Yet another feather in the cap of the beautiful Kashmir is the scintillating lakes that are found across the length and breadth of the valley. Kashmir valley is surrounded by lofty majestic mountains on all sides, which remain snow covered throughout the year. Many enormous glaciers are found in the valley of Kashmir. Water originating from these glaciers gives rise to various springs, lakes and rivers. The meres found in Kashmir Valley have clear waters, scintillating view. Most of the lagoons are located in Srinagar, central Kashmir. Because of its meres, Srinagar is often referred to as the “Venice of the east”.
The lakes located in Srinagar are
- Dal Lake
Other notable lakes of the Kashmir valley are
Besides the lakes in Srinagar there are many meres in other parts of the beautiful valley as well. The lagoons are very beautiful and most of these are set in the backdrop of majestic mountains.
The most famous lake of Kashmir Valley is the Dal, which lies in the heart of Srinagar. This is the second largest freshwater of the state and is integral to tourism. It is beautiful and is often referred to as the “Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir”. It is spread over an area of 10 square miles with a length of 4 miles and a breadth of 2.5 miles. Dal-Lake lies at the foot of the Zabarwan Hills which provide it a breath-taking backdrop. However, there is more to the beauty of Dal-Lake. In the inside of it is a world of its own. Numerous people derive a livelihood from it. Sustains a vibrant life in its vicinity with a complete floating market. Shikaras (low bottomed boats with cloth canopy) ply on the lagoon, which take you into the beautiful and amazing world of Dal. If you are lucky enough to come at the perfect time, beautiful lotuses will greet you during your shikara ride. There are houseboats on the Dal-lake that offer you a novel and a wonderful option of stay on water.
Naginis another beautiful lake situated in the close proximity of the Dal. It is actually known as named Nigeen, which means the “jewel in the ring” but many tourists, particularly refer to it as Nagin. It leads from the Dal and is separated from it by a causeway. This freshwater is also very beautiful and many tourists prefer staying in it and enjoy a shikara ride over its clean waters, because of the calm atmosphere surrounding it. There is a club on its banks known as Nigeen Club, which has a lot to offer.
Manasbal is another beautiful lake situated at a distance of around 30 km from Srinagar towards its north. This is the deepest lagoon of the state, so much that it is considered as unfathomable in Hindu legends. The freshwater is full of lotuses and shikaras ply on it. Beautiful parks have been made on its banks where you can enjoy your day perfectly.
Wullar is another main attraction here. It is the largest fresh water lake of Asia.
There many other meres in the valley that are even more beautiful and clear than the lagoons in the city, however most of these ponds are alpine and are situated at high altitude. Some of the most beautiful lakes of the valley lie at high altitudes in the Sonamarg areas; Gangabal, Naranag, Kishansar, Vishansar and a few other meres lie in the mountain ranges surrounding Sonamarg. To access them, however, you need to trek for a few days into the mountains. Alpatthar is another alpine lake situated near Gulmarg. However, this has an easier and more beautiful access. Gulmarg gondola takes you to the beautiful Alpatthar.