confusing parts of Srinagar for it's not really one lake at all,
but three. Further more much of it is hardly what one would expect
a lake to be like - it's a maze of intricate waterways and
channels, floating islands of vegetation, houseboats that look so
firmly moored they could almost be islands and hotels on islands
which look like they could simply float away.
Dal Lake lies immediately
to the east and north of Srinagar and stretches over 5-km. The
lake is divided into Gagribal, Lokut Dal and Bod Dal by a series
The main causeway across the lake carries the water pipeline for
Srinagar's main water supply. Dal gate, at the city end of Dal
Lake, controls the flow of the lake into the Jhelum river canal.
It's the steady flow of water through the lake, combined with its
relatively cold temperature, which keeps it so clear looking.
group of houseboats lies along the western edge of the lake near
the lakeside boulevard, towards Dal gate. They are lined in
looping rows and around small islands. Several hotels can also be
found on flat islands in the lake. Beyond the houseboats to the
northwest are the floating gardens.
Attractions Around Dal Lake
There are three islands in the lake; three real islands anyway,
there are other sorts of islands joined by causeways. Around the
lake are many of Srinagar's most interesting sights, in particular
the pleasant Mughal gardens. It's also flanked by hills,
particularly along its east bank. The Shankaracharya hill provides
a very fine view over the lake.
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.
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
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