Dal Lake is 11 km from Dharamshala and surrounded by deodar trees. The lake fills a mountain bowl. The words don't do half the justice to the real beauty of the lake. Dal lake is an enchanting and serene picnic spot where an annual fair is held in September. Apart from being thronged by photography enthusiasts, it really provided the elders with a lot of calm and peace.
Nagin Lake is relatively quieter than Dal Lake, the lake better known for its tourist crowd and commercial activities. Houseboats in Nagin Lake are usually preferred by honeymooners and discerning tourists. Nagin Lake is considered to be a separate lake but it is actually a part of Dal Lake, which is connected through a small causeway. The lake is bounded by scenic hills like Takht-e-sulaiman, Hari Parbat and Zabarwan range and by no means less beautiful than Dal Lake. The dense lush wooded forest of Willow trees and Poplar trees flank the edges of the lake. Hospitality:Houseboat stay is the perfect way to enjoy unparalleled Kashmiri hospitality and experience rich Kashmiri culture and heritage. From traditional wooden furnishing to authentic Kashmiri Wazwan, all speak of affluent Kashmir tradition and its hospitality. In houseboats, tourists can take a sip of traditional Kehwa (a kind of green tea served with cinnamon, saffron and nuts) and relish their taste buds with authentic Kashmiri cuisines. Each houseboat has a pantry boat at the rear side of the boat where chefs prepare the dishes. Shikaras:One of the prime attractions of Srinagar is Shikara, which invites tourists from far flung areas to take a leisure ride on it. Often referred as ‘Kashmiri Gondola’, Shikara is a beautifully decorated wooden boat found in Dal Lake, Nagin Lake and Jhelum River in Srinagar. Though Shikaras are used for multiple commercial activities, these boats are better known for ferrying tourists from the banks to houseboats and visiting sightseeing places. Tourists can hire Shikaras from boat stations all along the shorelines of Dal Lake and Nagin Lake.
Bandipora is situated on the banks of the Wular, the largest freshwater lake in Asia which is home to a lot of migratory birds. Inadvertent dumping of the polluted river waters and sewage affluence has led to a pandemic growth of algae in the waters of the Wular which is threatening the lake and its supporting life itself. The main source of pollution to Wullar Lake is Jehlum river. Jehlum river carries all the wastes from Srinagar city and other surrounding areas and deposits it in Wullar Lake. Despite being the richest wetland of South Asia and largest freshwater lake in Asia, no steps have been taken to save Wullar Lake. Bandipora is also a stepping town to the higher reaches of Razdan, Gurez and Tragbal.
Some things that mesmerised me about Srinagar were the Houseboats and back waters of Dal Lake. A shikara ride till one of the houseboats in the lake is an experience that is a must in a lifetime. As the Shikara passed through the various channels, we passed many houseboats which were managed by sincere dexterity by the locals. Kingfishers and other birds become a frequent sight once past the house boats into the backwaters. The kingfishers sit on the tops of houseboats nonchalantly almost within the touching distance of humans who seem to be equally unmindful of the birds. We moved further into the calm waters of Anchar Lake where we were in a totally different world, no crowd of boats, no motor boat engines to be heard and the mood was different altogether. It felt almost like we actually were in Venice, just with a lot of fauna instead of architectural structures.
Green meadows,greenery,greenery,greenery as far as the eyes can see.Water streams in between as you proceed inside the forest are the actual sight seeing points.Rare species of plants and flowers gives us a good retrospective of our Botany knowledge.Transportation within the forest area is only by horse so horse rides!!.