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Famous Lakes in Kashmir

Famous Lakes of Kashmir

Kashmir, often referred to as “Paradise on Earth,” is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, verdant valleys, and, most notably, its pristine lakes. Nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas, these lakes offer a serene escape and are a testament to the region’s natural beauty. This article explores some of the most famous lakes in Kashmir, each with its unique charm and story.

Dal Lake: The Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir

Dal Lake, often called the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir,” is arguably the most famous and iconic lake in the region. Spanning an area of around 22 square kilometers, this lake is a hub of activity and a cultural symbol. The mirror-like waters reflect the surrounding snow-capped peaks and vibrant houseboats, creating a mesmerizing sight.

Key Attractions:

Houseboats and Shikaras: The lake is dotted with intricately designed houseboats and traditional wooden shikaras (gondola-like boats), offering unique accommodation and leisurely rides.

Floating Gardens: Known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, these gardens are a marvel of aquatic agriculture, where locals grow vegetables and flowers on floating platforms.

Mughal Gardens: The shores of Dal Lake are adorned with several Mughal-era gardens such as Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, and Chashme Shahi, which enhance the lake’s beauty.

Nigeen Lake: Tranquil and Picturesque

Adjacent to Dal Lake lies the serene Nigeen Lake, often considered its quieter sibling. Enveloped by willow and poplar trees, Nigeen Lake offers a peaceful retreat for visitors seeking solitude away from the bustling city life.

Key Attractions:

Houseboats: Similar to Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake features luxurious houseboats that provide a tranquil lodging experience.

Water Sports: The calm waters are perfect for activities like kayaking, canoeing, and swimming.

Fishing: The lake is a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts, with abundant local fish species.

Wular Lake: The Largest Freshwater Lake in India

Wular Lake, one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes, is a vital part of Kashmir’s ecosystem. Covering approximately 130 square kilometers, it plays a crucial role in flood control and maintaining the region’s biodiversity.

Key Attractions:

Bird Watching: Wular Lake is a haven for birdwatchers, hosting a variety of migratory and resident bird species, including eagles, terns, and herons.

Zaina Lank: An island in the middle of the lake, featuring the remnants of an ancient fort built by King Zain-ul-Abidin, offers a glimpse into the region’s historical legacy.

Boating and Fishing: The expansive waters are ideal for boating and fishing, providing a livelihood for many local fishermen.

Manasbal Lake: The Supreme Gem of All Lakes

Located about 30 kilometers from Srinagar, Manasbal Lake is often referred to as the “Supreme Gem of all Kashmir Lakes.” Known for its incredible clarity, the lake is a hidden treasure surrounded by lush greenery and scenic mountains.

Key Attractions:

Lotus Gardens: During the summer, the lake’s surface is adorned with blooming lotus flowers, creating a spectacular sight.

Archaeological Sites: The nearby ruins of a Mughal fort and an ancient temple add historical significance to the area.

Bird Watching: The lake attracts numerous bird species, making it a great spot for ornithologists.

Pangong Tso: A Trans-Himalayan Marvel

While a significant portion of Pangong Tso lies in Ladakh, its western end reaches into Kashmir. This high-altitude lake, sitting at 4,350 meters above sea level, is renowned for its ever-changing hues, ranging from azure blue to emerald green.

Key Attractions:

Stunning Landscapes: The dramatic backdrop of barren mountains and the crystal-clear waters create a surreal landscape.

Film Location: Pangong Tso gained international fame after being featured in the Bollywood movie “3 Idiots,” attracting numerous tourists.

Tso Moriri: The Mountain Lake

Tso Moriri, also known as Lake Moriri, is another high-altitude lake shared by Kashmir and Ladakh. Located at an elevation of about 4,522 meters, it is surrounded by the Rupshu Valley and towering mountain peaks.

Key Attractions:

Wildlife Sanctuary: The lake is part of the Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve, home to rare and endangered species like the Tibetan gazelle and the black-necked crane.

Trekking: The area around the lake offers challenging trekking routes with breathtaking views of the Himalayas.

Gadsar Lake: The Lake of Flowers

Gadsar Lake, also known as the “Lake of Flowers,” is situated at an altitude of 3,600 meters. This alpine lake is surrounded by lush meadows and vibrant wildflowers, making it one of the most picturesque spots in Kashmir.

Key Attractions:

Trekker’s Paradise: Gadsar Lake is a popular stop on the Great Lakes Trek, offering spectacular views and serene surroundings.

Wildlife: The lake area is home to various species of wildlife, including the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard.

Tarsar Lake: The Twin Lakes

Tarsar Lake, along with its twin Marsar Lake, is located in the Aru Valley of the Anantnag district. Both lakes are separated by a mountain and are known for their crystal-clear waters and stunning beauty.

Key Attractions:

Camping: The area around Tarsar Lake is perfect for camping, offering scenic views and a peaceful environment.

Trekking: The Tarsar Marsar Trek is one of the most sought-after treks in Kashmir, providing trekkers with an unforgettable experience.

Vishansar Lake: The Lake of Vishnu

Vishansar Lake, named after Lord Vishnu, is another high-altitude alpine lake situated at 3,710 meters. It is part of the Great Lakes Trek and is surrounded by green meadows and snow-capped peaks.

Key Attractions:

Fishing: The lake is known for its population of trout, making it a popular spot for fishing.

Scenic Beauty: The reflections of the surrounding mountains on the lake’s surface create a breathtaking sight.

Krishansar Lake: The Twin of Vishansar

Krishansar Lake, located close to Vishansar Lake, is equally beautiful and adds to the charm of the Great Lakes Trek. This alpine lake is named after Lord Krishna and is set against a stunning backdrop of the Himalayas.

Key Attractions:

Trekking: As part of the Great Lakes Trek, Krishansar Lake offers trekkers an opportunity to experience the raw beauty of the Kashmir Himalayas.

Photography: The serene and picturesque landscape makes it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.

Gangbal Lake: The Harmukh Ganga

Gangbal Lake, often referred to as Harmukh Ganga, is located at the foothills of Mount Harmukh, one of Kashmir’s highest peaks. This alpine lake is considered sacred by the local Hindu population.

Key Attractions:

Pilgrimage: Gangbal Lake is an important pilgrimage site, attracting devotees who perform religious rituals and take a holy dip.

Trekking and Camping: The trek to Gangbal Lake is challenging yet rewarding, with opportunities for camping in pristine natural surroundings.


Kashmir’s lakes are more than just bodies of water; they are integral to the region’s culture, history, and natural beauty. Each lake, with its distinct features and allure, offers visitors a unique experience, whether it’s the bustling activity on Dal Lake, the tranquility of Nigeen Lake, the ecological significance of Wular Lake, the hidden charm of Manasbal Lake, the trans-Himalayan beauty of Pangong Tso, or the alpine splendor of Gadsar, Tarsar, Vishansar, Krishansar, and Gangbal Lakes. Exploring these lakes provides a profound connection with nature and a deeper appreciation for the splendor that is Kashmir.

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