The famous Dal Lake was one of the main reasons I always wanted to visit Kashmir in India. Finally, I was able to explore the natural beauty of Dal which is famous as Kashmir’s Jewel, but I’ll say Dal Lake in Srinagar is the life of the entire Jammu and Kashmir in North India. It’s just not possible to imagine Kashmir without Dal Lake. I had no idea, so many surprises were waiting for me, and I was delighted to do and see many things during my solo travel here in spring. Dal Lake is the most picturesque destination so why not share my first impressions and scenic journey to Srinagar Dal Lake in photos?
I want to say Dal (Lake in Kashmiri) Lake is one of the best places to photograph. I’ve captured different moods of Dal Lake in a different hour, and water reflections are something you can’t avoid to love. The backdrop of the Zabarwan Mountains ranges created an extraordinary beauty of the entire Dal Lake. Many wooden luxury houseboats anchored to the bank of Dal Lake. Also, the rows of many colorful shikaras in every ghat are the typical scenarios on Dal Lake.
The beautiful Boulevard Road became famous for this lake, and you’ll see most of the luxury hotels and resorts reside nearby this lake road. Many popular tourist attractions and heritage sites are near to the Dal Lake. Also, you can enjoy the remote beauty of the Dal Lake from many of the top places in Srinagar.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Time To Visit Dal Lake
- 2 How To Reach Dal Lake?
- 3 Scenic Journey To Srinagar Dal Lake – Photo Story
- 3.1 Dal Lake Shikaras, The Gondolas of Kashmir
- 3.2 Dal Lake Houseboats, Traditional Floating Palaces
- 3.3 Flower Shikara or Boat on Dal Lake
- 3.4 Spectacular Landscape of Dal Lake and Water Reflections
- 3.5 Floating Vegetable Markets on Dal Lake
- 3.6 Fishing on Dal Lake
- 3.7 Sports Cruise on Dal Lake
- 3.8 Char Chinar, Picturesque Island of Dal Lake
- 3.9 Dal Lake Water Lily Pads beside Kabutar Khana
- 3.10 Local Lifestyle on Dal Lake
- 3.11 Remote Views of Dal Lake from Top Places
- 3.12 To Keep Dal Clean
- 4 Click To Save Scenic Photos of Dal Lake on Your Pinterest Board!
Best Time To Visit Dal Lake
Early spring (March-May) to summer (June-August) is the best time to visit Dal Lake. The reason is the Kashmiri shikaras in every ghat. They are the soul of Dal Lake. Dal Lake is lifeless without Shikara, the cultural symbol, and values of Kashmir. During this time, you can enjoy a relaxing and scenic shikara ride to explore the outstanding beauty of Dal Lake. In extreme winter, the weather is dull, and the lake water became frozen, so not possible to enjoy a shikara ride apart from snow skiing. You can also visit Kashmir during autumn (September – November), to see another colorful beauty of this lake.
How To Reach Dal Lake?
Dal Lake is 22 km away from Srinagar Sheikh ul-Alam Airport. Also, it took almost one hour to reach Dal Lake from Srinagar Railway Station. Either you can take a taxi or city bus service to visit Dal Lake. For me, it was a cool experience to drive on the Boulevard road during my first day in Srinagar. I loved the rows of the tall Poplar trees in one side, and the opposite is the scenic Dal Lake. After that, I’ve crossed this beautiful road many times during my 11 days solo travel in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shikaras, the cultural symbol of Kashmir
The best to stay in any hotel on Boulevard road from where you can enjoy the view of the lake every day. For a relaxing holiday don’t miss either to stay in a luxury floating hotel or houseboat on Dal Lake.
Scenic Journey To Srinagar Dal Lake – Photo Story
During my two nights budget-friendly stay in a houseboat on Dal Lake, I was able to capture and record a lot of photos and videos. I’m showcasing here some of the best to inspire you to explore Dal Lake and also sharing some insights through travel photos. Have you visited Dal Lake yet? No, then join me this photo journey to visualize and explore.
Dal Lake Shikaras, The Gondolas of Kashmir
The entire Dal Lake length is approximately 6 – 7 km. How far you’ll look, you can see many many shikaras. Dal Lake shikaras are nothing but the Gondolas of Kashmir. Shikara or any regular boat is the only transport mode on Dal Lake. Every houseboat keeps one boat, or they hire to pick up guest from the ghat. You can also employ any shikara from the ghat to enjoy a cruise along the lake. However, shikaras are not only for recreation purposes. You’ll see many local merchants do use shikara for selling different Kashmiri products, souvenirs, Kashmiri Kahwa. Locals even use small canoe/ boat and shikara for daily transport to fishing and selling vegetables, flowers, and fruits.
The rows of many shikaras
Left: Luxury houseboats and shikaras Right: Shikara ride and picturesque Dal Lake on Boulevard road
Dal Lake Houseboats, Traditional Floating Palaces
Many traditional Dal Lake houseboats are floating hotels and permanently anchored for guests. Here you can stay like a home which occupied with well-furnished rooms and all standard facilities. The wood carving of each houseboat is so eye-catching and first started to build during the rule of the British in Kashmir. Houseboats in Kashmir are also locally famous as Floating Palaces.
