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 and Neelong valley, the sages of Gangotri, trek to Shikhar Varnavat, the enchanting beauty of Kausani, Binsar and 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. We attended the festival in 2018.
Around 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.
My favourite experience was the Ganga aarti 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 enthrall the audience. Womaniya band, a home bred all woman band was empowering to watch. Zubin Nautiyal was the highlight event of the show. We took day trips to Dhanaulti, 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. Three 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.