Weather :

Label : Top Attraction

Tags : Lake

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Shoreline : 15.5 km

Best Time To Visit Dal Lake : May to November is the best time to visit Dal Lake as the climate is pleasant. During winter, it gets extremely cold.

Bookings : Book a Houseboat

Planning a Trip? Ask Your Question

Dal Lake, Srinagar Overview

The Jewel of Srinagar, the Dal Lake is synonymous to a visit to Srinagar and is almost a visual definition of the town. Spread over 15 kms, it is the second-largest lake in Jammu & Kashmir. The mirror-like Dal Lake reflects the snow-dusted peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains while the colourful shikaras (gondolas) float around. The houseboats and shikaras are its main attractions.

The Dal Lake of Srinagar is also popular for the floating market (known as Raad) where vendors have their own Shikaras and are not shy of approaching tourists with their most endearing handicrafts, saffron, edibles and even ice-creams in tow. Ice skating during winter on the frozen Dal Lake also attracts many tourists.

The important attractions in and around the Dal Lake include the Island of Char Chinar, Nagin Lake, Chashme Shahi, Shankaracharya Temple, Hari Parbat, Hazratbal Shrine, and Mazar-e-Shura Cemetery. A sweeping view of the lake can be witnessed from the shores of one of the Mughal Gardens.

Dal Lake Highlights

1. Shikara Ride, Srinagar

Shikara Ride, Srinagar
The paramount reason why people come to Srinagar is for the relaxing and memorable Shikara rides. Taking the ride across the scenic Dal Lake at the backdrop of the majestic slow clad Himalaya's is ind (Read More)eed an experience in itself both enjoyable and unparallel.

Time Required : 2 to 3 hours

Cost of Shikara Ride : INR 500-700 per hour

2. Stay in a Houseboat, Srinagar

Stay in a Houseboat, Srinagar
Staying in a houseboat amidst pristine waters of the Dal Lake, is one of the most essential things to do in Srinagar. Made in wood and adorned in a typical Kashmir style decor, the houseboats are a pe (Read More)rfect way to experience the quintessential local life in the luxurious way. You will also be mesmerised by the surrounding atmosphere and the interior decor. Plus, it is a very calming and soothing activity to experience and you will leave fully rejuvenated.

Time Required : 1 day/night

3. Char Chinar, Srinagar

Char Chinar, Srinagar
Char Chinar is an island in the Dal Lake of Srinagar, surrounded by the Chinar trees on all four sides of it. Also known as Char Chinari (char chinari means four sides) and Rupa Lank, it was construct (Read More)ed by Murad Baksh, the brother of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Char Chinar is best explored during a shikara ride in the Dal Lake.

Read More on Dal Lake

Dal Lake Layout

Dal Lake is on an average 5 ft deep and goes to a maximum of 20 ft at some places. Covering a shoreline of about 15.5 kilometres, the lake covers an area of about 18 square kilometres. It comprises of four basins- Lokut Dal, Nagin (also a separate lake), Gagribal and Bod Dal. In the middle of Bod Dal, there is a small island by the name of Sona Lank. Lokut Dal is also called Rup Lank and Char Chinari.

Floating gardens in the midst of the lake bloom with lotus flowers in the months of July and August, while winter season sees the temperature here dropping to -11 °C, freezing the lake. Currently, intensive cleaning and maintenance operations are underway at the lake to restore it to its former glory.

Houseboats and Shikara on Dal Lake

Houseboats and Shikara are synonymous with the Dal Lake, especially since the Shikaras are a cultural symbol and seen only in Srinagar. These are wooden boats pointed at both ends and have beautifully decorated canopies overhead. It is the favoured means of transport for local people, and you can see them ferrying a variety of goods across the lake to the mainland. Tourists have also taken a liking to it and a ride is a must-have.

A unique shopping experience in the Dal Lake is that of the lake market, which includes a number of shops located right on the midst of the lake. Much like a roadside market would have, hawkers are present here as well. They have Shikaras of their own and have all sorts of good for sale, which include Kashmir's specialities such as wooden artwork, hand made earrings, saffron and even Kashmiri ponchos.  

The other attraction in the waters of Dal Lake is the houseboat, which are stationary boats meant to serve as accommodation for visitors. Overlooking the Dal Lake, they provide the most exquisite views of the lake and its surrounding mountains. They are made of good quality wood with intricate carvings and floral motifs. These could range from a simple one-room affair to huge luxurious suites and are graded accordingly by the Department of Tourism.

Often, the interiors are beautifully decorated with Kashmiri carpets, crystal chandeliers and plush furniture. The houseboats are often family-run businesses with delicious home-cooked meals, top-notch facilities such as hot tubs and WiFi, and endearing personalised service.

Book a Houseboat

Srinagar Travel Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

Dal Lake Reviews

Your rating

Muskan Shah

on Dal Lake 6 years ago
Dal Lake is the heart of Srinagar. I stayed in a house boat that floats on the lake. The house boats are cozy and lavish. Every morning, people in small boats sell fruits, vegetables and jewelry. I h (Read More)ad fun buying things from a boat while sitting in another boat while drinking Kahwa tea. There is a floating market on the lake which is a must visit.

Have a Question on Dal Lake?

Ask a question from the travellers who have

Popular Questions And Answers on Dal Lake