The Dal Lake in Srinagar
The Dal lake is (a misnomer as Dal in Kashmiri means lake) is a naturally formed wetland with a unique ecosystem that covers an area of 21 sq./km.
The distant mountains surrounding the valley of Srinagar get perfectly mirrored in the still waters of the lake.
The lake’s uniqueness lies in the fact that people live on the lake in settlements and also cultivate floating gardens within it where they farm crops such as melons, cucumbers and tomatoes.The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
Floating gardens known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, which flower with lotus blooms, during July and August, provide delightful setting to the lake. The lake’s uniqueness lies in the fact that people live on the lake in settlements and houseboats and also cultivate floating gardens within it. It has four basins Gagribal, Lokut Bal, Bod Dal and Nagin which is a lake in its own right.
This lake is a naturally formed wetland with a unique ecosystem. It is covered in floating Lotus flower gardens during the monsoon season. Diving kingfishers and herons are a common and spectacular sight here. The flora on the lake comprises of lotus flower, water lilies and water chestnuts.
Houseboats on Dal Lake
Dal Lake is dotted with Houseboats. Staying on a houseboat is a unique experience with the old world charm. Made up of cedar wood, these beautiful water boats exude elegance and offer all comforts, complete with stately living quarters, drawing and dining rooms, carved wooden furniture, glowingly embroidered rugs and fabrics.
These houseboats were introduced by the British to live in Srinagar as the then Dogra Maharaja did not allow them to build houses or own any land in the valley. For centuries, Kashmiri Hanji people have built and owned these houseboats. Numerous other attractions line the 15.5 sq./km periphery of this beautiful lake; these include Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, Chashm-e-Shahi and Hazratbal Shrine.
Sri Naagar – Dal Lake’s floating market.
There are very few floating markets still thriving in the world. Vietnam’s Cai Rang floating market, Thaoland’s Damnoen Saduak , Solomon Islands market and the floating Market of Sri Nagar’s Dal lake. According to vendors, the market is over a century old.
The vegetables sold here is grown in floating gardens on the Dal Lake. The Dal lake’s wetland ecosystem produces tomatoes, cucumbers, water chestnuts, turnips and the famous nadru (lotus root).
On sale is a variety of colorful flowers , tea and snacks as well.The boats bump against one another as buyers and sellers negotiate — and chat and sip tea. There is an air of old world charm and familiarity that makes the experience of the visit a memory of a lifetime.
Nearest Airport : Srinagar Airport (15 km / 2 30mins)
Nearby Destinations / Attractions :
Gulmarg : https://www.monkfoot.com/destination-kashmir-gulmarg
Best time to visit and Climate :
Winter and Spring-summer ,Srinagar has its charm for each season. While winter is cold and white, spring, summer brings vibrant colors.
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