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Dal Lake
Dal Lake and the shikaras
Location Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Coordinates 34°07′N 74°52′E / 34.117°N 74.867°E / 34.117; 74.867Coordinates: 34°07′N 74°52′E / 34.117°N 74.867°E / 34.117; 74.867
Lake type Warm monomictic
Primary inflows Inflow Channel Telbal from Jhelum River -291.9 MCM
Primary outflows Regulated, two channels (Dal Gate and Nalla Amir)- 275.6 MCM
Catchment area 316 square kilometres (122 sq mi)
Basin countries India
Max. length 7.44 km (4.62 mi)
Max. width 3.5 km (2.2 mi)
Surface area 18–22 square kilometres (6.9–8.5 sq mi)
Average depth 1.42 metres (4.7 ft)
Max. depth 6 m (20 ft)
Water volume 983 MCM
Residence time 22.16 days
Shore length1 15.5 km (9.6 mi)
Surface elevation 1,583 m (5,190 ft)
Frozen During severe winter
Islands Two (Sona Lank and Rupa Lank (or Char Chinari)
Settlements Hazratbal, Srinagar
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
A view of Sunset on Dal Lake, Jammu & Kashmir

The Dal Lake, in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northernmost Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is considered as the symbol of Kashmir. It represents an enchanting and unique ecosystem. The lake, the second largest in the state, is an urban lake that is integral to Kashmir tourism and recreation, though it sustains commercial operations of fisheries and water plant harvesting.[1][2][3]

The shore line of the lake, about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. A leisurely and pleasurable way of looking at the shore line gardens (the most famous of these gardens are the Mughal gardens of Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir) and houseboats, would be by cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12.2 °F) freezing the lake.[3][4]

The lake is a natural wetland, covers 21.1 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), with the floating gardens or otherwise 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi). Floating gardens known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, which flower with lotus blooms, during July and August, provide delightful setting to the lake. It is divided by causeways into four basins, called Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin; though Nagin is also considered as an independent lake. Lokut-dal and Bod-dal have an island each in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively.[4][5]

The lake’s uniqueness lies in the fact that people live on the lake in settlements and houseboats and also cultivate floating gardens within it.[6]

At present, the Dal Lake with the famous Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh on its periphery, known as the "jewel of the Kashmir valley" or "Srinagar's Jewel" is under intensive restoration measures to fully address the serious eutrophication process that has set in the lake. Massive investments of about US $275 million (Rs 1100 crores) is being made by the Government of India to redeem lake's past glory.[3][4][5][7][8]

Contents

History

The Mughal rulers of India made Srinagar as their summer resort, on the banks of the Dal Lake. They beautified the precincts of the lake with many renowned Mughul type gardens and pavilions as pleasure resorts to enjoy the salubrious cool climate. The British did not lag behind. During the British Raj, Srinagar was their summer capital. Even though the Dogra Maharaja of Kashmir invited the British to the valley, he did not allow them to own land and build houses on land in the valley. The British circumvented this rule by commissioning houseboats to be built with lavish settings on the Dal Lake to enjoy the decent climate of the Kashmir valley during summer months (away from the scorching heat of the north India) on the lake, amidst the back drop of the majestic snow covered Himalayan ranges. The houseboats, which they got built, are acclaimed as “each one a little piece of England afloat on Dal Lake.” Traditionally, for centuries, Kashmiri Hanji people have built, owned and maintained these houseboats. They live on the lake, cultivate floating gardens and market products and thus enjoy a unique life style in the Kashmir valley. The houseboats have thus become an integral part of the celebrated beauty of the Dal Lake. These boats are still the best option of enjoyable accommodation in Srinagar. Following the Mughal and British rule, the place became a haven for tourists and earned the epithet “Jewel in the tourist crown”.[9] [10][11]

Topography

The lake is in the foothill formations of the catchment of the Zabarwan mountain valley, a subsidiary of the Himalayan range, which surrounds it on three sides. It lies to the east and north of Srinagar city and is integral to the city. The catchment area drained by the basin is 316 square kilometres (122 sq mi). The surface area of the lake is 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) normally, but with floating gardens of lotus blooms, it is 21.2 square kilometres (8.2 sq mi) (an estimated figure of 22–24 square kilometres (8.5–9.3 sq mi) is also mentioned).[2][3][12]

