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In today’s busy and hectic life, people often wait for that time of a year where they can plan vacation and have a good quality time with their family and friends. When it comes to planning, Kashmir is the first choice for a majority of travellers or let me say Kashmir is a dream holiday destination.
Kashmir is known as the paradise on earth. It is also known as the Indian Switzerland. Undoubtedly, Kashmir is best known for its scenic beauty, but to the surprise of all, it has a treasure of beautiful lakes spread across the length and breadth of its geography. Now, let me give you an insight of some of the important and famous lakes of Kashmir.
1. Alpather Lake
Alpather Lake is one of the major tourist attraction of Gulmarg. The lake is at a distance of 13km from Gulmarg and is situated at the base of Apharwat peak at an altitude of 4511 meter from sea level. It is also famous as a frozen lake as it remains completely frozen from November to June. The Tourists here come from far places to enjoy and explore its scenic beauty.
Alpather Lake is a one day trek starting from Gulmarg. The serenity and calmness of this place make tourist fall in love with it.
2. Tarsar lake
An almond-shaped oligotrophic lake, Tarsar is situated in Aru, Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is surrounded by the peaks of the Kolahoi Mountains at a distance of 20km to the east. The lake is apportioned by mountain with a minimum peak elevation of 4,000 meters. Tarsar lake is drained by an outlet stream which falls into the Lidder River at Lidderwat, 15 km to the east. At the time of winters, Tarsar Lake is covered by the blanket snow. The icebergs are even found during the summer as the lake is surrounded by a sheet of alpine flowers.
During summers colonies of beautiful migratory birds are found around the lake including bar-headed geese, lammergeyers, high-flying choughs, Himalayan golden eagles, cinnamon sparrows and black bulbuls.
The best time to enjoy the beauty of Tarsar Lake is from June to Mid-September. One can reach the lake through Srinagar, via 102 km motorable road which leads through Anantnag and Pahalgam to the Aru trekking camp. The alpine meadow of Lidderwat lies at the halfway point of the two-day trek to the lake and happens to be mostly the basecamp for most of the trekkers. One could visit the lake and come back to his basecamp at Lidderwat on the same day.
3. Gangabal Lake
Gangabal Lake is situated at the base of Haramukh in Ganderbal district, north of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. It is an alpine high altitude oligotrophic lake, it serves home to many species of fish, including the brown trout. The lake is spread at a length of 2500 meters and a width of 1 km. It is fed by precipitation, glaciers and springs. The lake water outflows to a nearby Nundkol Lake and then via Wangath Nallah Sindh River.
The Gangbal Lake is at a distance of 45 kilometres from Srinagar by road via Ganderbal up to Naranag and then a trek of 13 kilometres up slopes leads to the lake, which can be covered by a horse ride or by foot. Another trek (25 kilometres long) leads to the lake site from Sonamarg via the Vishnasar lake crossing three mountain passes Nichnai pass, Gadsar pass and Zajibal pass of an average elevation of 4100 meters. One can also reach the lake through Bandipur via Arin.
The trek to the lake Gangabal takes place in an alpine environment, (cut crossing) with meadows, the view to the trek is relaxing to the mind and soul.
