The Dal Lake, Srinagar’s crown jewel, serves as a visual representation of the city. It is the state’s second-largest lake spread across 15 sq. km. The reflection of the Pir Panjal’s snow-dipped peaks in the crystal clear water of the lake creates mesmerizing scenery. Meanwhile, the colourful Shikaras (gondolas), float about adding a human touch to it all. The primary draw of the lake has to be its houseboats, as well as Shikaras.
Dal Lake Srinagar is well-known for its floating marketplace (called Raad) where vendors do their trade on Shikaras. They aren’t afraid to approach tourists with their finest handicrafts, saffron and delicacies. In winter, many tourists love to ice skate on Dal Lake. So, when in Srinagar, you have to visit the lake to experience it all and more. Plus, Dal Lake Images would get you views and likes on social media platforms.
Dal Lake: Location, Geography & Nearby Attractions
There are two hypotheses about the lake’s origin. One claims it to be a post-glacial lake that has changed in size throughout time. According to the other one,the Lake originated as a result of flood overflow from the Jhelum River.
Location & Geography
Where is Dal Lake? How to get there? What is its geography, depth and surroundings? Well, let’s discuss it all and more.
- Srinagar Dal Lake is around 5 feet deep on average and up to 20 feet in some areas. This warm monomictic lake is 7.5 km long.
- The lake has an area of around 18 square kilometres and a coastline of roughly 15.5 kilometres.
- It is divided into four areas: Lokut Dal (also a separate lake), Nagin (also an island), Gagribal, Bod Dal and Gagribal. Sona Lank is a tiny island in the centre of Bod Dal. Lokut Dal has an island known as Rup Lank.
- In July and August, the floating gardens right at the centre of the lake blossoms with colourful lotus flowers. In winter, the temperature drops to -11 degrees Celsius, freezing the lake. Intensive cleaning and maintenance activities are undertaken at the lake to return it to its former glory.
- The surrounding area of the Lake is made up of parks and gardens. Enamoured by the beauty of the Lake in Kashmir, Mughals created vast gardens to enhance its appeal. You can enjoy the best views of Dal Lake from the Nishat Garden or Shalimar Garden. Mughal Emperor Jehangir built both gardens during his reign.
How to reach Dal Lake?
Eager to get to the Dal Lake of Kashmir? Well, here’s how to reach it.
Flight: Srinagar is easily accessible via the Sheikh ul Alam Airport, the city’s only operational airport. Srinagar Airport to Dal Lake is a 50-minute (22.3 kilometres) drive.
Train: This is the choice for all rail enthusiasts! Yes, the rail may be used for significant portions of the route. You may go to the Jammu-Tawi or Udhampur train stations, which offer excellent connections both outside and inside Kashmir. You may then take a cab or a bus to Dal Lake in Srinagar.
Road: The Dal Jheel is located in the summer capital of J&K. As such, it is well-connected by highways. You may hire a vehicle or take a bus from Jammu to Srinagar, which will take around 8 hours. Once there, you can walk to the lake, depending on where you stay in the city. The best routes are Foreshore and Boulevard. The whole road in Srinagar runs along the Dal Lake coast, providing a spectacular view of the lake as you travel.
When Should You Visit Dal Lake?
Srinagar is strange in the sense that each season here has its allure. The best time to visit is from April to June when the weather is mild, and temperatures vary from 10 to 30 degrees Celsius. Srinagar has the largest tulip garden on the planet. The Tulip Festival in Srinagar is held throughout the first two weeks of April and features beautiful rainbow colours. So, if you have something for flowers, especially tulips, you know when to visit the city.
Highlights of the Dal Lake: Houseboats and Shikaras
Houseboats and Shikaras are almost synonyms with the lake. That’s more so since Shikaras are a cultural icon, a speciality of Srinagar. These are wooden boats that have artistically ornamented canopies. Locals rely on them to transport a variety of products from the lake to the mainland and back. However, you can enjoy the Shikara ride in Dal Lake. It’s an experience in itself.