Traditional Floating Palaces of Dal Lake Luxury Boathouse in Srinagar Dal Lake
Super Deluxe Young Beauty Star Houseboat with a Balcony
Budget houseboats anchored to the bank of Dal Lake The water reflections of the traditional wooden houseboats
Flower Shikara or Boat on Dal Lake
Kashmir’s leading tourist attraction Dal Lake is a famous film location too. I can remember the Bollywood movie Mission Kashmir, released in 2000 first inspired me to visit Kashmir. Since then I decided if I ever visit I’ll enjoy shikara ride and capture many photos with flower shikara. I found Kashmiri peoples love flowers a lot. You can buy various flower plants and seeds from flower shikara. Now Kashmiri pink rose is my favorite.
Flower Shikara on Dal Lake in Srinagar
Spectacular Landscape of Dal Lake and Water Reflections
Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful destinations of Jammu and Kashmir. Framing different moods of Dal Lake without any filter was excellent. So dramatic landscape and the water reflections, there is no way to stop clicking. I’ve captured a lot mainly with my Nikon Coolpix P900 and also iPhone 6 Plus. It was tough to showcase just some here among numerous beautiful photos.
To Be Noted: Here I didn’t add any high-resolution photos so that it doesn’t take ages to load.
So green Dal Lake, the beauty of Srinagar
The remote beauty of the Dal Lake from the boat
The breathtaking water reflection of Char Chinar Island Dal Lake with the backdrop of the Zabarwan Mountains ranges Zabarwan Range with a view of Dal Lake Spectacular landscape of Srinagar Dal Lake
Floating Vegetable Markets on Dal Lake
Dal is also for many locals the primary source of income in various ways. I loved the idea of the floating markets on Dal Lake. It is so lovely to see so early morning locals sell on boats their own produced many organic vegetables. On the way to this market, you’ll see floating gardens of vegetables and fodder plants. Weeds from the Dal decomposed to use later as organic fertilizer for the floating gardens.
On the way to Dal Lake Floating Markets
Fishing on Dal Lake
Fishing is popular activities on Dal, some do it for fun, but for many the vital source of livelihood. It is one of the leading commercial operations on Dal Lake.
Fishing from the island of Char Chinari Fishing in the Floating Gardens of Water LilyKashmiri man trying to catch fish
Sports Cruise on Dal Lake
Dal Lake is famous for boat cruising, fishing and also swimming in summer. In winter snow skiing is very popular on Dal. I found many sports cruises where you can also try water surfing.
Bulbul Sports Cruise on Dal Lake
Char Chinar, Picturesque Island of Dal Lake
The Island of Char Chinar (Four Chinar Trees) is one of the scenic attractions on Dal Lake. You can stop here to spend some time. This island-like a park lost its old beauty; now only one Chinar tree is there along with many other flower trees. The distant views of this island are stunning from the boat. Many years old Chinar tree carries significance values and tradition and the living heritage of Kashmir.
The picturesque Island of Char Chinar Chinar Tree of the Char Chinar Island
Dal Lake Water Lily Pads beside Kabutar Khana
On the way to Char Chinar or Char Chinari, you’ll see a quiet place named as locally Kabutar Khana. It is kind of small island under CRPF, the border security force. You’ll love the scenic view of many water lilies here. The floating gardens of four colored (red, white, yellow and pink) water lily on Dal Lake.
Dal Lake Water Lily Pads beside Kabutar Khana Yellow colored Water LilyThe Floating Gardens of four colored Water Lily
Local Lifestyle on Dal Lake
Dal is also accommodation for many locals. They have their own floating houses where they stay permanently and boats for transportation. There is also mobile café, floating shops to sell daily commodities to Kashmiri traditional dresses, shawl, carpet, jewelry, souvenirs, wood crafts, dry fruits and many more. Those shops are locally known as Meena Bazar of Dal Lake.
Kashmiri House on Dal Lake Srinagar Floating dry fruits and gourmet food shops on Srinagar Dal Lake Boat of fruits to prepare fruit salad
Left: Kashmiri woman rowing a small boat Right: He looks different, not like a Kashmiri Floating food stalls, I found Kashmiri Maggi is tasty Meena Bazar of Dal Lake
Remote Views of Dal Lake from Top Places
Many top tourist attractions are nearby the Dal Lake. You can take a boat ride to visit many Mughal gardens, Nehru Park and even Gulshan Books Kashmir. A great place for book lovers where you can also drink coffee while enjoying the breathtaking view of Dal Lake.
You may also love to see the scenic and remote views of Dal not only from many hotels and houseboats but also from top attractions like Pari Mahal Garden, Shankaracharya Temple, and Hari Parbat.
The top view of Dal from Pari Mahal Garden
To Keep Dal Clean
Dal is the center of the Kashmiri people’s livelihood. By all means, they have to keep the lake clean. No doubt Dal is losing its old glory. The extra growth of weed is not a good sign for the extraordinary Dal Lake. It was sad to see chips packet and plastic water bottle on the Dal while enjoying the boat ride. However, I’ve liked to find the following small board banner by J & K Lakes & Waterways Development Authority on the roadside of Dal. It’s a good initiative.
SAY NO TO POLYTHENE
TO KEEP DAL CLEAN
Dal roadside small board banners and the view from Nunkun Lake View Restaurant I was following one yellow sparrow and found this plastic bottle on Dal Lake Water Lily pads
We all have to say NO to polythene and litter. We travelers have to travel responsibly to save any mother nature. The authority should take care of the sewage discharge from houseboats and hotels on Dal Lake. Moreover, locals have to cooperate.
Click To Save Scenic Photos of Dal Lake on Your Pinterest Board!
Share your thoughts. How do you like Dal Lake in Srinagar? Would you make it there for a shikara ride?