The main basin draining the lake is a complex of five interconnected (with causeways) basins namely, the Nehru Park basin, the Nishat basin, the Hazratbal basin, the Nagin basin and the Barari Nambad basin. Navigational channels provide the transportation links to all the five basins.[2][3][12]

The lake is encircled by roads all along the periphery and the shore length is 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi). This has resulted in irreversible changes along the shore line due to intense urban expansion for building activities. Two islands built in the basin have further accentuated the restrictions in the flow conditions of the lake. As a result, marshy lands emerged on the peripheral zones. Road building activities have been an additional factor of encroachment; the marshy lands mentioned are the foothill areas of Shankaracharya and Zaharbwan hills. These marshy lands have since been reclaimed and converted into large residential complexes. The length of the lake is 7.44 kilometres (4.62 mi) with a width of 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi).[2][3][13]

The average elevation of the lake is 1,583 metres (5,190 ft). The depth of water varies from 6 metres (20 ft) at its deepest in Nagin lake to 2.5 metres (8.2 ft), the shallowest at Gagribal. The depth ratio between the maximum and minimum depths varies with the season between 0.29 and 0.25, which is interpreted as flat bed slope.[2][3][13]

Geology

Two versions for the lake formation have been theorised. One version is that it is a post-glacial lake remnant, which has undergone drastic changes in size over the years. The other theory is that it is of fluvial origin from an old flood spill channel or ox-bows of the Jhelum River.[6][13]

The dendritic drainage pattern of the catchment signifies poorly porous and poorly permeable nature of rocks. Lithologically, a variety of rock types have been discerned namely, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. The Dachigam Telbal Nallh system is conjectured to follow two major lineaments. Discontinuity surfaces seen in the terrain are attributed to the angular and parallel drainage pattern. The water table cuts the hill slopes, which is evidenced by the occurrence of numerous springs in the valley. Seismic activity in the valley is recorded under Zone V of the Seismic Zoning Map of India, which is considered the most severe zone where frequent damaging earthquakes of intensity IX could be expected. In the year 2005, Kashmir valley experienced one of the severe earthquakes measured at 7.6 on the Richter's scale, which resulted in deaths, large number of homeless, and in property damage.[8][14]

Hydrology

The lake, categorised as shallow and an open-drainage, is fed by Dachigam-Telbal Nallah (with perennial flow), Dara Nallah (‘Nallah’ means “stream”) and many other small streams. Based on its thermal behaviour, the lake has been type cast as ‘warm monomictic’ under the sub-tropical lake category. Spring sources are also mentioned as contributors to the flow though no specific data is available to quantify its contribution. The complex land use pattern of the valley is reflected in the urbanised Srinagar in its north, rice fields, orchards and gardens in the lower slopes, and barren hills beyond steep sloping hills. Flat topography also accentuates the drainage conditions. It receives an average annual rainfall of 655 millimetres (25.8 in) in the catchment that occurs during summer and also in the winter season. During the summer, snow melt from the higher ranges of the catchment results in large inflows into the lake.[2][3][15]

The flow assessments have been made by water balance studies with approximation of the discharge contributed by the springs in the lake bed. The maximum flood discharge of Telbal Nallah, a crucial parameter for hydraulic design, has been assessed as 141.5 m3/s for a one in hundred return period; the 1973 observed flood in Telbal Nallah has been estimated as 113 m3/s.[16] The average annual flow, as per actual discharge measurements, has been estimated as 291.9 million cubic metres (MCM) with Telbal Nalah accounting for 80% contribution and the balance 20% is contributed by other sources. There are two outlets from the lake namely, Dalgate and Amir Khan Nallah (that connects Nagin and Anchar lakes); Dal gate is controlled by a weir and lock system. The outflow from these two outlets has been estimated as 275.6 MCM. Further, the silt load has been estimated at 80,000 tonnes per year with 70% contribution from the Telabal nallah, out of which the amount that settles in the lake is assessed to be 36,300 tonnes.[15]

Climate

The lake precincts experience temperatures in the range of 11–1 °C (52–34 °F) during winter and 12–30 °C (54–86 °F) during the summer season. The lake freezes when temperatures drop to about −11 °C (12.2 °F)during severe winter.[3]

