Lifestyle, Tourist Spots Kashmir

The Jewel Of Kashmir – Dal Lake

The Jewel Of Kashmir - Dal Lake

Zubin Mehta once said,” I am jealous of the people who live on the shore of Dal Lake” and we couldn’t agree more. 

What could be more beautiful than a lake that reflects the view of mountains in the day and the beaming lights of the busy city at night? 

Shikara in Dal Lake

Rightly titled as the “Jewel of Kashmir ”, dal lake has always been a busy tourist spot and the center of attraction. Surrounded by the Pir Panjal mountains and Mughal gardens the dal lake offers a different view every season.

There is one question that everybody asks, “does the dal lake ever freeze?”

Yes, it does! In the winter of 2020, Srinagar recorded a temperature of minus 8.4 degrees celsius, due to which the lake partially froze. 


Dal lake is the second largest lake in Kashmir left behind by a larger lake named “Wular”, situated in Bandipora.

Dal lake has many theories of origin. One of them states that the lake was formed by flood spoilage from the river of Jhelum. The other theory says that it is nothing but a glacial lake that has undergone many changes in size and depth throughout the years.

Have you heard of any more theories about the origin of dal lake? If so, leave a comment down below.

Dal lake has also been titled the “lake of flowers’ and the most abundantly grown flower in Dal is lotus or “Phambash” as known in the native language. Dal is, therefore, a natural wetland that has floating gardens around the periphery of the lake. This floating garden is known as “rad” in Kashmiri language and blossoms in July and August.


Dal lake is a natural urban lake that has a depth of about 6 meters.

Dal Lake in Kashmir

Why is Dal Lake So Famous?

Dal lake is famous because of its splendid beauty.

And part of its beauty is the houseboats, shikars, and islands on the dal.

Houseboats are essentially made out of wood and are beautifully designed inside out with rich intricate carvings. The modern houseboats resemble the old ones, but not in every essence. Regardless, they have always served the purpose of allowing tourists or any visitor to stay in a comfortable and cozy surrounding while floating on the dal. 

Houseboats have been graded by the tourism department in terms of the degree of luxury, the best being deluxe houseboats.

Top service hotels are available right in front of dal, but honestly speaking, who would want to skip living such a unique experience?

The Shikara Ride

Tourists enjoying Shikara ride in Dal Lake

You know it and so do we, shikara rides are so instagrammable. Shikaras resemble the traditional gondola of Venice so they are designed to accommodate fewer passengers as compared to a houseboat. Throughout your shikara ride, you will meet many vendors on their shikara, selling many different things. Some sell Kashmiri handicrafts, jewelry, scarves while others sell saffron, chai,kahwa, and even hookah. 

Shikaras are readily available at every ghat along boulevard road and the rates are usually fixed but can be negotiated.

Char Chinar

Char Chinar in Dal Lake

The famous picturesque island of kashmir known as char chinari is actually in the centre of dal’s basin- Lokut Dal or Small dal. 

The dal lake has been divided into 4 basins-

  • Bod dal (Big Dal)
  • Lakut dal (Small Dal)
  • Nigeen
  • Gagribal 

The island situated in the center of Bod Dal is known as “sona lank” whereas the island located in the middle of Lokut Dal is known as “Rup Lank” or “Char Chinari”. Nigeen is known to be a separate or independent lake (while still being connected to the dal)

The island Char Chinar is a famous location for tourists.Visitors can book a shikara and reach the char chinar within 30 minutes.The island is marked with the presence of majestic Chinar trees at the four corners, thus known as Char-Chinari (Four Chinars). [1]

How to Reach Dal Lake?

If you have arrived in Kashmir and the first place you want to visit is Dal, then booking a cab from the airport is the simplest way to reach Dal lake. The fare might cost you anywhere between 

1000-1200 rupees. 

If you’re somewhere in Lal Chowk (the most famous shopping area of Kashmir) you can reach Dal at a distance of 5-10 km through the transport of your choice. Booking a cab would be the most convenient option.

Did you know?

Nishat Bagh in Kashmir

Famous tourist spots like Nishat Bagh, Shalimar, Mughal gardens all lie along the boulevard road where dal lake is situated.

Also read: gurez-valley-people-life-and-culture/ 

Comment down below so that we can answer your queries!

What are some more things you would like to know about the Dal Lake of Kashmir?


[1]: Wikipedia