Sattal or Sat Tal is an interconnected group of seven freshwater lakes situated in the Lower Himalayan Range near Bhimtal, a town of the Nainital district in Uttarakhand, India. During the British Raj, the area had a tea plantation, one of four in the Kumaon area at that time. The lakes sit at an altitude of 1370 metres below lush orchards in the Mehragaon valley.
Set amongst dense forests of oak and pine trees, Sattal is one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted freshwater biomes in India. These lakes are a paradise for migratory birds. It is home to a few camps being operated mostly by local people catering to tourists looking for outdoor vacations. A group of seven fresh water lakes, a stash of nature's bounty and loads of migratory birds and panoramic vistas make this wonderful place called Sattal. A paradise for nature buffs and bird watchers, Sattal has mystery to it that makes it all the more charming and photographer's paradise.
Situated in Kumaon Region at an elevation of 1370 m above the sea level, the area boasts of its cluster of seven interconnected lakes namely: Panna, Naldaymanti Tal, Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Bharat and Sukha Tal flanked by lush green cover of oaks and pines. With pleasant weather throughout the year, a visit to this destination away from the noise of cities is an experience not to be missed.
Flora and fauna
Sattal is unique for its biodiversity and ecological amplitude. It has 500 species of resident and migratory birds, 20 species of mammals, over 525 species of butterflies and over 11,000 species of moths, beetles, bugs and other insects. The flora covers a wide and diverse range of plants ranging from Bryophytes, orchids, rare climbing plants, ferns, lichens, fungi, medicinal herbs and shrubs. Each individual lake has its own unique Diatom index. The Trophic Diatom Index uses the composition of freshwater diatom assemblages to assess water quality and ecological status.
The unique avian fauna of Sattal includes red-billed blue magpie, kingfishers, blue-throated and brown-headed barbets, lineated barbet, golden-throated barbet, crimson-fronted barbet, coppersmith barbet plum-headed parakeet, slaty-headed parakeet, chestnut bellied rock thrush, tits, babblers, jungle owlet, fish eagles[disambiguation needed], pied woodpecker, brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, grey-capped pygmy woodpecker, brown-fronted woodpecker, stripe-breasted woodpecker, yellow-crowned woodpecker, rufous-bellied woodpecker, crimson-breasted woodpecker, Himalayan woodpecker, lesser yellownape woodpecker, greater yellow-naped woodpecker, streak-throated woodpecker, grey-headed woodpecker, scaly-bellied woodpecker, common flameback woodpecker, Indian tree pies, blue whistling-thrush, lammergeier, Himalayan griffon, crested serpent eagle, flycatchers, cheer pheasants, Kalij pheasant, Koklas pheasants, dollarbird, leaf birds, flowerpecker, purple sunbird, brown headed stork-billed kingfisher, stork-billed kingfisher, crested kingfisher, white-throated kingfisher, pied kingfisher, common kingfisher, blue-eared kingfisher, Himalayan kingfisher, Mrs. Gould’s sunbird, green-tailed sunbird, black-throated sunbird, black-breasted sunbird, crimson sunbird, fire-tailed sunbird, thick-billed flowerpecker, plain-leaf flowerpecker, fire-breasted flowerpecker, russet sparrow, rufous babbler, black-headed jay, scaly-breasted wren-babbler, black-capped sibia, blue whistling thrush, finches, mountain hawk eagle, black eagle, Eurasian jay, white-rumped needletail, black-headed jay, black-lored, black-throated tits, black bulbul, ashy-throated warblers, black-chinned babbler, rufous-breasted accentor, red-billed blue magpie, grey-winged blackbird, Eurasian griffon, common buzzard, black-chinned babbler, pink-browed rosefinch, common wood pigeon, slaty-headed parakeet, laughingthrush, chestnut-tailed minla, lemon-rumped warblers, and many more.
Sattal has many different varieties of fish. Mahseers (Tor tor and Tor putitora) are found here in large numbers. Labeo rohita, Cirrhinus mrigala, Schizothorax richardsonii and Catla catla are some of the other fish found in the lakes.
Some of the butterflies found at Sattal includes Indian fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius), peacock panzy, blue peacock, Paris peacock, red-base Jazebel, red lacewing, yellow pansy, tawny Rajah, red Helen, large silverstripe and thousands of others.