Water quality issues

Some of the water quality parameters reported in 1983–84, which show a raising trend vis-à-vis those recorded during 1965–66, relate to the following:[2]

  • The lake is warm monomictic (mixing type)
  • pH value varied from a maximum of 8.8 to a minimum of 7.2 on the surface in year over the 12 months period
  • Dissolved oxygen [mg l-1] value varied from a maximum of 12.3 to a minimum of 1.4 on the surface in a year over the 12 months period
  • Maximum nitrogen concentration (NH4-N [micro l-1] of 1315 on the surface and 22 at the bottom of the lake have been reported.
  • Phosphorous concentration expressed in Total-P [micro l-1] varied from a high of 577 to a low of 35 during a 12 months period of the year
  • The lake water temperature varied from a minimum of 3 °C (37 °F)in January to 26 °C (79 °F) in June at the surface
  • Transparency, expressed as depth in metres, varied from a maximum of 1.95 metres (6.4 ft) in July to a minimum of 0.53 metres (1.7 ft) in March, over a 12 months period.

Studies carried out over the years also indicate that point sources of pollution such as the Telbal, Botkal, and sewage drains bring in substantial amount of nitrogen and phosphorus. Non- point sources, such as seepage and diffused runoff, also add to this pollution. Quantitatively, 15 drains and few other sources release total phosphorus of 156.62 tonnes (56.36 tonnes by drains alone), inorganic nitrogen [(NO3–N) and NH3–N)] of 241.18 tonnes and 77.609 tonnes into the lake for a discharge of 11.701 MCM /year. Non-point sources further add 4.5 tonnes of total phosphates and 18.14 tonnes of nitrogen (NO3–N and NH4–N).[17] Based on the values mentioned above, it has been inferred that the water quality of the lake has deteriorated.

Status of lake

Panoramic view of the Dal Lake

The water quality parameters also fully establish the fact that the lake is in state of intense distress of eutriphication needing immediate remedial measures. The reasons identified for the present condition of the lake are listed below.[2][6]

  • The size of the lake has shrunk from its original area of 22 square kilometres (8.5 sq mi) to the present area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) on account of encroachments by hamlets and floating gardens
  • Alarming rate of sediment deposition due to catchment area degradation.
  • Lake’s water quality has deteriorated due to intense pollution caused by the untreated sewage and solid waste that is led into the lake from the peripheral areas and from the settlements and houseboats, and agriculture return flow from catchment.
  • Encroachments of water channels and consequent clogging resulted in reduced circulation
  • Inflow into the lake has reduced
  • Extensive weed growth and consequent change in the bio-diversity in the lake

on account of Nutrient enrichment of the lake water and the sediment deposit

  • Insufficient database
  • Inadequate institutional commitment

Identifying the above major issues as causes for the deterioration of the lake, a multidisciplinary team of experts prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) with a well thought out management plan titled “Conservation and Management of Dal Lake”, with the objective of achieving sustainability, environment compatibility, cost effectiveness, improvement of ecology with minimum interventions and displacement and serving the diverse interest groups. This plan is now under implementation with the financial assistance of the Government of India. Details of these are elaborated.[2][6]

Public interest litigations

The distress situation of the lake’s survival attracted wide publicity and attention of the Supreme Court of India. Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have been filed drawing attention of the court to the serious threat posed to the lake by sewage, wastes and effluents. The PILs have sought injunctions of the court for setting up of an integrated ring sewage system encircling the Lake; release of funds by the Government of India to undertake measures to check pollution and to set up a High Powered Committee to monitor proper utilization of the allotted funds, which would give a feedback of the status from time to time, directly to the Supreme Court. The PIL filed in 2001 has resulted in a number of directives from the court to the funding and implementing agencies and the case is continuing. Consequently, under the National Lake Conservation Plan of the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India, funds to the extent Rs 298.76 crore were sanctioned in September 2005 for the conservation of the lake.[7]

Restoration works

The restoration and rehabilitation measures envisaged under the “Conservation and Management of Dal Lake” are under various stages of implementation with the funds allocated by the Government of India for the purpose. Some of the measures for rehabilitating the lake to bring it to its original eutrophication free status involves the measures listed below.[2]

