Dal Lake

Fondly called the “Jewel of Srinagar”, the world famous Dal Lake is a popular sightseeing location of Jammu and Kashmir. Dal Lake enthralls all visitors with its rippling waters, houseboats and luxurious shikaras. Sparkling waters of this lake have inspired photographers, film makers, poets, lovers and writers through the ages. Set in the lap of spectacular Himalayan ranges, lush chinar trees and snow capped peaks, this lake rates high on the list of preferred tourist destinations of nature lovers and tourists alike.

Dal Lake, typically an important icon of tourism industry of Jammu and Kashmir, is a Himalayan urban lake with five basins and a well connected network of water channels. It is the second largest fresh water lake in J&K after Wular Lake along with being one of the prettiest lakes across India.

This huge lake is divided into four sections by different causeways. Dal Lake is believed to be a flood plain lake which once stretched across the valley of Kashmir. Certain geologists opine that its origin lie in a pleistocene oligotrophic lake. It is an integral portion of a natural wetland. Along with its scenic floating gardens; which are referred to as Rad in local dialect, Dal Lake is also known for its four basins -- Lokut Dal, Bod Dal, Gagribal and Nagin. The serenity and solitude of small islands located on Dal Lake attract tourists from all walks of life.

Known for its wide species of aquatic life and variety of fish, Dal Lake supports the second largest industry of fishery in the state. Thousands of fishermen are dependent on the waters of this lake for fishing and water plant harvesting. The shores of Dal Lake are dotted with thriving gardens and abundant orchards of apples, mulberries and other exotic varieties like cherries, peaches, almonds and saffron plums.

Tourists visiting Dal Lake are also likely to enjoy the magnificence of various monuments, universities and temples dotting its shores. Some famous temples dotting waters of Dal Lake are Hari Parbat and Shankaracharya temples. These Hindu places of worship are located on hillocks overlooking the lake and are visited by thousands of devotees and tourists across the year. A number of restaurants and hotels have spawned on the shores of Dal Lake and provide affordable and benchmarked accommodation facilities to tourists from all corners of the world.

The scenic bounties of Zabarwan mountain valleys and foothills of other Himalayan ranges complement the unparalleled beauty of Dal Lake—which can be best experienced at dusk. This is the time when shimmering rays of the setting sun reflect themselves on the lake’s surface and make it shine in golden splendor.

A Nice Getaway

Dal Lake is best known for its long rows of houseboats, which provide world class lodging and boarding facilities to those interested in staying away from concrete hotels and retreats. The tranquil waters of this lake are stirred by rowing of dainty shikaras. Shikaras are local boats used for ferrying people, selling flowers/handicrafts/wares and providing leisurely rides to tourists who long to recline back and enjoy the bounties of the surrounding environs. These shikaras remind tourists of the gondolas of Venice and provide a very romantic and amiable ambience to the lake.

Tucked in the lap of nature, Dal Lake is an excellent getaway for tourists looking for their own place—far from the maddening urban crowds. Serene, placid and pure, the waters of this lake pay rich tribute to the snow clad peaks fringing the mountains beyond. There are practically no words to describe the charm and beauty of the terrains surrounding Dal Lake. Nature manifests itself in the most pristine form in the blue and cool waters of this lake.


Dal Lake is one of the most popular centers for water sports and other aquatic activities. Adventure seekers and more energetic tourists love to indulge in swimming, water surfing, water skiing , kayaking, canoeing and angling while their other counterparts indulge in relaxing moments of boating, fishing and spending time on the fringes of the lake. Dal Lake is prone to freezing in severe winter months and provides opportunities for snow skiing and other winter sports as well.

This popular Kashmiri Lake is also a favorite source of inspiration for creative people like painters, writers, poets and photographers. After relishing the delights of Dal Lake, tourists like to visit the three Mughal Gardens—Shalimar Bagh, Chashm-e-Shahi and Nishat Bagh. Char Chinar is another popular place in the Dal Lake and attracts tourists with its easy accessibility by Shikaras and charming environs.


Located at a motor able distance of 10 km from the heart of Srinagar, Dal Lake can be easily accessed by local buses or private taxis within a period of 30 minutes.

By Air

Domestic tourists can avail of multiple carriers to reach Srinagar from various important cities of India. Srinagar airport is well connected to Mumbai, Chandigarh, Delhi and Shimla. Tourists flying in from other countries may reach Srinagar via Delhi. After arriving in Srinagar, they can avail easy transport facilities to visit Dal Lake.

By Rail

The nearest railhead to Srinagar is at Udhampur which is located at a distance of 60km to the north of Jammu. Jammu Tavi railway station is well connected to most important towns and cities of India and is situated at a distance of 293 km from Srinagar. After arriving in Jammu, they can hire a taxi or avail regular bus services to complete the 12 hours journey to Srinagar.

By Bus

Jammu Tavi is well connected to Srinagar by private coaches, regular bus services and a host of taxis. The National Highway 1A links Srinagar to the rest of the country and passes through beautiful mountain terrains, long tunnels and scenic valleys.

Best Time to Visit

Tourists should book themselves a trip to Kashmir in the spring and autumn months which lasts from February to April and September to October respectively. The gardens surrounding Dal Lake are in full bloom during this period. These periods are also the best time for outdoor activities like trekking, hiking, boating and biking. The weather is congenial with the snowy peaks shining in all their glory throughout the day.

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