The Sunken City of Bilaspur, is a town situated on the lap of Himalayas, alongside the Gobind Sagar Lake in Himachal Pradesh. One can easily observe the town, while travelling towards Kullu-Manali. Since childhood, whenever I travelled towards Chandigarh or came back from there, my father always stopped in a restaurant named ‘Lake View’ in Bilaspur. From there we could see a vast expanse of the Gobind Sagar Lake. A boat rovered on it, smoothly sailing on the sea-green waters taking passengers from one end to the other.
During the summers and monsoons, the lake water spread out in a larger area but during the winters and spring season, the water receded and a whole new underwater world emerge out. I always admired that scene and my father would spent a considerable time watching the view and explaining us what that place actually was. During less water, some ancient temples sprouted out from the swampy shores and a couple of them peeped through the brackish waters. They were no doubt mysterious and have always ignited curiosity to know more about their history.
The ancient town of Bilaspur was established during 7th century C.E. by a Chandela Rajput, from Chanderi in now Madhya Pradesh, named Raja Bir Chand. His territory was earlier called as Kehloor. After Indian independence, Bilaspur was made a State with Raja Anand Chand as its Chief Commissioner in 1948. The state was later merged in Himachal Pradesh in 1954. Till then, the town of Bilaspur was well established with many temples, palaces, castles and houses of hundreds of inhabitants.
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The Sunken City of Bilaspur
During 1959-60, Bhakhra Dam was constructed over the Satluj river in Bilaspur, because of which the old town got submerged into the lake nisking upto a 100 ft. The inhabitants were displaced to higher areas. The lake formed was named as Gobind Sagar. One can easily sail around different corners of the lake by motor boats.
During the autumn and winter season, many migratory water birds flock to the lake from different parts of the world, making the place a hot-spot for bird-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The main attractions of the lake are the migratory birds – Bar Headed Geese (which is one of the highest flying bird migrated from Siberia and Kazakhstan in winters), Black Stork and Painted Stork. Also, the emerged temple shikhara are a home to Great and Little Cormorant.
The best time to visit the Gobind Sagar Lake are the winter months. During that season, the water in the reservoir had receded and the ancient temples pop out of the lake, moreover, the migratory birds flock in abundantly.
Bilaspur is a place that has been least recognised in Himachal for tourism, but it has undoubtedly a higher potential. Do find some time to visit this ancient site. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends.