Barju taal (lake), also popularly known as Chimdi Taal is a beautiful lake surrounded with natural vegetation and trees which is located in Barju Rural Municipality of Sunsari district in Eastern Nepal. The lake can be reached from Keshaliya road, Biratnagar and is approximately 12 km northwest from here. Barju Lake covers an area of 152 bighas (100 ha), with water covering only one-fourth of it. This magnificent lake is one of the major tourist destinations for the local people and a huge number of tourists flock this place during Saturdays in order to spend some quality time on the lap of nature. Visitors even form nearby Indian cities come to visit this place during weekends to enjoy the scenic beauty of this lake.
It has been claimed by the local people and the administrative authorities that the history and existence of Barju lake dates back to the Mahabharata period during the Dwapar Yug. This belief is also one of the major reasons for Indian visitors to visit this lake once as it has its own historical religious belief. Besides the myths, manmade construction and management of this pond also started decades ago. On the order of late Bishnulal Pradhan, this lake was dug and widened using Excavator in 2036 BS which resulted in clearer and more beautiful lake. The native ethnicity of this place is mostly Tharu people who have been inhabiting this place since the beginning. It is also said that some of the landlords in this village also donated a substantial amount of land for expanding and managing this beautiful lake.
Besides the lake and green lushy trees, this place is also rich in other aspects of biodiversity and showcases a perfect illustration of ecosystem biodiversity. The authorities claim that there are at least about 885 distinct species of birds, out of which about 100 species are migratory, meaning they only migrate here during particular period of the season. Many wildlife photographers and researches visit this lake in order to explore more about rare and unidentified birds’ species in the region. Moreover, this lake also houses a large number of indigenous fish species and underwater plants and ecosystem that adds to the beauty of this lake. Boating service is also available here and the experience is really surreal with beautiful views of the lake and beautiful birds flying above the head.
As this lake offers a lot to the visitors in comparison to its 50 Rs entry ticket, the popularity of this lake has been increasing during weekends and holidays for picnic, family trip, excursion, etc. Locals and other frequent visitors have been complaining about the declination of the beauty of the lake due to encroachments and mismanagement, however, the rural municipality administration and the lake development committee has assured that the management and operation of this pond will be done ensuring to protect its historical significance as well as the significance of its biodiversity. This lake has a huge potential to get recognized as one of the most important tourism spot with a immense importance in biodiversity conservation.
-Article written by: Ujjwal Bhetwal for Land Nepal