The word ‘Kashmir’ brings to mind a couple of things – snow-capped mountains, ‘Paradise on Earth’, and lakes. Also known for its amazing monasteries, gentle people and splendid glaciers, the lakes in Kashmir give an unnatural aura to the place. Without further ado, let us dive into some of the world-famous lakes in Jammu and Kashmir and the adventurous activities you will come across during your trip here.
Did You Know?
In 2019 Jammu and Kashmir was officially dissolved from it’s statehood status in India and was reorganized as two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir in the west and Ladakh in the east.
- 10 Best Lakes In Kashmir
- Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
- Other Honorable Mentions
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Lakes In Kashmir
- Dal Lake
- Wular Lake
- Gadsar Lake
- Nagin Lake
- Mansabal Lake
- Tso Kar Lake
- Pangong Lake
- Tso Moriri Lake
- Gangabal Lake
- Surinsar & Mansar Lake
1. Dal Lake
One of the most famous lakes in Srinagar and the second largest in the state, the Dal Lake Kashmir is referred to as Srinagar’s Jewel. Being over 15 km, the water beautifully reflects the snowy Pir Panjal mountains and the wooden houseboats stacked together.
Thins To Do
- Visit the floating flowers and vegetable market.
- Visit the floating Gardens.
- Ride the Shikaras ferrying people around the lake.
- Stay in one of the houseboats.
- The adventurous types can enjoy kayaking, canoeing and a lot of other water-based activities.
Did You Know
The fishing industry on Dal is the second largest industry in the region and is central to many of the people’s livelihoods who reside on the lake’s periphery.
Also Read: Heaven on Earth: Our tour package to Kashmir
2. Wular Lake
Wular Lake is also one of the most famous lakes in Srinagar, which plays an essential role in the hydrographic system of the valley. The largest freshwater lake in Asia, Wular Lake supports important natural wildlife and provides people with fish and other aquatic vegetation. The lake draws excess floodwater from the Jhelum river and acts as a natural reservoir.
Wular Lake is just 2 hours away from Srinagar.
Things To Do
- Visit the Nal Sarovar Bird sanctuary.
- Don’t miss the water sports like trout fishing, rafting, skiing and boating.
- Visit King Zain-ul-Abidin’s island in the midst of the lake.
Also Read: 10 Offbeat Historical Places in India
3. Gadsar Lake
Nature lovers can reach one of the highest and famous lakes in Kashmir though the alpine trek. Also dubbed the ‘Valley of Flowers, the place is perfect for camping and one of the finest spots for fishing. Though this lake freezes during winter, you can see the icebergs floating during the summer season.
Things To Do
- Go for Trout fishing.
- Trekking and Camping amidst the valley of flowers should not be missed.
- Take photos for a perfect profile picture.
4. Nagin Lake
Lying on the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain, the Nagin lake is also one of the famous lakes in Jammu and Kashmir known for its beauty. The Shankaracharya Hill lies on the south while Hari Parbat lies on its west which offers some stunning scenic views to the tourists. Though it is similar to the Dal Lake Kashmir, the Nagin lake is more peaceful and apt for people who would love to spend their time amidst nature.
Also Read: Beat The Heat: Top 10 Hill Stations in India
Things To Do
- Stay on the houseboats.
- Enjoy the Shikara rides.
- Sailing, water skiing and motor rides are available for the adventure seekers.
- Perfect place to write that book you have been planning to write but never got the time.
Separated from Dal Lake by a causeway, it can be crossed by foot or two-wheeler to reach Nagin Lake.
5. Mansabal Lake
Lying in the Jhelum Valley near Srinagar, Mansabal Lake is called as ‘Bird’s Paradise’. One of the deepest and famous lakes in Kashmir, it is a must-visit for people who love nature and would love to club it with a bit of history. It is on the way to Wular Lake and around 30 km from Srinagar. The best time to visit would be from June to August.
Things To Do
- The Mughal Garden ‘Jharokha’ built by Nur Jahan is a must-visit.
- Visit the Darogabagh, ruins of a 17th-century fort.
- Perfect for bird watching and enjoying the scenic beauty.
- Other waters sports like skiing, fishing etc. are also available.
- Mulberry orchards, Apple orchards and Chinar tree groves are also fun places to see.
- Visit the ancient Mansbal Temple which goes back to around 800 A.D.
The lotus flowers which bloom in the Manasbal Lake also serves as a livelihood for the local people.
6. Tso Kar Lake
Situated in the Ladakh region, this is one of the important high altitude lakes in Kashmir and the Ladakh region. Also called Salty Lake or White Lake because of the salt dunes deposited all over the shore. The place houses several nomads and livestock like sheep, yak and cattle grazing near the lake. It is surrounded by hot water springs which have medicinal properties and is known for the resident herd of Tibetan Wild Ass, including a lot of migratory birds
Things To Do
- Take a dip in hot water springs to relieve all your stress.
- Go for camping.
- You can go for bird watching and animal spotting.
7. Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake is also one of the high altitude lakes in Kashmir situated at over 14,000 feet. It is a blue brackish lake sharing a border with China, with almost 60 percent located inside Chinese territory. This is probably the first trans-boundary lakes in South Asia and one of the most stunning natural brackish lakes as well. Places like Thiksey and Changla Pass lies en route to this lake, which is famous for its Buddhist monasteries.
