Dal Lake is beautiful lake in Srinagar city of Jammu & Kashmir State. Shrinagar is also know as summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State of India. The urban lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is nicknamed the 'Jewel in the crown of Kashmir' or 'Srinagar's Jewel'. The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting. Let's check out this Photo Journey to know more about Dal Lake in this beautiful city of Kashmir !
Last month I was in Shrinagar for 3rd Mughal Rally by Himalayan Motorsports and all these photographs are shot during one of the evenings, when we were relatively free and could spend some time around Nagin & Dal Lake. Although one of the mornings we also went for Shikara Ride through Old Kashmir and markets around lake. We shall also be sharing same photographs in colors soon, as sunset colors were really magical...
Dal lake is quite popular as a visitor attraction and a summer resort for tourists from various parts of India and other countries. Fisheries and the harvesting of food and fodder plants are also important on Dal Lake. Weeds from the lake are extracted and converted into compost for the gardens. It also serves as a flood lung of the Jhelum River. Swimming, boating, snow skiing and canoeing are amongst some of the water sports activities practiced on the lake.
Various Houseboats can be seen around different Lakes in Shrinagar. Houseboats and the Dal Lake are widely associated with Srinigar and are nicknamed 'floating palaces', built according to British customs. The houseboats are generally made from local cedar-wood and are graded in a similar fashion to hotels according to level of comfort. Many of them have lavishly furnished rooms, with verandas and a terrace to serve as a sun-deck or to serve evening cocktails. They are mainly moored along the western periphery of the lake, close to the lakeside boulevard in the vicinity of the Dal gate and on small islands in the lake. They are anchored individually, with interconnecting bridges providing access from one boat to the other. The kitchen-boat is annexed to the main houseboat, which also serves as residence of the boat-keeper and his family.
(Courtesy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dal_Lake)
Dal Lake is in the heart of Srinagar city and is well connected by road & air links. The nearest airport, which connects with other major cities in the country, is about 7 kilometres away at Badgam. The nearest railway station is 300 kilometres away at Jammu. The National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with rest of the country.
Dal lake covers an area of around 18 square kilometres and is part of a natural wetland which covers around 21 square kms, including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as 'Rad' in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.
The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins - Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin. Nagin is also considered as separate lake and we stayed Centaur Hotel which is near to Nagin Lake only. Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank and Sona Lank respectively...
Shoreline of the Dal Lake is about 15.5 kilometres and encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. Scenic views of Dal lake can be witnessed from Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras.
Dal lake has numerous sites and places of interest, many of which are important to the cultural heritage of Srinigar. Aside from the Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh, some of the other places frequented by tourists are the Shankaracharya temple, the Hari Parbat, the Nagin Lake, the Chashme Shahi, the Hazratbal Shrine, the famous Kashmir houseboats and the Shikara (boat) called the Gandola of Kashmir.
Shikaras provide a water taxi service available to see the sights in the Dal Lake and to approach the houseboats moored on the lake periphery.
Dal Lake has become an icon of the Kashmir tourism industry and almost every tourist dream of having a Shikara ride in this lake and stay at least for one night in House-Boats. A Himalayan urban lake which has five basins and a number of channels that are well linked with each other. There are plenty of fishes in Dal Lake and fishery is the second largest industry of the region centered on the lake.
The sparkling quiet waters of Dal surrounded by snow-capped mountains on its three sides, undoubtedly mark it as one of the most beautiful lakes of India. It is also the second largest lake in the State of Jammu and Kashmir with numerous gardens and orchards all along its shores. Houseboats form an indelible part of the scenery of the Dal Lake that are always ready to take tourists to a romantic and peaceful ride of the lake and soothe their nerves as the houseboat floats over the slightly rippling waters. They also offer some of the most exotic views of the splendid scenery of the Dal Lake.