  • Construction of siltation tanks
  • Mechanical deweeding
  • Regrouping of houseboats
  • Deepening of outflow channel
  • Removal of bunds and barricades including some floating gardens

In addition, a moratorium has been imposed on new construction works close to the lakefront. Also, addition of house boats has been banned. Resettlement plans for shifting of population from the lakefront have also been evolved.[2]

The long-term development plans cover reafforestation of catchment area to reduce erosion movement and movement of silt, control of grazing. Construction of bunds and pedestrian mall to stop further encroachment into the lake area and sewage treatment have been suggested.[2]

Recent reports indicate that 40% of the measures have been implemented.[5]

Flora

Left: Dal Lake lily pads. Right: Nelumbo nucifera widely grown in the floating gardens of Dal Lake

The flora in the lake ecosystem nourishes copious growth of emerged macrophytes, submerged macrophytes, floating macrophytes and phytoplankton. Some detailed recorded information is given below.[2][18][19]

Macrophyte flora recorded in the lake’s aquatic and marshland environment consists of 117 species. These belong to 69 genera and 42 families. Further categorization has been done into six classes namely, Lamnatea, Utricularia, Stratiotetea, Charetea, Potamatea and Pgragmitetea. Prolific growth of Ceratophyllum demersum the eutrpohic zones has been reported; in this, Myriophyllum spicatum and Potemogetton lucens are cited as the dominant community. Other macrophytes discerned in different zones of the lake are Typho angustata, Phragmites australis, Myriophyllum, Sparganium evectum and Myriophyllum verticillatum. Annually, all of these contribute to the production of macrophites.

The rooted variety of the floating leaf type consists of Neelambium nucifera, Nymphaea alba, N.Tertagonia, N.Candida, Nymphoides peltatum, Salvinia natans, Hydrocharis dubia, Nymphaea sp. and Potamogeton natans, all of which occupy an area 29.2% of the lake. Nelumbo nucifera or the lotus flowers, when they bloom in July and August, the lake provides an enchanting sight.

The phytoplanktons comprise Navicula radiosa, Nitzschia accicularis, Fragilaria crotonensis, Diatoma elongatum, Scenedesmus bijuga, Pediastrum duplex, Tetraedron minimum, Microcystis aeruginosa and Merismopedia elegans.

Some key observations recorded of changes in lake’s biota point to a reduction in the number of Chara species since 1934, increase in the area covered by Salvinia since 1937 and tendency to develop monospecific communities of submerged macrophytes such as Ceratophyllum and Myriophyllum.

Woody vegetation
Left: Floating gardens in Dal Lake. Right: Char Chinar (Four Chinar Trees) seen on an island in Dal Lake

Woody vegetation in the catchment of the lake consists of Melia, Ailanthus, Robinia, Daphne, Celtis, Rose, Ephedra, Pinus roxburghii, Pinus halepensis, Pinus gerardiana, Cupressus torulosa and Cupressus arizonica. The valley also has rich cultivation of crops such as paddy, wheat and fodder.[2]

Floating gardens

Floating gardens called the 'Rad' in Kashmiri language are a special feature of the lake. They basically constitute matted vegetation and earth, but floating. These are detached from the bottom of the lake and drawn to a suitable place (generally to the north west of the houseboats' location) and anchored. Considering its rich nutrient properties, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Melons are grown with remarkable results. Since these are moored close to the road on the eastern periphery of the lake, the uniqueness of this lake could be easily witnessed.[19]

Fauna

The faunal distribution consists of Zooplanktons, Benthos and Fish. Some recorded details are given below.[2]

Zooplankton

Keratella cochlearis, K. serrulata, Polyactis vulgaris, Brachionus plicatilis, Monostyla bulla, Alona monocantha, Cyclops ladakanus and Mesocyclops leukarti

Benthos

Chironomus sp. and Tubifex sp.

