Dal Lake

A beauty to be Admired

Srinagar is famous for a number of beautiful lakes. One of them is Dal Lake. Dal Lake has undoubtedly added to the attraction of Srinagar. Dal Lake has four basins to its credit and it is assisted by numerous well linked channels. Avaibility of ample amount of fishes in the lake encourage the fishery that has the second largest industry here centered on the lake. The waters of this lake sparkle with purity. Dal Lake enjoys being surrounded by the majestic mountains on its three sides. Dal Lake has a number of gardens and orchards around it. Dal Lake in Srinagar ranks second among the largest lakes in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Origin of Dal Lake
There is no unanimity regarding the origin of Dal Lake. According to some geologists, origin of Dal Lake lies in the Pleistocene Oligotrophic Lake that at a time covered the whole valley of Kashmir. According to some other geologists it was just a flood plain lake. Whatever may be source of origin of this lake, it continues to be a source of greatest attractions in Srinagar. The floating gardens on the face of Dal Lake make it more beautiful. Influx of tourists is encouraged by the numerous hotels and restaurants that have sprang up in the lakefront.

Dal Lake-A beauty to be Admired
The delightful Dal Lake extends an area of 26 square meters. The part to the west of the lake attracts the tourists by its tranquility and seclusion. The beauty of Dal Lake is enhanced by the houseboats floating on its waters. A ride in any of these houseboats entices you all the more to the enchanting romance of the Dal Lake. Shikaras offer ferry rides to and from the houseboats. These shikaras seem to be metaphorical versions of the gondolas of Venice. On the shores you will be captured by the enticing monuments of the Mughal period and also the Campus of the University of Kashmir. Initially there were about 500 gardens laid down in 16th to 17th century but now only a few of them have survived. There are two hillocks that overlook the Shankaracharya and Hari Parbat temples.

Water Sports in Dal Lake
Dal Lake acts as a hub for a lot of water sports such as swimming, Shikara riding, water surfing, canoeing, house boating, kayaking and angling. The tourists longing for fresh, natural and quiet ambiance can endeavor to this natural marvel.

Dal Lake in Srinagar appeared and still continues to appear as a subject matter of many poems and articles. The lake is unique in more than one way. One of them is people living on the lake in houseboats and settlements. Dal Lake is known as the "jewel of the Kashmir valley". This lake has become an icon of tourism industry of Srinagar. The process of eutrophication in the Lake is being checked by intensive restoration measures in order to maintain and keep intact its glory and beauty.

Floating Gardens
The lake is probably at its most beautiful when the lotus flowers bloom in July and August. The floating gardens, known as "Rad" in Kashmiri, are one of the stranger aspects of Dal Lake. They're composed of matted vegetation and earth, which are cut away from the lake bottom and towed to a convenient location where they are moored. Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Melons all grow amazingly well in these gardens, if one look underneath one can see that they do literally float on the lake. One can also approach the floating gardens by road; the boulevard runs along the eastern edge of the lake, providing fine views all the way.

One will often see weeds being pulled up out of the lake - this serves a double purpose. The lake waterways are kept clear and the weeds are rotted until they form excellent compost for the gardens. The shallowness of the lake and its heavy growth of waterweeds is probably the main reason there are so very few powered boats on the water. Dal Lake would be nowhere near as pleasant if there were powerboats rushing back and forth across its tranquil surface.

Shikaras
There are many tours around the lake but by far the best way to see it is to take a Shikara for a day and do a circuit of the Mughal gardens. At a reasonable price, there's hardly any other lazier and more pleasurable way of getting into the swing of Srinagar.

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