Essay on Dal Lake
Dal Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes in Jammu and Kashmir. It is also regarded as the “jewel in the crown of Kashmir.” It is located in the centre of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. This urban lake is an integral part of recreation and tourism in Kashmir. It has become an icon of Kashmir’s tourism sector.
It is also the second-largest lake in Jammu and Kashmir, with a slew of gardens and orchards lining its shores. Houseboats are an indelible feature of the scenery of the Dal Lake, always ready to take guests on a romantic and tranquil journey around the lake and soothe their nerves as the houseboat floats over the gently rippling waves. They also offer some of the most exotic views of the breathtaking landscape of Dal Lake. The glittering, calm waters of Dal, bordered on three sides by snow-capped mountains, surely make it one of the most magnificent lakes in India.
Dal Lake is easily accessible from Srinagar. The best way to go to Dal Lake is to walk there because practically all of the guest houses and hotels are in close proximity to the lake.
Dal Lake has its own civilisation, with residents establishing their homes on houseboats. These houseboats are stationary and can be found all across the lake. People who live on these boats travel around the lake on their own Shikaras (wooden boats).
Every day, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., Dal Lake has its own floating market where residents trade and sell various vegetables and fruits. Making it for this early morning speciality is absolutely worth waking up early and skipping a few hours of sleep. It is always preferable to hire a Shikara the previous evening because Shikara owners charge much more early in the morning and are unwilling to negotiate their costs. Don’t worry if you can’t get up early enough to make it to the floating market. Dal Lake has enough to offer throughout the day. There are numerous Shikara rides to select from, ranging from a brief half-hour cruise to a two-hour journey that covers the entire lake.
There will be several Shikara owners who will approach you and offer you a ride in their boat. Bear in mind that Shikara rides are negotiable. Bargaining is thus an ability that will come in handy while dealing with Shikara owners. Keep in mind that you should never pay them more than half of the fee that they quote first.
The two-hour shikara ride circles the entire lake. Once the journey begins, a slew of sellers and traders arrive on their own Shikaras to offer everything from saffron and fruits to noodles and cold drinks. Some even arrive with ice cream and trinkets to sell. Bargaining comes in handy even while purchasing items from these dealers. They will always agree to reduce their price by 35% of what they have originally quoted.
Dal Lake also has its own park, Nehru Park, which is located in the heart of the lake. This park has a nominal entrance fee, a few cafes, and plenty of photographers who give tourists photographs in traditional Kashmiri garb with the Dal Lake and the stunning snow-capped Himalayan mountains in the background. A visit to Nehru Park is well worth it.
Dal Lake also has its own shopping centre where Kashmiri shawls, handlooms, sweaters, gloves, and other items may be purchased. The Shikara owners have a relationship with these stores and will generally promote them in order to persuade people to buy something from them. Please don’t get carried away by their ideas and only go into stores if you want to buy something.
There is a lot of vegetation around Dal Lake, and locals grow vegetables and fruits there. During the summer months of July and August, lotus flowers bloom all around the lake, giving it a peaceful appearance.
Dal Lake has plenty of lodging options to fit every budget. There are economical houseboats for backpackers as well as premium, deluxe ones for luxury travellers. The inexpensive houseboats just have one room with a fan, a bed, and a bathroom. It is best to book a houseboat that has been registered by the tourism board because there have been reports of tourists being robbed and defrauded on houseboats managed by them. These houseboats are anchored and remain stationary throughout. They do not float and move around the lake, unlike the ones in Kerela.
The ideal season for visiting Dal Lake is from July to November. From December to February, Dal Lake is frozen over.
The origins of the Dal Lake have been a source of contention. While some geologists believe Dal Lake is the remnant of the Pleistocene Oligotrophic Lake that once encompassed the whole Kashmir valley, others say it is simply a flood plain lake. Dal Lake’s floating gardens are a thing of beauty in and of themselves. The massive influx of tourists has prompted the development of a multitude of eateries and hotels along the lakeside.