|Dal Lake is a lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northernmost Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The urban lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is nicknamed the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”. The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting. The shore line of the lake, about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. 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 colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12 °F), freezing the lake. The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, 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. At present, the Dal Lake 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 around US $275 million (Rs 1100 crores) is being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to its original splendour.
Dal lake is mentioned as Mahasarit (Sanskrti) in ancient Sanskrit texts. Ancient history records mention that a village named Isabar to the east of Dal Lake was the residence of goddess Durga. This place was known as Sureshwari on the bank of the lake, which was sourced by a spring called the Satadhara.
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 lake in Srinagar with spawling Mughul-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 area increased, and the Durrani Empire ruled the city for several decades. In 1814 a significant part of the Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, was annexed by Raja Ranjit Singh to his kingdom, and the Sikhs grew in influence in the region for 27 years.
Nishat Bagh Mughal GardensDuring the British Raj, the British also made Srinagar their capital during the summer months, attracted by the cool climate of the Kashmir valley, amidst the back drop of the majestic snow covered Himalayan ranges. The lake precincts experience temperatures in the range of 1–11 °C (34–52 °F) during winter and 12–30 °C (54–86 °F) during the summer season. The lake freezes when temperatures drop to about -11 °C (12 °F) during severe winter. Although the Dogra Maharaja of Kashmir restricted the building of houses in the valley, the British circumvented this rule by commissioning lavish houseboats to be built on the Dal Lake. The houseboats have been referred to as, “each one a little piece of England afloat on Dal Lake.”
After the independence of India, 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 Lake also provide accommodation in Srinagar. Following the Mughal and British rule, the place has became a haven for tourists and earned the epithet, “Jewel in the tourist crown”
|Nigin Lake of Kashmir is an offshoot leading from the Dal Lake. The Nagin Lake is located to the east of the city, at the foothill of the mountain Zabarwan. On the edges of the Nageen Lake are a number of willow and poplar trees. The reflection of these tees in the water of the lake lends it a beautiful view. Surrounded by Shankaracharya hill (Takht-e-Suleiman) on the south and Hari Parbat on the west, the Nagin Lake of Kashmir presents a charming sight. Shikaras, ferrying people to and from the lake, are a fascinating feature of the lake. Bathing boats as well as water-skis and motor launches are also available for hire at the lake.|
|Manasbal Lake is located about 30 km north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State. It has predominantly rural surroundings with three villages, Kondabal, Jarokbal and Gratbal overlooking the lake. Manasbal is considered as the ‘supreme gem of all Kashmir lakes’ with lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) nowhere more abundant or beautiful than on the margins of this lake during July and August. It is the deepest lake of Kashmir valley and perhaps the only one that develops stable summer stratification. Manasbal is classified as warm monomictic lake and circulates once in a year for a short time. The other lakes in the region either have weak stratification or are polymictic. Close to the northern shore are the ruins of a fort which was built in 17th century by a Moghul king to cater the needs of caravans that used to travel from Panjab to Srinagar. On the south, overlooking the lake is a hillock-Ahtung which is used for limestone extraction. The eastern part is mainly mountainous and towards the north is an elevated plateau known as ‘Karewa’ consisting of lacustrine, fluviatile and loessic deposits.
The lake has no major inflow channels and the water supply is maintained through spring water inflow and precipitation. An outlet channel connects the lake with the Jhelum River. The outflow of water is regulated artificially.
The local population uses the lake as a source of water, for fishing and for obtaining food and fodder plants. Many people are involved in harvesting and marketing of lotus rootstocks which are extensively eaten in the State. In recent years, tourism has caught up with the Manasbal Lake in a big way and as a consequence there are lots of pressure on the terrestrial ecosystem which is being exploited at many places.
The origin of the lake is still unresolved but there is no denying the fact that Manasbal is very ancient. The local people believe in the legend that the lake is bottomless. Over the years as a result of human pressure the lake has become eutrophic. The water body is virtually choked with submerged weeds particularly during summer which is the high tourist season. The deep water layers become anoxic with considerable accumulation of hydrogen sulphide (Q).
|Wular Lake, located in the Jammu and Kashmir region of northern India, is something of a mystery. The name Wular is believed to be a corruption of the Sanskrit word Ullola, meaning turbulent. Formed by tectonic activity, Wular Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia.Wular Lake may be regarded as the delta of the Jhelum in Kashmir.In its course from Kanabal to the Delta the fall of the river is 165feet in the 30 miles,and 55 feet in the next 24 miles.From the Baramullathe fall is very slight. In December ,when the river is at its lowest, the average breadth is 210 feet and its mean depth is 9 feet. To the ordinary observer it would seem evident that the river arose from the grand spring of deep blue water at Vernag which bubbles up underneath a steep scrap of rock clothedwith pines, but the Hindus maintain that a spring a little Vernag, known as Vethvatru, has the honour of being the source of the great Kashmir River .
Wular Lake plays a significant role in the hydrographic system of the Kashmir Valley by acting as huge absorption basin for annual floodwater. The lake and its surrounding extensive marshes have an important natural wildlife. The lake is surrounded by important wetlands which are continually being drained to provide small farm plots by local residents. The rivers Bohnar, Madamati and Erin from the mountain ranges and the rivers Vetasta (Jhelum) and the Ningal from the south bring hundreds of tons of silt into the lake every year. This rampant siltation and the human encroachments have devastating effects on the lake. . As farming pressures have grown, the lake has become increasingly silted. Records show that Wular Lake has lost half of its size in the last hundred years.