Jammu and Kashmir, where tourism is flourishing, is definitely one of the top states which are popular as great tourism-locations. Mountains covered with snow, valleys dressed with mist and lakes with chilly water, etc. are rare beauties of Kashmir alone. Among all the lakes in the state, Dal Lake is one of the most popular and most-visited lakes.
Dal Lake remains one of the most important attractions in Srinagar, popularly known as the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Mountains and lakes always remain integral parts of tourism in Kashmir. This is true with Dal Lake and this is the reason why it is called “Srinagar’s Jewel” or “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir”.
If fishing is a means of income for the locals, for the Tourists it is a matter of enjoyment. Water plant harvesting is another commercial operation here.
Lake’s bank is beautified with gardens such as Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh by the Mughal emperor Jahangir. Boating along the 15.5 km long lake-banks seeing the beautiful gardens is one of the main entertainment programs of the tourists.
18 sq. km. large Dal Lake is part of 21.2 sq. km. of wet land. The temperature falls so down to mere -11°C in winter season that it gets frozen. Floating gardens, called Rad in Kashmiri, filled with lotus flowers is another fine attraction. However this beautiful view is visible only in July and August.
History of Dal Lake
Kashmir, specifically Srinagar, was designated as the summer resort for the Mughals. Thus they made sprawling gardens where they could enjoy the cool chilly climate. The lake and the surroundings later reached under the hands of Durrani Dynasty, owing to the Mughal dynasty’s disintegration after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707.
Annexing Srinagar in 1814, Raja Ranjit Singh made the region under his control and the Sikhs ruled it for nearly three decades. Now it is under the care of Government and the government is spending a lot of money to maintain the beauty of the lake, owing to which it was mentioned as Mahasarit in Sanskrit texts.
Best time to visit Dal Lake:
All through the year, the tourists can visit the lake. However being so chilly and cold even in hot summers, it is not advisable for anyone to visit the site during winter when the temperature falls as low as -11°C. Visiting Dal Lake in between July to August might be more advisable as floating garden blooms during this period, offering an alluring view to the beholders’ eyes.
How to reach:
- Nearest Airport – Sheikh UL Alam International Airport, Srinagar
- Nearest Railway Station – Anantnag Railway Station