Dal Lake Srinagar

Houseboat in dal lake Srinagar, floating market, shikara rides, romantic nights on Jhelum river kashmir are the main attraction in tourism of Kashmir in summer vacation

Houseboat in dal lake Srinagar, floating market, shikara rides, romantic nights on Jhelum river kashmir are the main attraction in tourism of Kashmir in summer vacation. It is integral to tourism and recreation in Jammu Kashmir and an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting. The shore line of the lake is about 15.5 kilometers is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, Houseboats and hotels.


Dal Lake

Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colorful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12 °F) freezing the lake. The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometers and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometers including its floating gardens and its blossom with lotus flowers during July and August. The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins: Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin. Although Nagin is also considered as an independent lake. Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank or Char Chinari and Sona Lank respectively.

Dal Lake Houseboat

At present, the Dal and its Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh on its periphery are undergoing intensive restoration measures to fully address the serious eutrophication problems experienced by the lake. Massive investments of approximately US$275 million are being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to its original splendor. During the Mughal period, the Mughal rulers of India designated Kashmir, Srinagar in particular, as their summer resort. They developed the precincts of the Dal in Srinagar with sprawling Mughal-type gardens and pavilions as pleasure resorts to enjoy the salubrious cool climate. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, which led to the disintegration of the Mughal Empire Pashtun tribes in the area around the lake and city increased, and the Afghan Durrani Empire ruled the city for several decades.

Houseboat Interior – Dal lake

The Kashmiri Hanji people have built, owned and maintained these houseboats, cultivating floating gardens and producing commodities for the market, making them the centre of their livelihoods. The houseboats, closely associated with Dal also provide accommodation in Srinagar. Following the Mughal, Afghan, Sikh and Dogra rule, the place has earned the epithet, “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir.  In 1814 a significant part of the Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, was annexed from the Afghans by Raja Ranjit Singh to his kingdom, and the Sikhs grew in influence in the region for 27 years.


Floating market – Dal lake

Navigational channels provide the transportation links to all the five basins. The average elevation of the lake is 5,194 feet. The depth of water varies from 20 feet at its deepest in Nagin lake to 8.2 feet, the shallowest at Gagribal. The depth ratio between the maximum and minimum depths varies with the season between 0.29 and 0.25, which is interpreted as flat bed slope. The length of the lake is 7.44 kilometers with a width of 3.5 kilometers.The lake is located within a catchment area covering 316 square kilometres in the Zabarwan mountain valley, in the foothills of the Shankaracharya hills, which surrounds it on three sides. The lake, which lies to the east and north of Srinagar city covers an area of 18 square kilometers, although including the floating gardens of lotus blooms, it is 21.2 square kilometers. The main basin draining the lake is a complex of five interconnected basins with causeways; the Nehru Park basin, the Nishat basin, the Hazratbal basin, the Nagin basin and the Barari Nambad basin.

Char Chinar – Dal Lake

The lake has e basin have a shore length of 15.5 kilometers and roads run all along the periphery. Irreversible changes through urban. The lake is located within a catchment area covering 316 square kilometers in the Zabarwan mountain via placed further restrictions on the flow of the lake and as a result, marshy lands have emerged on the peripheral zones, notably in the foothill areas of the Shankaracharya and Zahari Wan hills. These marshy lands have since been reclaimed and converted into large residential complexes. Multiple theories explaining the origin of this lake have been formulated. One version is that it is the remnants of a post-glacial lake, which has undergone drastic changes in size over the years and the other theory is that it is of fluvial origin from an old flood spill channel or oxbows of the Jhelum River. The dentifrice drainage pattern of the catchment signifies that its rock strata have low levels of porosity.

Shikara on Dal Lake

Lithographically, a variety of rock types have been discerned namely, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. The Dachigam Telbal Nallah system is conjectured to follow two major lineaments. Discontinuous surfaces seen in the terrain are attributed to the angular and parallel drainage pattern. The water table cuts the hill slopes, which is evidenced by the occurrence of numerous springs in the valley. Seismic activity in the valley is recorded under Zone V of the Seismic Zoning Map of India, the most severe zone where frequent damaging earthquakes of intensity IX could be expected. In the year of 2005, Kashmir valley experienced one of the severe earthquakes measured at 7.6 magnitude on the Richter scale, which resulted in deaths and the destruction of many properties, leaving many homeless.


Dal lake is classified as warm monomictic under the subtropical lake category. Spring sources also contribute to the flow, although no specific data is available to quantify their contribution. To address this, water balance studies to analyse and assess the characteristics of flow have been conducted in order to approximate the discharge contributed by the springs in the lake bed. The complex land use pattern of the valley is reflected in the urbanised Srinagar in its north, with rice fields, orchards and gardens in the lower slopes, and barren hills beyond steep sloping hills. The flat topography also affects drainage conditions.

Dal lake receives an average annual rainfall of 25.8 inch in the catchment, but during the summer, snow melt from the higher ranges of the catchment results in large inflows into the lake. Two outlets from the lake, namely the Dalgate and Aamir Khan Nallah that connects the lakes of Nagin and Anchar Lake. Dalgate is controlled by a weir and lock system. The outflow from these two outlets has been estimated as 275.6 million cubic meters.