Fish

Cyprinus carpio specularis (economically important), C. carpio communis, Schizothorax niger, S. esocinus, S. curviformis and Crossochelius latius. It is also reported that Cyprinus introduced during early sixties is dominant with the indigenous species Schizothorax showing a declining trend.[2]

Uses

Lake is popular as a visitor attraction and a summer resort. Its other uses are fisheries and harvesting of food and fodder plants.[2] Weeds from the lake are extracted and converted into compost for the gardens. It also serves as a flood lung of the Jhelum river.[19]

Swimming, boating, snow skiing (particularly when the lake is frozen during severe winter), canoeing are some of the popular water sports activities seen on the lake.

Attractions around the lake

The periphery of the lake is studded with several unique attractions developed over centuries, which has given the Dal Lake and the city of Srinagar glory and fame. Apart from the Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh, some of the other important places to visit are the Shankaracharya temple, the Hari Parbat, the Nagin Lake, the Chashme Shahi, the Hazratbal Shrine, the famous Kashmir houseboat and the shikara (boat) called the Gandola of Kashmir, are elaborated.

Nagin Lake
Left: Nagin Lake. Right: Chasme Shahi under renovation

Nagin lake though considered to be a separate lake but it is an offshoot of the Dal Lake linked through a causeway. This causeway permits only bickers and walkers to enter the lake precincts. The caseway also carries the water supply pipeline to the Srinagar city, which is on its eastern direction. The lake is bounded by the Shankaracharya hill (Takht-e-Suleiman) on the south and Hari Parbat on the west and is located at the foot of the Zabarwan hills. Willow and poplar trees line the edges of the Lake.[19][20]

Chashme Shahi

Chashme Shahi means "Royal Spring" is the smallest of all the Mughal gardens in Srinagar. It measures 108 metres (350 ft)x38 metres (120 ft). Its source is located above the Nehru Memorial Park. It is a fresh water spring known for its medicinal properties. Ali Mardan Khan built the garden in 1632. It has three terraces, an aqueduct, waterfalls and fountains. The spring water is the source of supply to the fountains. From the fountains, water flows along the floor of the pavilion and drops to a lower terrace over a drop of 5 metres (16 ft) in a fine cascade formation along a polished black stone chute. A small shrine called the Chasma Sahibi is located near the gardens. This shrine has a fresh water spring.[20]

Shankaracharya Temple
Left: Shankaracharya Temple built in 220 BC. as seen in 1868. Right: Shankaracharya temple as seen now -Overlooks Dal Lake

The sacred Shankaracharya temple, also known as Jyeshteswara, occupies the top of the hills (about 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding plains) known as Takht-I-Sulaiman in the south-east of Srinagar. The site dates back to 250 BC (Buddhist monument probably built by Emperor Ashoka's son Jhaloka), which was replaced in the 7th century by the present temple. The philosopher Shankaracharya stayed at this place when he visited Kashmir ten centuries ago to revive Sanātana Dharma.[20][21]

Before this date, the temple was known as Gopadri, as an earlier edifice on the same site was built by king Lalitaditya in the 7th century AD. In fact, the road below the hill, with residences of high-ranking State Government officials, is still known as Gupkar road. Built on a high octagonal plinth (20 feet (6.1 m) high) on solid rock and approached by a flight of steps with side walls that once bore inscriptions, the main surviving shrine consists of square building with a circular cell. It overlooks the Srinagar valley and can be approached by car. A modern ceiling covers the inner sanctum and an inscription in Persian traces its origin to the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. There is also a Shiva Linga coiled by a serpent, in a basin inside the sanctum. The original ceiling was dome-shaped and the brick roof is said to be about century old.[20][21]

Hari Parbat
Left: Hari Parbat as seen from Badam Weer (Almond Garden), Srinagar. Right: View of the temple from the stairs

