Named in honour of the great patriot 'Maharana Pratap' (1572
- 97 AD), the Maharana Pratap Sagar was once known as the 'Pong Dam
Reservoir'. India knows the 'Maharana' as a man who struggled valiantly
for his kingdom of 'Mewar'-as for the principle of independence.
In the words of the Chroniclers James Tod and William Crooke, "He spurned every overture that had submission for its basis". Over the river Beas, the "Pong Dam" was completed in 1976. Its reservoir has an area of about 45,0000 hectares at maximum possible flooding - the level varies with every season and averages around 30,000 hectares. Over 2,000 villages with a population of over 85, people are lying along the wetland.
THE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
In 1983, the Sagar was declared a wildlife sanctuary and over 2,20 species of bird belonging to 54 families have been sighted over the waters and the fringing mud-banks-these include black - headed gulls, plovers, terns, ducks, water-fowl and egrets.
The first sighting in the region of the red-necked grebe, was made at the Sagar. The wetland's location at the head of the Indian plains has made it a suitable habitat and stopover for migratory birds that enter India from Central Asia.
The land portion of the sanctuary has barking deer, sambar, wild borars, nilgai, leopards and claw-less others.
Twenty-seven species and sub-species of fish belonging to six families have been recorded in the Sagar's waters. Some of the important commercial varieties are - Labeo dero (Gid), Labeo rohita, Labeo Calbasu, Tor putitora (Mahsir), and Mystus seenghala (Singhara). Since 1976, fishing has been a major economic activity in the areas and today, this provides employment to some 1,500 fishermen and the annual catch is valued at over a corore rupees.
There is a branch of the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports at the Sagar and year-round activities include swimming, water-skiing, surfing, kayaking, rowing, canoeing and sailing. The Directorate of Tourism and Civil Aviation provides equipment at the Sagar, this includes sail boats, paddle boats, speed aero boats, life jackets, water skis and wet suits. Various course-beginners, intermediate and advanced - are also conducted at the Sagar.
Air: The closest airport is at Gaggal 40-km. The
lake is well served by the network of Roads.
Rail: The closest railway stations are at Mukerian - 30-km, and Pathankot - 32-km. The settlements of Nagrota Surian an Jawali - which are located on the Sagar's periphery - are connected by the charming narrow gauge Kangra Railway Line that connects Pathankot to Joginder Nagar.
Road: Located in district Kangra and is 170-km from Chandigarh , 110-km from Amritsar, 55-km from the district headquarters at Dharamsala.
Hotels, Guest Houses, Forest and PWD Rest Houses are
available at nearby Dharamsala,
Dehra, Sansarpur Terrace, Dada Siba and Nagrota Surlan.