Garhwal area, it is well connected by all modes of transport. Dehradun airport is closest (93 kms of scenic hill road drive). Rishikesh & Haridwar are the closest train junctions. Buses and private taxis ply regularly on this route.
Tehri Lake Festival is an annual event so keep a watch and plan for the next year. However, you can just drive upto Tehri anytime you wish to. Tehri is an all season destination. There are good hotels to stay, simple people to converse, rich flora & fauna to explore and panoramic landscape to recharge you.
Do read my other blogs on Uttarakhand to inspire and help plan your itinerary.