Hari Parbat, also known as the Mughal fort, is a hill fort on Sharika hill that provides magnificent views of the Srinagar city and the Dal Lake. It was first started by Mughal Emperor Akbar, in 1590. He built only the outer wall of the fort but his plans to build a new capital called Naga Nagor within it did not materialise. But the fort, as seen now, was built in 1808 under the reign of Shuja Shah Durrani. Within the fort’s precincts there are temples, Muslim shrines, and a Sikh Gurudwara. The hill is steeped in legends. According to one legend, the area was a large sea and inhabited by a demon known as Jalobhava. At the request of the local people to get rid of this demon, Lord Shiva’s consort Sati flew over the area in the form of a bird and dropped a pebble on the demon’s head. This pebble became very large in size and the demon was thus crushed. Since then Hindus worship this place as Hari Parbat as it is believed to represent millions of gods of the Hindu pantheon. Another version of the legend says that two demons, Tsand and Mond, were harassing the people of the valley. It is believed that Tsand resided near Hari Parbat and Mond near the Dal Gate (the present outlet point of the lake). On special prayers of the people of the valley, goddess Paravati, consort of Lord Shiva, assumed the form of a Hor (myna) and flew to Sumer, brought a pebble and dropped it on the head of demon Tsand and crushed him to death. That pebble grew into the present Hari Parbat hill. Since then the goddess is worshipped as Sharika in Shri Tsakra, located in the western part of the hill.[22]

Kashmir houseboat
Left: Houseboats, the floating luxury hotels in Dal Lake Right: Houseboats moored to the bank

Kashmir Houseboat and the Dal Lake are mutually complimentary enchanting heritages of the legend of Sringar’s beauty, which is owed to the Mughals and the British who enriched them with beauty and comfort. These are nicknamed as floating palaces built to the British aesthetic sense. They usually are of 24–38 metres (79–120 ft) length and 3–6 metres (9.8–20 ft) width and are categorised according to the comfort level provided as luxury hotels. Made of local cedar-wood the layout provides well turned out rooms, living space, sit out verandas, a terrace to serve as a sun-deck or for evening cocktails. They are moored in looping rows on the lake's periphery at predetermined locations; mostly along the western edge of the lake close to the lakeside boulevard nearer to the Dal gate. They are also moored on small islands in the lake. They are anchored individually but four to five houseboats could be located together but interconnecting bridges provide access from one boat to the other. All modern facilities to make the stay comfortable to the guests are provided, and the decoration of each houseboat is very aesthetical. The kitchen-boat is annexed to the main houseboat, which also serves as residence of the boatkeeper and his family. Each houseboat has an exclusive shikara for ferrying guests to the shore and to other sight seeing locations in the valley.[23]

Shikara
Left: Shikara on Dal Lake. Right: A florist's shikara boat in Nageen Lake

Shikara is small paddled boat about 15 feet (4.6 m) long) made of wood with a canopy that is used extensively as means of transport on the Dal Lake. It is a kind of ‘water taxi’ on the lake. It is the cultural symbol of Kashmir. It is not only used for ferrying visitors but also used for on lake vending of fruits, vegetables and flowers. They are also used for fishing and harvesting of aquatic vegetation. All gardens in the lake periphery and houseboats anchored in the lake are approachable through Shikaras. Their sizes vary but usually such boats have spade shaped bottom and two boatmen paddle the boat in a traditional style. The boatmen are dressed in “Phiron” (traditional dress) and carry ‘Kangris’ or portable heaters on the boat. Shikara can seat about six people with seats and backrest that are heavily cushioned to provide comfort in Mughul style. All houseboat owners provide shikara transport to their house guests free of charge. A water safari in a shikara (water taxi) through the tranquil waterways is pleasurable experience.

A popular safari using a shikara is from Srinagar cruising along the Jhelum River. This journey is scenic in the backdrop of the Pir Panjal mountains and passes through the famous seven bridges and the backwaters.[24][25]

Hazratbal Shrine
Hazratbal shrine.

Hazratbal Shrine Urdu: حضرت بل, literally: Majestic Place), is a Muslim Shrine in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India. The shrine is situated on the left bank of the Dal Lake, Srinagar and is considered to be Kashmir's holiest Muslim shrine. It contains a relic believed by many Muslims of Kashmir to be a hair of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The name of the shrine comes from the Arabic word Hazrat, meaning holy majestic, and the Kashmiri word bal, meaning place. The Moi-e-Muqqadas (the sacred hair) of Mohammed is believed to be preserved here. The shrine is known by many names including Hazratbal, Assar-e-Sharief, Madinat-us-Sani, or simply Dargah Sharif.[26]

According to legend, the relic was first brought to India by Syed Abdullah, a descendant of the holy prophet Muhammad who left Medina and settled in Bijapur, near Hyderabad in 1635. When Syed Abdullah died, his son, Syed Hamid, inherited the relic. Following the Mughal conquest of the region, Syed Hamid was stripped of his family estates. Finding himself unable to care for the relic, he gave it as the most precious gift to his close Mureed and a wealthy Kashmiri businessman, Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Ishbari.

