The Dal Lake – There is a famous saying for Srinagar – ‘If there is heaven on Earth, then it is definitely in Srinagar.’
It has a charismatic aura as it is surrounded by the enormous and peaceful Himalayan ranges on all sides , which is the lifeline of Srinagar. Experience nature when its awakened by the beautiful sunrise or watch the amazing sunset. As the sun goes down, the sky turns saffron and becomes a complete visual treat for the spectators. The colour of the lake keeps changing throughout the day. The Summer Capital of the Northern most Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, Dal Lake is connected to other Lakes of the Kashmir Valley. Covering an area of 18 sq. kms, the Dal Lake is a huge one. It’s quiet and peaceful which is located away from the city noise. Houseboats and the Dal Lake are widely associated with Srinagar and are nicknamed “floating palaces”. All gardens in the lake periphery and houseboats anchored in the lake are approachable through shikaras. The boats are often navigated by two boatmen dressed in “Phiron” (traditional dress) and carry ‘Kangris’ or portable heaters on the boat.
The shikara ride is worth it. Especially, when shikara wala may just hum a kashmiri tune as it turns a little dark and one could feel completely spell bound by the beauty of the moonlight. The lake is amazing with its clear waters and breathtaking mountains in the background giving an exhilarating experience. The floating restaurant, floating market and vegetable gardens are a treat to watch. Shopping shikaras that glide along your shikara like costume jewellry, paperier mache artifacts, local vegetables like nadru, shalgam saag which are the most fresh I have ever seen- a must see place for anyone coming to Srinagar. I would recommend two shikara rides on the Dal, one at sunrise and the other at sunset to experience the aa moods of the Dal. Pleasant sounds of rolling waters, mist filled mornings, sunny afternoons and calm and serene evenings are some of the beautiful moments that can be enjoyed . The splash of the oar caressing through the water was absolute music to the ears. It is peaceful sound that you could listen to it forever. It’s a birder’s paradise as well. A land with natural landscapes, exotic mountain valleys, picturesque villages and comfortable houseboats, Kashmir has been rightly pronounced as the Paradise on Earth which made feel blessed.
Photos & Words by ©Jagjit Singh
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