Harike Wetland also known as "Hari-ke-Pattan", with the Harike Lake in the deeper part of it, is the largest wetland in northern India in the Amritsar district of the Punjab state in India. The wetland and the lake were formed by constructing the head works across the Sutlej river, in 1953. The headworks is located downstream of the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers. The rich biodiversity of the wetland which plays a vital role in maintaining the precious hydrological balance in the catchment with its vast concentration of migratory fauna of waterfowls including a number of globally threatened species (stated to be next only to the Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur) has been responsible for the recognition accorded to this wetland in 1990, by the Ramsar Convention, as one of the Ramasar sites in India, for conservation, development and preservation of the ecosystem.
In 1982, Harike Pattan was officially declared a bird sanctuary.
In 1992 It has been identified as one of the sites for conservation under the Indian National Wetland Programme.
Harike Pattan is today a vital staging post and winter home to waterfowl, including some globally threatened species.
Spread over 93 square miles, Harike wetland in Punjab's Taran Taran District is the second largest bird sanctuary of India. It's home to rare varieties of avifauna arriving here from different parts of Europe and northern Asia for stay during a major part of the year.
Throughout the year, autumn, spring and winter, Harike Pattan becomes a refuge to over 361 species of birds, 140 of who believed to breed here. Some of the birds that can be spotted are the Cotton Pygmy Goose, Tifted Duck, Yellow crowned Woodpecker, Yellow eyed Pigeon, Watercock, Pallas's Gull, Brown headed Gull , Black headed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Indian Skimmer, White winged Tern, White rumped Vulture, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrow hawk, Eurasian Hobby, Horned Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, White browed Fantail, Brown Shrike, Common Wood shrike, White tailed Stonechat, White crowned Penduline Tit, Rufous vented Prinia, Striated Grass bird, Cetti's Bush Warbler , the Sulphur bellied Warbler and Diving duck etc .
The sanctuary is home to the endangered Testudine Turtle and Smooth Indian Otter listed in the IUCN ( The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red list of Threatened Animals. Harike is also well known for its market for sweet water fish.
The sanctuary came into existence with the construction of a barrage at the confluence of the river Beas and Satluj for water storage and providing irrigation and drinking water.