Visitor information

Tourists take a pleasant shikara ride on the Dal Lake

Dal Lake lies in heart of the Srinagar city and is well connected by road and air links. The nearest Airport is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) away at Badgam. This Airport connects with major cities in the country. Jammu is the nearest Rail Head which is 30 kilometres (19 mi) away. National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with rest of the country. Shikaras are the easiest water taxi service available to see the sights in the Dal Lake and to approach the houseboats moored on the lake periphery.[27]

See also

References

  1. ^ Pandit, Ashok K. (1999). Freshwater ecosystems of the Himalaya. Informa Health Care. pp. 66–93. ISBN 1850707820. http://books.google.com/books?id=pI8YGfLOT7YC&pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq=Hydrology+of+Dal+Lake&source=bl&ots=8awwqxKEad&sig=lfKUt0tskm0ARfbmcbqlnB61vJY&hl=en&ei=ccUxS4bVO8GTkAXi4r2ECQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CA8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Hydrology%20of%20Dal%20Lake&f=false. Retrieved 2009-12-27.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Dal Lake". International Lake Environment Committee. http://www.ilec.or.jp/database/asi/asi-38.html. Retrieved 2009-12-18.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jain, Sharad K; Pushpendra K. Agarwal and Vijay P. Singh (2007). Hydrology and water resources of India. Springer. p. 978. ISBN 1402051794. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZKs1gBhJSWIC&pg=RA1-PA978&lpg=RA1-PA978&dq=Hydrology+of+Dal+Lake&source=bl&ots=KTye9UGr3L&sig=Gi-c9xDgmSlCiEavFp09s7UNGKQ&hl=en&ei=ccUxS4bVO8GTkAXi4r2ECQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Hydrology%20of%20Dal%20Lake&f=false. Retrieved 2009-12-27.  
  4. ^ a b c "Dal Lakes". Kashmir Tourism. http://www.kashmir-tourism.com/jammu-kashmir-lakes-dal-lake.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-18.  
  5. ^ a b c "Restoring the Dal Lake to its original glory". Rediff.com. 2009-07-01. http://news.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/jun/30/slide-show-1-dying-pride-of-kashmir.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-18.  
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  9. ^ Singh, Sarina (2005). India, Lonely Planet India. Lonely Planet. p. 342. ISBN 1740596942. http://books.google.com/books?id=Fk8FQa2ZSFQC&pg=PA342&dq=House+boats+in+Kashmir+built+during+British+Raj&cd=2#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2009-12-28.  
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  12. ^ a b Pandit p.72
  13. ^ a b c Pandit p.66
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  15. ^ a b Pandit p.66, 72–73
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  17. ^ The Alternate Hydro Energy centre of the University of Rookee. "Data Collection and Analysis". House Boat Owners Association. http://www.houseboatowners.org/datacollection.html. Retrieved 2009-12-27.  
  18. ^ Pandit p.80–87
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  20. ^ a b c d "Srinagar Attractions: Nagin Lake". http://www.srinagaronline.co.in/attraction.php?pname=attraction. Retrieved 2009-12-28.  
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  23. ^ "House Boat". http://www.vkashmir.com/Houseboat/houseboat.asp. Retrieved 2009-12-29.  
  24. ^ Lyon, Jean (1954). Just half a world away: my search for the new India. Crowell. p. 370. http://books.google.com/books?id=XVo1AAAAIAAJ&q=Shikara&dq=Shikara&lr=&ei=g7c5S9mDJpv4kwSx54i-AQ&cd=29. Retrieved 2009-12-29.  
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  27. ^ "Dal Lake". http://jammukashmir.nic.in/tourism/kashmir/welcome.html.  

Simple English

The Dal Lake is a famous lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake itself is connected to a number of other lakes of the Kashmir valley. It is well known for its approximately 500 Victorian-era wooden houseboats, originally built as vacation homes for landless British administrators during the Raj.

on a boat sailing on Dal Lake, Jammu and Kashmir]]








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