4. Gadsar Lake
The beautiful Gadsar Lake located in the Himalayan Ranges at an altitude of 3600 m above sea level which is considered to be one of the highest altitude lakes in the Kashmir region. Gadsar Lake is situated at a distance of 28 km from Sonamarg among the snow-capped mountains. This lake lies on the famous trekking route that connects many high altitude lakes in this area. The pristine lake wears a splendid look with its waters changing colours as per the weather conditions. During a clear day, it is dark blue and when clouds overcast, it turns into deep green. Witnessing sunrise and sunset here is the most mesmerizing experience
Gadsar Lake in Kashmiri language stands for the ‘the lake of fishes’. As such, this lake is a must-visit for anglers and fishing enthusiasts for the famous brown trout fish that abounds in its crystal clear waters and can be easily baited. The Lake stretches up to 0.85 kilometre’s with a width of 0.76 km and remains frozen from November to April. Even the floating icebergs are seen in summer as well when the temperature around the lake is not that freezing. During summers, the entire area surrounding the lake is blossomed with a wide range of wildflowers, giving its landscape a stunning look. It is thus called the ‘valley of flowers as well. There is plenty of space for pitching tents and one can enjoy its serene proximity for days together without any disturbance or interference
There are two tracks leading to this pristine lake. One is from Naranag which is a 28 km alpine track and another is 41 km northwest from Shitkadi Sonamarg via Vishansar and Krishansar lakes that leads to the Gadsar Lake. During the trek, one has to cross two mountain passes of Nichnai and Gadsar of an altitude, more than 4100 meters above sea level.
The best time relish the beauty of this lake is from the month of June to September when the snow is no more on the track, just topping the mountain summits and shadowy patches that only add to the charm of the place. However, while setting foot on this adventurous journey, keep warm clothes and rainproof jackets with you as the weather can change mood anytime.
5. Dal Lake
Dal Lake is the heartthrob of Kashmir. It is situated in heart of the city surrounded by beautiful gardens and lush green mountains. It is in the foothills of the panoramic Shankracharya temple.
The tourists from all around the world come here to enjoy the beauty of the lake. Shikara and houseboat is the major attraction. Houseboats are esthetically decorated with local wood carving work and some having no less than a five-star ambience.
It has crystal clear water with a dense spread of beautiful water lilies and lotus which is a unique view and treat to the eyes. The floating market displays ethnic articles and all tourist get fascinated to shop.
6. Kausar Nag
Embraced by the Pir Pijal range in the Kulgam district of Jammu & Kashmir and lie a high altitude Kausar Nag. It is 3 km long and half a mile wide. The beautiful lake is encircled by snow-covered mountains peaks and the crystal blue colour of water enhances the beauty of the lake. The Nag remains frozen from November to June.
Kausar Nag not only has Enthralling scenery but also has the hidden treasures of some incredible medicinal herbs as well including Koth, dhoop, pamsalan. The lake can be reached in two ways, one from Aharbal and another from Nadibal but this route is a little longer. The trek to Kausar nag is a 23 kms walk from Aharbal. The ideal time relish beauty of the lake is from May To October hence I am sure so must have added a visit to this pristine lake in your bucket list.
7. Nigeen Lake
Do you know what Nigeen means in Kashmiri? Jewel or extremely beautiful. Justifying its name the beautiful lake surrounded by the lush green mountains of Zabarvan with a backdrop of beautiful Sharkracharya temple and Hari Parbat. Harzratbal Darghha on the Banks of Nigeen Lake makes the experience more divine.
Moreover, visitors can make the foremost of their visit to the Nigeen Lake by getting a charge out of a Shikara ride in the midst of quiet and sheer nature
Situated on the west of Dal Lake, Nigeen is although a separate entity but considered as a fragment of Dal Lake. The beautiful lake has much more in its treasure box for the tourists. Lodging as, houseboat accommodation, Nigeen Lake offers a unique travel experience to cherish for a lifetime. Also, tourists can make the most of their visit to Nigeen Lake by enjoying a Shikara ride amidst serene and sheer nature. Blossoming of Lotus and water lilies is a treat to the eyes in the summer season.
8. Nilnag Lake
Situated in the lap of a thick green forest of Yusmarg lies an alluring Nilnag a high-altitude lake. The crystal clear blue coloured water and its panoramic view is surely going to hypnotize you
For Adventure lovers, Nilnag is a perfect go place, delivering incredible trekking experience. The trek goes through dense pine forest through which run many streams of water. It is a beautiful yet steep uphill trek to Nilnag Lake that does make for some unforgettable lifetime memories.
I am sure after reading about these beautiful lakes of Kashmir you must be feeling excited to explore the beauty of the lakes