The lakes are at the centre of life for the inhabitants of Jammu & Kashmir, and can be credited for the emergence of a unique culture in the state where the trip is incomplete for a traveller without spending some time at these lakes. The tranquil and snowy lakes have been a major attraction, surrounded and protected by the Himalayan mountains on all sides. Here are the top 5 ones you must visit:
Often referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Kashmir’, Dal Lake is unarguably the most famous and visited lakes in the state. Lined with Mughal-era gardens, the lake is home to lotus, water lilies and water chestnuts. However, the most memorable thing to do here is take a ride on one of the houseboats. You can also opt for a shikara ride and indulge in water activities such as kayaking and canoeing among other things. Being surrounded by mountains on all sides, the lake is nothing short of paradise on earth, especially when its frozen in winter.
If you’re looking for a little more calm and peace – you’ll find it at Nigeen Lake located at the foothills of the mountain Zabarwan. While it’s flanked by a number of willow and poplar trees, Shankaracharya Hill on the south and Hari Parbat on the west afford a charming view of the surroundings. A quiet shikara ride on this lake is among the most surreal experiences ever.
Wular Lake is considered to be one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. Located approximately 40km from Srinagar in the district of Bandipora, it offers a marvellous view of the majestic hills on one side and steep valley on the other. If you’re a birder, this is where you should head to spot a large variety of migratory birds such as the little egret, shoveler, and short toed eagle.
Located in an isolated area, about 160km from Leh, this gorgeous blue brackish lake is 5-6km wide and 144km long; sharing international boundary with China. The best time to visit here is between May to September; though a special permit is required. Pangong Tso boasts of being the world’s highest saline lake at a height of about 4,250m above sea level. It looks like a dream when its completely frozen in the winter months.
Offering a sweeping view of Ladakh in the north, Tibet in the east and Zanskar in the west, Tso Moriri is best visited in summer. Changthan plateau, with its snow peaks, is the water source of the lake. You must also visit the stunning 400-year-old Korzok Monastery, situated on the western bank of this lake.