Suggested Read: 7 Dazzling Lakes in Sikkim
A unique feature of Pangong Lake is the varying shades of green, purple, blue and violet in its water. Its saline nature does not support any aquatic life, but migratory birds like Seagulls and Brahmini Ducks can be spotted.
Best time to visit is from May to September.
Things To Do
- Camping at night and stargazing is fun.
- Photography and swimming in the lake.
- Bird watching.
8. Tso Moriri Lake
Situated in the midst of barren brown hills and snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, the Tso Moriri is one of the highest lakes in Kashmir and the world. It lies in the Changthan area at over 15,000 feet in the Rupshu valley. Sunset at Tso Moriri is a highlight of the place where you can see the changing colours of the water.
Things To Do
- Camping and spending the night at the lake is a must.
- A visit to the monastery nearby.
You will come across this lake while travelling from Leh to Manali.
Also Read: The Most Mesmerising Lakes In Udaipur
9. Gangabal Lake
Also known as Haramukh Ganga, this is a lake lying at the foothills of the Haramukh mountain in Ganderbal district. One of the lakes in Kashmir where you can find different types of fishes in this alpine high altitude lake, which is at over 3500 feet. Once you reach Gangerbal and Narang, a 15 km trek via Vishansar and Krishnasar Lake will get you to Gangabal lake.
Best time to visit is from July to September.
Things To Do
- Fishing for the brown trout and rainbow breeds.
10. Surinsar & Mansar Lake
Surinsar is one of the lakes in Jammu and Kashmir known for its beauty and mythological significance. The wooden mountain ranges around the lake makes it an excellent spot for a picnic. Mansar Lake, which is around 30 km from Surinsar, are considered as twin lakes. According to mythology, it is said Arjun from Mahabharat shot an arrow into Mansar causing a spring to gush out, which is now known as Surinsar Lake.
Things To Do
- Take a trip to the Surinsar Mansar Wildlife sanctuary.
- Water-based lotus garden is a nice place to visit.
- Enjoy the natural beauty around the lake.
- The Food and Crafts festival conducted yearly at Mansar Lake is the main attraction.
- A visit to some of the ancient temples on the lakeside is a must
Did You Know?
The Pir Panjal railway tunnel or the Banihal railway tunnel is India’s longest and Asia’s fourth longest railway tunnel with a length of 11,215 km or 7 miles and 8.4 m wide and 7.39 m tall.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is considered as one of the most beautiful treks in the country. It covers more than seven lakes and five different valleys. You get to see a new alpine lake every day with beautiful snow patches that slide into the lake including milky icebergs floating in the water.
Another beautiful part of the trek is the meadows of Kashmir with a new look each day. On the third day of the trek, you get to see wildflowers in the meadows just below the Gadsar pass.
The Alpine Lakes
Nestled against a humongous glacier that feeds the lake, the pristine Gadsar is surrounded by meadows full of wildflowers. The deep blue-green waters and the colours of the valley go hand in hand.
View from Gadsar Pass
The twin lakes of Vishansar and Kishansar can be seen when you look back on your trail.
They have a manicured look and looks like a perfect setting for your wallpaper. The Satsar lake adds to the look of greenery and the mountains.
Gangabal to treeline Walk
When you descend from the Gangabal campsite towards the treelines, you will witness some amazing beauty of nature. With Harmukh peak in the background and the little yellow flowers adds to the setting beautifully.
The trek duration is around 7 to 9 days and is often considered as moderate in regards to the trekking challenges. The elevation is around 13000 feet and approximately 63 km in distance. It is a fulfilling trek, and you get to learn a lot about your physical, mental and emotional strength.
Other Honorable Mentions
- Vishansar Lake
- Nundkol Lake
- Tarsar lake
- Marsar Lake
- Anchar Lake
- Kausar Nag
- Tulian Lake
- Khusal Sar
- Chitta Katha Lake
- Shounter Lake
- Banjosa Lake
- Saral Lake
- Ratti Gali Lake
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many lakes are in Kashmir?
Jammu and Kashmir has 27 lakes in total.
2. Which is the most famous lake in Kashmir?
The most famous lake in Kashmir is Dal Lake, situated in Srinagar. It is known for its houseboats, water-based activities and the stunning scenic beauty.
3. Is Dal Lake a freshwater lake?
Yes, Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful freshwater lakes in India.
4. Which is the natural lake in Jammu and Kashmir?
Some of the most famous Natural lakes in Jammu and Kashmir are the Dal Lake, Nagin Lake, Wular Lake and Manasbal Lake.
5. What are the major rivers flowing through Jammu and Kasmir?
The major rivers flowing through Jammu and Kashmir are Jhelum, Indus, Tawi, Ravi and Chenab.
6. What are the best things for shopping in Kashmir?
Some of the best things to look out for while shopping in Kashmir are:
- Kashmiri Carpets
- Traditional Kashmiri dress, Pheran
- Unique copper kettles called Samovar
- Handcrafted walnut furniture
- Traditional Jewelry
- Kashmiri Tea
- Paper mache
7. What is the best time to visit Kashmir?
The best time to visit Kashmir is between the months of March to October. The blossoms of spring and the cool weather of summer creates the perfect season to visit Kashmir during this time.
8. What are some of the best tourist destinations to visit in Kashmir?
Some of the best places to visit in Kashmir are:
9. Is Kashmir worth visiting?
Kashmir is definitely worth visiting. It should be at the top of your list of places to visit. Kashmir is one of the best places to enjoy the finest views of nature.