Ottu barrage
The Ottu barrage sometimes spelled as the Otu barrage and also known as Ottu Head, is a masonry weir
A weir is a small overflow dam used to alter the flow characteristics of a river or stream. In most cases weirs take the form of a barrier across the river that causes water to pool behind the structure , but allows water to flow over the top...

 on the Ghaggar-Hakra river
Ghaggar-Hakra River
The Ghaggar-Hakra River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season. The river is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage and as the Hakra downstream of the barrage...

 in Haryana
Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...

 state of India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 that creates a large water reservoir out of the formerly-small Dhanur lake, located near the village of Ottu
Ottu, Haryana
Ottu or Otu is a village in the Sirsa district of Haryana state of India. It is the site of the Ottu barrage on the Ghaggar-Hakra river....

, which is about 8 miles from Sirsa in Haryana. It is a feeder for the two Ghaggar canals (the Northern Ghaggar canal and the Southern Ghaggar canal) that carry irrigation water to northern Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

 state. In 2002, a new tourist complex was inaugurated at the barrage, and it was given the honorary name of "Chaudhary Devi Lal Weir" to commemorate the former Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

 of Haryana state, Chaudhary Devi Lal. The Dhanur lake reservoir is now often referred to simply as the Ottu reservoir (ओटू झील).


The Ottu barrage was constructed in 1896-97 using low-cost labor that was available due to a famine in the region at that time. Prior to the construction of the barrage and its associated reservoir and canals, agriculture in the then princely state of Bikaner had come under pressure from fluctuating water-supply in the monsoon season caused by diversions in the Ghaggar by riparian farmers further upstream. The barrage and canals cost 6.3 lakh
A lakh is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to one hundred thousand . It is widely used both in official and other contexts in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and is often used in Indian English.-Usage:...

 rupees to construct, 2.8 lakhs of which was paid by the princely state of Bikaner and the remainder by the British-run Government of India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...


Historical confusion with Talwara lake

It was once assumed by some historians that Ottu lake was the site where Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 had encamped after overpowering Bhatnair fort in Hanumangarh
Hanumangarh is a city in northern Rajasthan state in western India, situated on the banks of the river Ghaggar, located about 400 km from Delhi. It is the administrative seat of Hanumangarh District...

 (Rajasthan) during his invasion of India in 1398-99 CE. However, it is now known that the actual site of his camp, which he described as being Kinar-e-Hauz (i.e. on the banks of a tank or lake), was at the banks of Talwara lake
Talwara lake
Talwara Lake is a small seasonal lake that forms in a depression along the course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan state of India. In his invasion of India in 1398-99 CE, Timur encamped at the banks of this lake after overpowering Bhatnair Fort in modern-day...

, which is further downstream in Hanumangarh district
Hanumangarh district
Hanumangarh District is a district of Rajasthan state of western India. The town of Hanumangarh is the district headquarters.-District profile:...

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