On the other hand, the houseboats are stationary boats that serve as housing for guests. They overlook Dal Lake and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. They’re crafted of high-quality wood and include exquisite carvings and floral patterns.
The Department of Tourism grades them on their size, which can range from a modest one-room operation to large luxury suites. Interiors are frequently lavishly furnished with Kashmiri carpets, glittering chandeliers, and plush furnishings. Houseboats are typically family-run enterprises that provide delectable home-cooked meals, and top amenities, such as hot springs and WiFi. Warm, personalised service also comes by default.
Food & Accommodation
Concerned about finding a hotel near Dal Lake? Well, breathe easy. Srinagar has a diverse selection of lodging alternatives, including a budget, mid-range, and luxury hotels. On Dal Lake itself, houseboats are a popular choice for lodging. They provide a one-of-a-kind experience in addition to spectacular views of Dal Lake and mountains. Families that live on Dal Lake run the majority of the houseboats. The houseboats come in a variety of options: budget, luxury, and mid-range. Irrespective of your budget or requirement, you are covered.
There are many restaurants, cafes and street vendors. The most popular spots for eating in Srinagar are located near Lal Chowk and Khayam Road. While visiting Dal Lake you can’t really miss the butter tea with Khambi. Also, if you are a vegetarian, then Nadir Monji and Kashmiri Rajma are your best options. And, for non-vegetarians, Rogan gosht, Seekh Tujh, Gushtaba, Rishta, Kanti, and Tabakmaaz are a must-try.
Some Amazing Facts About the Dal Lake
There’s more to Dal Lake than meets the eye. Here’re a few amazing facts about the lake.
- Commercial fishing and water plant harvesting are major activities on the lake.
- Dal Lake is featured in mainstream Hindi films, such as Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Kabhi Kabhi, Janwaar, Kashmir Ki Kali, Junglee, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Jaanwar, Lamhaa, Dil Se, Mission Kashmir Yahaan, etc. Shammi Kapoor in Kashmir Ki Kali and Shashi Kapoor in Jab Jab Phool Khile helped romanticize the Dal Lake back in the 1960s.
- The first houseboats arose during the British colonial administration when the beauty of this area drew many British visitors. However, the Maharaja of Kashmir carefully regulated home construction to prevent overburdening the lake.
Shopping Near Dal Lake
Dal Lake has a floating market. Sellers have their Shikaras and sell a variety of goods, such as Kashmiri specialities. This includes wooden artwork, handcrafted jewellery, saffron, and even Kashmiri ponchos. You can shop for the freshest assortment of vegetables, fruits, and flowers cultivated in and around the region. However, visit the market early in the morning.
Everything from cucumbers, cauliflowers, brinjal, melon, tomatoes, cucumbers, Kashmiri saag (collard greens), water chestnuts, carrots, and the famous Nadru (a delicacy produced from lotus roots in the valley is offered at the vegetable market. From fruits to ice cream, one can get everything and also handicraft souvenirs, especially Pashmina Shawl. If you can visit early in the morning there is a flower market that starts at 5 am and closes at 7 am. This colourful floating market has plenty of shops nearby too.
Kashmir is known for its absolute natural beauty. Thus, while visiting this Kashmir lake, you must also check out some nearby attractions. Here is what you can’t miss on your trip.
- Nishant Garden
- Badamwari Garden
- Shankaracharya Hill
Nestled in the heart of Srinagar, Dal Lake may appear as several separate lakes and pools. It’s joined and split by various causeways, houseboats, and floating gardens. However, the lake water is getting polluted over the last few decades, and keeping the houseboats has been a subject of debate. Fortunately, the Indian government has recognized this possible danger and has launched a huge project to restore the lake to its former grandeur. No new houseboats will be allowed on the lake and some of the present residents will be relocated.
Dal Lake is Srinagar’s biggest icon and tourist draw. Experience this wide expanse of glistening water over the houseboat’s wooden carved balconies as soon as possible.
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