Lakes in Kashmir: Jewels in the Crown of North India
Along with the picturesque snow-capped mountains, vast meadow and colourful shikaras, Lakes in Kashmir are also noted for their heavenly beauty. So, be it the Dal Lake or Manasbal Lake, each has its own history, often intertwined with the mythological rituals.
Lakes in Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Kashmir Lakes attract thousands of tourists every year. A shikara ride in the mesmerizing Dal Lake, while unwinding in the beautiful sunset embracing the copper red skies of Srinagar; is utterly nostalgic. Adventure lovers can explore Gangabal Lake, which is internationally acclaimed for its treks, especially the one starting off from Srinagar.
Anglers and fishing enthusiasts would simply fall in love with the sheer variety of fishes in Gadsar Lake, which in itself is called as ‘Lake of Fishes’. Thus, for a very long time, the scattered, sporadic and beautiful lakes in Kashmir have reflected the beauty of this most visited tourist destination in India.
Following are the important lakes in Kashmir
Popularly called as the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir’, the shoreline of Dal stretches around 15.5 km. One can spot innumerable floating hotels, houseboats, parks, Mughal era gardens embroidering the lake. It is one of the most famous and visited lake in Kashmir. The scattered colourful shikaras and the local bazaars, further add beauty to the canvas of Dal Lake.
Spot children playing on the frozen Dal Lake when the temperature falls to -11 degree. Get enamoured by the blooming lotus flowers, especially in the months of July and August. It is primarily divided into two parts— Bod (big) and Lokut (small) lake. The intricate web of floating gardens as well as bustling markets on the backdrop of sunset in Dal Lake is truly spectacular. A visit to Dal Lake in Srinagar figures in every Kashmir travel itinerary.
Peacefully located in the famous Jhelum Valley, Manasbal is a picturesque lake in Kashmir that endows an exotic and memorable experience. It is named after the much revered Mansarovar Lake in Tibet and embroiders three villages - Jakorbal, Gratbal and Kondabal. Located 30 km away from Srinagar, it’s a dreamscape for those searching for a remote, untouched and virgin tourist destination in Kashmir. One can spot Garoka, the Mughal garden built by Nur Jahan, elegantly overlooking the lake. Few Buddhist shrines and ruins of an old fort can also be noticed. The eye-catchy collection of colourful migratory as well as indigenous birds makes it a paradise for bird-watchers.
Popularly known as the ‘largest fresh-water lake in Asia’, Wular is located 40 km away from Srinagar. River Jhelum feeds it and its creation was because of a tectonic activity. Water sports activities along with boating and water ski are the tourist attractions of Wular Lake in Kashmir.
Over the years, it has developed as a favourable picnic spot, far away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Alongwith a rich variety of birds and fishes; tourists can spot rich vegetation comprising of fir, deodar and walnut trees.
Locally called ‘Haramukh Ganga’, it is located peacefully in the foothills of Haramukh Mountains in Kashmir Valley. It is also one of the much revered pilgrim destinations in Kashmir, having a phenomenally important mythological history attached with it. Over the years, it has developed as an important hiking and adventure hotspot in Kashmir.
The four day trek from Gangabal Lake crosses through Vishansar, Kishansar and Sonmarg. The other famous trek that starts and eventually ends in Srinagar takes eight days to complete, especially after crossing through Gangabal Lake.
This high-altitude lake is known as ‘Lake of Fishes’. During the winter months, the lake normally freezes and is covered with snow. During summer, one can spot several wild alpine flowers growing around its periphery.
Tourists also indulge in brown-tout fishing in Gadsar Lake, making it a must-visit destination in Kashmir for fishing enthusiasts and anglers. Additionally, the sparkling water accompanied with the blossoming flowers adds to the elegance of the lake, making it a tempting treat for intrepid photographers. It is also known for being the ‘Gateway to Ladakh’.
Best Time to Visit Kashmir
Kashmir is a place that can be visited anytime of the year. Winters are the best time for snow lovers, spring season is a delight for the nature enthusiasts and summers are perfect time to plan a family tour.
How to Reach
By Air: Srinagar airport receives daily flights from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Jammu, Goa, Leh, etc.
By Rail: Jammu-Tawi station is the nearest railway station linked to all major cities of India.
By Road: One must visit Kashmir by road at least once to relish the beautiful journey.
So, the next time you pack your bags for Jammu and Kashmir travel, make sure that the itinerary includes a visit to the lakes in Kashmir.
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