The Dal Lake is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northern-most State of India – Jammu and Kashmir.
It has a shoreline of around 15 km. It’s not just one water body, but several inter-linked ones. It has islands as well as ‘floating gardens’. These gardens are known as Rad in the local language. They are not attached to the lake bottom but float on the water. They are very fertile, and vegetables and fruits are cultivated on them.
Little boats called shikaras ply on the Lake. They can be described as water taxis. They are beautifully painted, and are used by both the local people and tourists.
The banks of the Dal Lake are lined by the famous Moghul Gardens. These parks, filled with beautiful plants and trees, were first laid out when the Moghul Emperors ruled the region in the 16th and 17th Centuries. ‘Shalimar’ and ‘Nishat’ are two of the most famous of these gardens.
Houseboats of various sizes are moored along the banks of the lake. Many have all the comforts of a good hotel. Tourists stay in these houseboats and also at the hotels on some of the islands.
The twinkling lights of the houseboats, the colourful shikaras, the flowers in the Rad and the Moghul Gardens and the backdrop of the mighty mountains are some of the things that make the Dal Lake stunningly beautiful. It is such a beautiful place that many famous movies have been shot there. Kashmir ki Kali, Junglee, Jab Jab Phool Khile and Kabhi Kabhi are some old Hindi movies which have scenes shot on or around the Dal Lake. More recently, several scenes of Rockstar, Fitoor, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Yeh Javani Hai Diwani were filmed in the area.