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Man made reservoir responsible for…

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Asan Barrage

Beautiful Reservoir

There are number of barrage in India , of which The Asan Barrage is an importance barrage of northern India.  It is located in the border between Urttarakhand-Himachal Pradesh, in Valley of Doon, Dehradun District . This barrage, built at the union of the Asan River and the Yamuna Canal coming from the east, is about 28 km. northwest of Dehradun and 11 km. from Dakpathar, a town situated on the left bank of the river Yamuna.


The Asan Barrage creates a reservoir which is popularly named as Dhalipur Lake and has a wetland of about 4 sq. km. The River Asan is believed to be one of the Rigvedic Rivers, which was known as Asmanvati. This river takes a route through the Doon Valley and flows through the dominion of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. The river diverts from NH 1 in the direction of Ladwa away from Kurukshetra. It moves directly to Yamunanagar, and, from here, the barrage is approximately 70 km away towards Dehradun. One has to cross Paonta Sahib if taking the Poanta Sahib-Dehradun Road. The Asan Barrage is a manmade reservoir responsible for controlling the water-levels.

The barrage was built in the year 1967. Ever since then, a large number of immigrants from scrublands and woodlands of the nearby forests have been attracted towards it. These immigrants include birdlife as well as passage migrants. The lake provides home for the birds all through the year, but, when the water level lowers, the lake is transformed into a wetland in true sense. As a result, this lake has become a favourite of destination for professional ornithologists and amateur bird watchers, the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigan (GMVN) which is the government’s concerned authority for development in tourism, has taken up the initiative to develop this potential site into a tourist and picnic spot. The GMVN has set up a log-hut compound to accommodate visitors and a cafeteria. It has also started some adventure activities to attract more tourists, such as rowing, water-skiing, boating and kayaking, etc. However, the services of GMVN are mostly in a terrible shape now, which is consequence typical of GMVN’s projects owing to the poor infrastructure management in the organization.


The river Asan gets its water supply from the streams which originate in the extreme west of the Doon valley. The local name given to the extreme north part of the river is ‘Tons nadi’ but this is actually a misnomer, since the actual Ton nadi, a much larger tributary of the Yamuna, empties itself in the Yamuna. This happens at the Jaunsar Bawar, Kalsi. The Asan has its source in the extreme southern inclines of Mussoorie. It is actually formed from the confluence of several streams, and emerges from Robber’s cave. Here, the river meanders through a valley which is U-shaped, slightly towards the south-west and flows through the canal of Bijapur, which is an important water pumping sites supplying water to the western division of Dehradun through two canals . It flows towards Tapkeshwar Mahadev which is a very popular shrine of Shiva after which it becomes shallow while flowing through the broad valley which is near Premnagar. The river then moves in the south-western direction, and is fed by the waters of numerous streams which flow to the south, from the northern part of range spreading across Vikas Nagar in Mussoourie, and then to the north from the forest hills of the lower Shiwalik separating the Doon Valley and the district of Saharanpur. The river is termed as Asan only in its lower course where it enters relatively flat segment which supplies water to the Asan barrage. At Poanta Sahib, its water finally flushes into the River Yamuna.

The Rigvedic River, Asmavati is believed to be the same as the present Asan river.

A very beautiful surrounding

Located at the confluence of the rivers of Yamuna and Asan, the Asan Barrage experiences distinct summer and winter seasons. Migratory birds of different species adorn the reservoir and make it their habitat, especially during winters when even passage migrants from South India fly to the Dhalipur lake in large groups. The migratory birds which make this reservoir their habitat for sometime, is a pleasant sight to sore eyes. Almost 240 different species of birds frequent the checklist of the lake and its surrounding areas. They include some rare and endangered species. As many as 53 species of water birds visit the wetland which is also frequented by almost 19 European and Asian migratory birds. Birds like Shoveller, Mallard, Red Chested Poacher, Ruddy Shelduck, Wagtails, Coot, Pochards, Pintail, Wigeon, Gadwalls, Tufted Duck, and Teals etc. are some of the common visitors. Birds of prey like Greater Spotted Eagle, Osprey, Steppe Eagle and Marsh Harrier, etc. are the other birds that contribute to the outstanding biodiversity. Although the birds mostly visit during the winter season, the remaining months also provide an excellent opportunity to witness some local migrants like Storks, Cormorants, Herons, Cranes and Egrets, etc. A glance of the Pallas’ Fish Eagle is meant for a lucky bird-watcher who can also get a sight and proximity of other animals like monkeys.

There are enough birds of various species to satisfy the soul of a passionate bird-watcher. It is also the photographer’s paradise, as the pedal-boats, despite being in a state of crumbling down, allow easy access to the small marshy islands which is the ideal spot for photographing the waterfowls in their natural habitat. A walk down the canals will provide the view of chirping swallows as they build their nests in the vicinity of the lake adding colour and vibrancy to the Asan Barrage. The sights and sounds offered by these birds in such a heavenly ambience has the power to elevate a man from the mundane and materialistic trivialities. It is best to end the tiring but exciting bird watching expedition with a picnic lunch.

The state government has recently declared this site as a Bird Sanctuary. It has also taken up the task of making detailed plans and gathering funds to prevent the exploitation of the exotic visitors.

Atmosphere :

Summer: Max.38oC Min. 14oC

Winter: Max. 21o C Min. 2o C



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