Dal Lake

Dal Lake, synonymous with Kashmir tourism, is Srinagar’s crown jewel. This Himalayan urban lake is the second largest lake in Kashmir. The lake is 5 feet deep on average and is divided into four basins: Bod Dal, Nagin, Gagribal, and Lokut Dal. Sona Lank (Gold Island) and Rupa Lank (also known as Char Chinari) are two islands in the middle of Bod Dal and Lokut Dal, respectively.

A boulevard surrounds Dal Lake's 15.5-kilometer waterfront, which is flanked with lovely Mughal-era gardens, beautiful parks, and luxurious hotels. Dal Lake's tranquil setting amidst rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, and distant landmarks like Hari Parbat, Shankaracharya Temple, and Hazratbal Shrine enchants its tourists' hearts and souls.

Shikaras, or colorful canopied boats, float peacefully across the mirror-like waters, providing guests with a soothing trip. Dal's serene surface is also bordered by beautifully crafted houseboats that float in the calm waters with perfect balance.

Dal Lake is also noted for its vibrant floating markets, called “Raad” in Kashmiri. Native handicrafts, indigenous saffron, foods, snacks, and even ice creams are sold at these markets. As a result, Dal Lake’s sweeping beauty can compete with Venice's.
How to reach

How to get there: Tourists can take a taxi to Srinagar's Lal Chowk and then take public transportation, such as state buses, to Dal Lake through Boulevard Road.

Best time to visit:

March to November

Manasbal Lake

Manasbal Lake, known as the "Supreme Gem of All Lakes in Kashmir," is located in the village of Safapora in the Ganderbal District, just 30 kilometers from Srinagar. It is the deepest lake in Kashmir, with a depth of 13 kilometers.

The lake's water and the sky above it are remarkably similar in color, to the point where the two can only be distinguished by a sliver of a line. Surreal is the uninterrupted bright blue expanse against the snow-covered peaks. The peacefulness of the location adds to the overall charm.

The lake's greatest distinguishing characteristic is the number of lotuses that grow along its edges, decorating the lake's edges with a pink hue. The Mughal garden (Jaroka) that overlooks the lake offers a stunning view of the lake. Empress Nur Jahan, Emperor Jahangir's wife, designed and created Jaroka (meaning bay window) garden.

Aside from tourism, the lake provides many options for water sports and recreation. Riding Shikaras, hiking up to the remnants of a 17th-century fort named Darogabagh, water skiing, and visiting an ancient temple are just a few of the activities available. Because it is a stopover for many migratory birds, the lake is also a bird watcher's delight. As a result, a trip to Manasbal Lake should be on every tourist's bucket list because of its unrivaled views and fun activities. Also, choosing the Dal Lake Houseboat is one of the right decisions you'll take on your Kashmir visit.
How to reach

Manasbal lake is at a mere distance of 30 km from Srinagar. One can hire cabs to reach the place directly. Depending on the traffic, the maximum it will take is one hour.

Best time to visit:

July to October

Nigeen Lake

Nigeen Lake is a deep blue lake located in the foothills of the Zabarwan mountains, surrounded by lush green poplar and willow trees. This sparkling lake is located 6 kilometers west of Dal Lake from Srinagar's city center, next to the Hari Parbat hilltop. It is sometimes seen as a branch of Dal and is connected to it by a thin causeway.

The azure blue lake glistens like a jewel against the green, earning the lake the name Nigeen, which means 'jewel in the ring.' Nigeen Lake is surrounded by ornately made houseboats that occasionally float above its calm waters, and it is dotted with colorful Shikaras that ferry tourists in and out of the area. Nigeen Club, on its eastern coast, has a sauna, a gym, a bar, and a tea pavilion. You can take a stroll along the famed causeway that connects it to Dal Lake, swim in its deep waters, shop for products at floating markets, or simply take in the breathtaking scenery. As a result, Nigeen Lake provides both aesthetic and recreational benefits.
How to reach

Take a regular bus from the city center or Srinagar's Lal Chowk to Nigeen Lake. To get to Nigeen Lake, one can board any of these.

Best time to visit:

March to November.

Wular Lake

The magnificent Wular Lake is located in Bandipora, 50 kilometers northwest of Srinagar, between Sopore and Bandipora. The lake's basin was formed by tectonic activity, and as a result, the area covered by the lake and its water levels vary throughout the year, a phenomenon unique to this waterbody. The lake's water comes from the Jhelum River. A 15th-century island dubbed Zaina Lank after King Zainul-Abi-Din, who erected it, is in the middle of this slightly rippling lake.

Wular Lake is extremely important to Kashmir's ecology. It not only provides habitat for a variety of fish, but it also serves as a stopover for migratory birds. It's also a chestnut treasure trove. It's incredibly desirable from an aesthetic standpoint, as the location provides the most mesmerizing sunset point. Furthermore, the quiet and beautiful blue waters of the lake, which reflect the majestic Mt. Harmukh is breathtaking. Wular is, in general, Kashmir's lifeline.
How to reach

From Srinagar, it takes two hours to get to Wular Lake. State-run buses or cabs can transport you from Srinagar to Bandipora.

Best time to visit:

Wular Lake is a year-round attraction that may be visited at any time, but the months of June and August are the most popular..

Gangabal Lake

Gangabal Lake is a picturesque alpine high altitude lake nestled in the arms of Mount Harmukh. It's about 40 kilometers north of Srinagar in the Ganderbal district, and it's home to a variety of freshwater species, particularly rainbow and brown trout. The glittering turquoise color of its waters, which are surrounded by tall mountains, bordered by big meadows, and carpeted with a large variety of wild Himalayan flowers, is a visual feast.

Gangabal Lake is part of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, a wonderful journey through Kashmir's best alpine lakes. It is not just a popular tourist destination, but it is also a holy location for Hindus. Harmukut Ganga, as they refer to it, is as holy as Haridwar's sacred city. As a result, this alluring lake offers something for everyone: religious, aesthetic, and adventurous interests. This lovely lake is located at an elevation of 3570 meters and may be reached by a trek or an uphill pony ride.
How to reach

Take a cab ride from Srinagar to Naranag via Ganderbal. From there, take a 13 km trek or horse ride to reach Gangabal lake.

Best time to visit:

July to September

Surinsar-Mansar Lakes

Surinsar-Mansar Lakes are located in the east of Jammu City, nestled among the hillocks. Despite the fact that these lakes are around 30 kilometers apart, they are considered twin lakes. Mythology has it that the lakes were formed when Arjuna's son Vabruhan's arrow struck the ground during the Mahabharata fight. According to legend, the arrow went through the ground and created Mansar Lake, while the hole it left behind became Surinsar Lake. The lakes are surrounded by densely forested slopes. Surinsar is 42 kilometers from Jammu, while Mansar is 64 kilometers away.

The surrounding areas of both lakes are rich in vegetation and fauna, particularly aquatic life. The larger of the two lakes, Mansar Lake, has religious and cultural significance. Three circumambulations of this lake are considered lucky for newlywed couples. Many people also have their male child's Mundan (first haircut) ritual here. Both lakes provide a peaceful atmosphere. A misty mist rises from them, revealing a postcard image. Robust clouds drift past the hills ribboning the lakes, adding to the beauty of the scene. These Jammu poster lakes are a must-see. However, it is best to avoid visiting them in May and June because the temperatures are extremely high at that time.
How to reach

How to get there: These lakes are easily accessible throughout the year via regular buses and private cabs from Samba and Jammu.

Best time to visit:

April to November.