The Dal Lake is the second largest lake in the state of Jammu and Kashimir, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is Nick named is “Srinagar’s Jewel in the crown of Kashmir. Dal Lake is, initially, one of the most confusing parts of Srinagar for it’s not really one lake at all, but three. The Dal Lake with its sparkling quiet waters is surrounded by the beautiful snow-capped mountains on three sides making the Dal Lake one of the most beautiful lakes in India. It figures high on tourist itineraries and every tourist to the Kashmir valley makes it a point to visit the water body. Dal Lake has an average depth of almost 5 ft and a maximum depth of 20 ft. Covering an area of 18 sq km, the Dal Lake is part of a natural wetland that covers an area of about 21 sq km which includes floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri. The fascinating Dal Lake is divided into two smaller ones the Lokut (small) and Bod (big) Dal. The Dal Lake gets some of its water from spring but is also supplemented by water from the mountain lake, Mar Sar. The waters of Dal Lake are amazingly clear. Swimming here can be quite refreshing, especially on a hot afternoon. One will undoubtedly be joined by a number of Indians, including Hindu women who swim in their saris. Scenic view of the lake can be witnessed from the shoreline Mughal Gardens built during the reign of Emperor Jahangir, from the houseboats and from the colourful shikaaras cruising along the lake. A recent addition to the beauty of the boulevard is the ‘Royal Springs’ golf course. Massive investments of approximately US$275 million (₹ 11 billion) are being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to its original splendour. The beauty of Dal Lake has attracted filmmakers and over 20 films have been shot in and around the famous water body. Mainstream Hindi films like, Junglee, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Kashmir Ki Kali, Jaanwar, Lamhaa, Yahaan, Mission Kashmir, Dil Se, Kabhi Kabhi, Rockstar and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani were shot or have scenes in which Dal Lake forms the backdrop.
shikaras & Houseboats :
Shikaras are a cultural symbol of the lake and seen mostly in lakes of Srinagar. The stunning ‘shikaras’ loaded with fresh flowers look like some metaphorical version of the gondolas of Venice and has achieved iconic statues. decorated shikaras floating around the lake for transporting goods to markets, children to school and travellers from houseboats to shore. The dramatic houseboats equally attract tourists for a peaceful and unforgettable stay on the lake. Overnight stay in a houseboat is an experience of a life time. A usual houseboat consists of a front balcony, a drawing room, a dining room and three bed rooms with attached toilets. Some of the houseboats even have a small terrace. Houseboats vary in degree of luxury and have been accordingly graded by the Department of Tourism.
The fishing industry on Dal is the second largest industry in the region and is central to many of the people’s livelihoods who reside on the lake’s periphery. As a result, carp constitutes 70% of all the fish caught in the lake while the schizothonax constitutes 20% and other species account for 10%. The various fishing nets being used in Dal are cast net,Long line, Gill net, Rod and line, Scoop net .
Floating Gardens :
The lake is probably at its most beautiful when the lotus flowers bloom in July and August. Potato, tomato, pumpkin, cucumber, radish and lots of other vegetables are grown here cultivation of the floating gardens which also lie in this part of the lake is another interesting feature. The floating
gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, are one of the stranger aspects of Dal Lake. Providing fine views all the way.
There are three islands in the lake, 2 of which are marked with beautiful Chinar trees, Char Chinar also in Island. The island located on the Bod Dal is known as Rupa Lank. it is marked with the presence of majestic Chinar trees at the four corners. During the winter season, soometimes the temperature falls as low as -11 degrees celsius, freezing the lake. Often people can be found ice skating on the lake at that time.
best time to visit Dal lake is between June to September. Dal Lake’s attraction is Islands, Houseboats & Floating Gardens. The lake is popular as a visitor attraction and a summer resort. Fisheries and the harvesting of food and fodder plants are also important on Dal.
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