Mansar Lake is situated 62 km (39 mi) from Jammu, Mansar is a beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills, over a mile in length by half-a-mile in width.
Besides being a popular excursion destination in Jammu, it is also a holy site, sharing the legend and sanctity of Lake Mansarovar. On the Eastern Bank of the Lake there is a shrine to Sheshnag, a mythological snake with six heads. The shrine comprises a big boulder on which are placed a number of iron chains perhaps representing the small serpents waiting on the tutelary deity of the Sheshnag. Two ancient temples of Umapati Mahadev & Narsimha as also a temple of Durga are situated in the vicinity of the Mansar lake. People take a holy dip in the water of the lake on festive occasions.
Newlyweds consider it auspicious to perform three circum-ambulations (Parikarma) around the lake to seek the blessings of Sheshnag, the lord of serpents, whose shrine is located on its eastern bank.
Certain communities of Hindus perform the Mundan ceremony (First hair cut) of their male children here.
There are also some ancient temples on the lake’s shores, which are visited by devotees in large numbers. Mansar is also ideal for boating for which the Tourism Department provides adequate facilities.
With all religions belief and heritage behind the Mansar Lake is also picking up its fame among the tourists with all its flora & fauna. The lake has cemented path all around with required illumination, with projected view decks to enjoy flickering of seasonal birds, tortoise and fishes of different species. There is a wild life Sanctuary housing jungle life like Spotted Deer, Neelgai etc. besides other water birds such as Cranes, Ducks etc. One can also witness the traditional and typical distinct life style of Gujjar and Backarwals wearing ethnic costume, living in open Kullhas around on the hills of Mansar Lake.
This Mansar lake road joins to another important road that directly links Pathankot (Punjab) to Udhampur (Jammu & Kashmir, Jammu Province. Udhampur is a Town of strategic importance, again on National Highway No. 1A. The shortcut road from Mansar or Samba to Udhampur by-passes the Jammu town. Surinsar Lake, a smaller lake that is linked to Mansar, is 24 km (15 mi) from Jammu (via a bypass road).
The history of mansar and surinsar goes back to the time of Mahabhartata. Babar Vahan, son of Arjun and Ulpi (daughter of king Nag), was ruling this area during Mahabhartata. After the war of the mahabhartata arjun performed “Ashwamegh Yagya” to prove his supriority over the land. The horse (used as sign of power for Ashwamegh Yagya) was captured by Babar Vahan at village ‘khoon’ nearby village Ramkot on dhar Udhampur road where Arjun was killed by babar vahan. With joy of victory, babar vahan presented the head of Arjun to his mother Ulpi. She told him that he has killed his father. To make arjun alive again, mani from sheshnag was required. Hence babar vahan made a surang through his arrow and formed surangsar which is now named as surinsar. After defeating sheshnag and capturing mani, babar vahan came out at manisar later on known as mansar.