Dal Lake also known as ‘Srinagar’s Jewel’ is one of the most important landmarks of Srinagar. Words fall short to describe this exotic natural scenic beauty. Everything about the fascinating lake is grabbing the attention of national and international tourists. It’s not just the beauty of this place that’s grabbing the attention but the colorful houseboats and Shikaras are also significant attractions of the Lake. For sure, you will not get to experience anything like this anywhere else in the world!
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Top 6 Things To Do In Dal Lake
Dal Lake nestled in the heart of Srinagar is the second largest lake in the valley of Kashmir. The 26 sq km area has many touristy things to do and see. Let’s take a look at some of the top things that will help complete your experience in Srinagar.
Spend A Night On A Houseboat
Houseboats have always been a part of the heritage of Kashmir and staying in a boathouse in Dal Lake is the most unique experience you can have. Initially they were called ‘behaz’, later after the British modified and made them bigger it got to be known as houseboats. Spending a night on a houseboat has become very popular with tourists. Most of the elegant wooden houseboats are run by families living on Dal Lake. From budget to mid-range, economy to luxury, the lake is lined with houseboats that vary in degree of luxury. These wooden boats with hotel-like facilities are designed in such a way that visitors can take in the stunning beauty of the place from anywhere on the boat. The breathtaking mountain views while dining with your loved one is something that will stay with you for a long time.
Go Shopping At The Floating Market
Whether you’re in the mood for shopping or not, a visit to the floating market Dal Lake is a must. These markets are where vendors sell their goods from shikaras across the lake. Vegetables, handicrafts, clothing, flowers, saffron, groceries, Kashmiri products and all that you need are available here. Best time to visit the market is in the early morning when all the vendors gather in the middle of the lake in boats loaded with items to sell. The colorful market against the beautiful backdrop makes for a pretty picture, basically a photographer’s heaven. All this sums up to a totally unique experience which cannot be experienced anywhere else but here.
Experience A Shikara Ride
Get real close to nature on the calm and tranquil waters of the lake with picturesque views of the snow-capped mountains on a Shikara ride. Shikara at Dal Lake are manually operated small boats that are designed uniquely with top roofs. Our Bollywood movies have made this ride quite famous by shooting many romantic scenes in these colorful boats. Best time to experience the boat ride is during dawn or dusk to experience some mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets. Nehru Park, Shalimar Gardens, and Hazratbal Mosque are added attractions on the go. Don’t forget to get yourself photographed with the traditional Kashmiri attire during your Shikara Dal Lake ride. This will add on to the experience and make the ride a more memorable one.
Visit The Mughal Gardens
Srinagar is home to several picturesque Mughal Gardens that deserves a special mention. The construction that dates back to the Mughal Era not only shows the excellent engineering skills of the Mughals but also the perfect representation of Persian architecture. Most of these magnificent gardens surround the lake and other important landmarks. Some of the main elements of these gardens are running water in the canals and a pool to reflect the beauty of the sky and garden. The different trees, varieties of flowers and birds chirping all around make it a paradise for nature lovers. Some of the popular gardens that you can visit are Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal, Verinag and Achabal.
Walk Along Foreshore Road
Foreshore road being the life of Srinagar, walking on this beautiful road is one of the best things to do in Dal Lake. The entire road lies on the banks of the lake, hence a walk on the road provides beautiful views of the lake. Foreshore road becomes very lively in the evening with the many roadside vendors and eateries that serve mouth-watering Kashmiri food. The 5.2km stretch of road from Hazratbal to Nishat also hosts the largest number of hotels for tourists. So you can be assured of a stay with wonderful views. Tasting some mouthwatering Kashmiri cuisine and catching the sunset with your partner along the lake are must do things while here.
Check Out Chinar Trees At Char Chinar
Char Chinar is a beautiful Island on Dal Lake known for its famous Chinar trees surrounding the four corners of the lake. Murad Baksh, the brother of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb constructed this famous landmark of Srinagar. Basically Char Chinar (meaning four sides) got its name from the four Char Chinar trees which are long-living trees that depict the characteristics of Kashmir. The four Chinar trees right in the middle of the lake makes for a pretty sight but the reflection of the Island on the water of Dal Lake makes it even more stunning. This must-visit place when on your trip to Dal Lake is best explored during a shikara ride.
Every tourist wants to visit this crown of Srinagar to enjoy the many unique things it offers. So if you are planning a trip to Srinagar, an escape to Dal Lake for some peace and tranquility should be on top of your travel itinerary. And don’t forget to add a houseboat stay and Shikaras ride to complete your experience.
Dal Lake is the second largest lake in Jammu and Kashmir and it is fondly named as the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”. The house boat in Dal Lake, canopied Shikara rides, mesmerizing view of the majestic mountains and its exotic surroundings is something which you will never get to experience anywhere else in the world.
The Dal Lake in Srinagar located at a distance of 11 kilometers away from Dharamshala has a depth of around 6 meters (20 ft).
The best time to visit is during the months of May to November when the climate is quite pleasant and ideal for exploring the place to its fullest. Either the mornings or evenings are the best time of the day to visit Dal Lake.
Dal Lake is a place where there is zero crime record against tourists. Taking into consideration all the parameters of safety, Dal Lake is an absolutely safe travel destination. In fact the last few years have seen a remarkable increase in the number of tourists coming here.
Though the waters of Dal Lake are amazingly clean and clear, it is advisable not to go swimming in the lake.