Sukhna is an inseparable part of the city of Chandigarh. Le Cor busier had foreseen that the residents of the city would be drawn it for the ‘care of the body and spirit’. The city planners were deeply attached to the lake. So much so that Pierre Jeanneret’s ashes were immersed in the lake in 1970 as per his wishes by his niece.
The roof of the ‘bandh’ or dam has become a favorite promenade. Serious walkers pursue an exercise regime, families enjoy an evening stroll and nature lovers mingle with children on roller skates. Photographers and painters love to capture its scenic beauty of the setting sun, or the heavily clouded monsoon sky, or the early morning mist in winter set amidst the tranquility of the lake. Even anglers do not leave unrewarded.
Sukhna has a membership-based Lake Club with lawns, a gym, indoor games, swimming pool and tennis courts with both synthetic and grass courts. Boating, rowing, sculling, sailing, kayaking and water skiing can be enjoyed throughout the year.
The lake, which was the venue for the Asian Rowing Championships, has the longest channel for rowing and yachting events in Asia. It also has facilities for other water sports like water surfing, skiing and sculling.
Sukhna is a sanctuary for many exotic migratory birds like the Siberian duck, Storks and Cranes, during the winter months. The lake has been declared as a protected national wetland by the Government of India.
During summers, there are streams of men, women and children from all walks of life offering voluntary service to desist the lake bed for about three months. This annual ritual has been a regular feature since long ago.
Sukhna Lake is the venue for many festive celebrations too. The most popular is the Mango Festival held during the monsoons when scores of varieties of mangoes are on display. From time-to-time other food festivals, featuring specialties from different Indian States, are also held here, along with cultural performances.