The Harike lake was created when, in 1953 , a barrage was built over the confluence of the Sutlej and the Beas.
The barrage connects Amritsar with Ferozepur, Faridkot and Bhatinda through a Nationalal Highway. The water body, withits shallow marshy tracts, soon became the perfect feeding and wading habitat fora wide variety of birds.
In 1982, it was officially declared a bird sanctuary and extended to an area of 86 sq km. In 1992, it was declared a Ramsar site ( a statutory Nature conservation designation).
It has been identified as one of the sites for conservation under the Indian National Wetland Programme.
It is today a vital staging post and winter home to wterfowl, including some globally threatened species.
In winter, some 200 species of birds visit the place. Some of the birds that can be spotted are the Cotton Pygmy Goose, Tifted Duck, Yellow crowned Woodpecker, Yellow eyed Pigeon, Watercock, Pallas's Gull, Brown headed Gull , Black headed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Indian Skimmer, White winged Tern, White rumped Vulture, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby, Horned Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, White browed Fantail, Brown Shrike,Common Woodshrike, White tailed Stonechat, White crowned Penduline Tit, Rufous vented Prinia, Striated Grassbird, Cetti's Bush Warbler , the Sulphur bellied Warbler and Diving duck.
The sanctuary is home to the endangered Testudine Turtle and Smooth Indian Otter listed in the IUCN ( The International Union for theConservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Redlist of Threatened Animals. Harike is well known for its market for sweet water fish.
Best Time To Visit : Between November and March
How to Reach There : The nearest railway station and airport are both at Amritsar ( 60 km away)
Places To Stay : There are any number of government approved hotels at Amritsar.
Contact : Tourist Officer , Amritsar - 0183 - 2402452