Manasbal Lake

Manasbal Lake
Manasbal Lake
  • Visiting Season: Summer, Spring, Autumn
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Manasbal Lake is the deepest lake in northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located at a convenient distance of 30 km from Srinagar. Considered as a precious gem of Kashmir, oft called Paradise on Earth, Manasbal Lake is tucked away in the lap of nature and flanked by villages of Gratbal, Jarokbal and Kondabal. Tourists sailing over the waters of Manasbal Lake are attracted by the magnificence and architectural wonders of ruins of a fort on its northern shores. This fort was constructed under the orders of a Mughal ruler in 17th century and overlooks serene lake waters. It is believed that weary travelers coming from far flung regions of Punjab to Srinagar would stop at this oasis to refresh themselves before continuing with their onward journey. This Lake is appropriately classified as a monomictic warm lake which is complete with stable summer stratification. Tourists are mesmerized by the beauty of Manasbal, which is not polymictic as are other lakes in its vicinity. The eastern precincts of Manasbal Lake are dominated by an elevated plateau which is referred to as 'Karewa'. The areas surrounding the plateau are rugged and comprise fluviatile, loessic and lacustrine deposits. Over a period of time, the lake has become eutrophic and its waters are virtually choked by an abundance of underwater weeds and articles thrown in by tourists during the peak seasons. This lake is fed by precipitation and rainwater and boasts of no major channels for water inflow. Various mountain streams and snow fed seasonal rivers empty themselves into the lake and provide it with vast water resources. The outflow of Manasbal Lake is regulated through artificial means and is connected with the sparkling waters of River Jhelum beyond.

Tourists visiting Manasbal Lake can feast their eyes on the local population using its waters for fishing, obtaining fodder/food and harvesting lotus rootstocks for their living. The terrestrial eco system of the lake is endangered due to these activities with environmentalists and people dedicated to the preservation of eco-resources trying their level best to keep the areas around the lake clean and free from pollutants. Catchment areas of Manasbal Lake provide tourists with rich experiences of seeing plenty of organic vegetation under cultivation. They love to pick fresh apples and mulberries directly from their stalks in the orchards fringing the lake. Vast stretches of farmlands growing wheat, maize and yellow mustard add to the ethereal charm and natural beauty of the lake. Groves of willow trees as well as royal chinar called Badshah Boni excite tourists with their opulent display of seasonal hues and colors. Manasbal Lake also boasts of an ancient Hindu temple which is located on its eastern shores. It is believed that this temple was constructed during 800-900 AD and showcases traditional architectural styles of ancient Kashmir.

A Nice Getaway
Manasbal Lake is best known for its abundance of lotuses, which gives it a unique character—different from the other lakes in the state. This 'supreme gem of all Kashmir lakes' is a nature lovers delight during July and August when pink petals of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) kiss the fringes of Manasbal Lake in all their glory.

Manasbal Lake offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, water sports and amusements. It is a popular picnic spot amongst the locals and tourists alike. The scenic shores of Manasbal Lake are thronged by local operators arranging interesting boat rides, rafting and other aquatic sports like water skiing. Most tourists love to book themselves private shikara rides which take them to the most beautiful spots in the lake. Manasbal Lake is characterized by small islands containing hillocks, plateaus and other elevated structures. These topographical formations add to the character of the region and make shikara rides all the more appealing. Manasbal Lake is a paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers. It is the habitat of hundreds of bird species which are specific to the Himalayan regions lying in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake provides abundant opportunities for leisurely boat rides, strolls along the lake and hours of relaxed fun.

Water skiing is the most popular activity during the peak season and lasts from May to August. This exciting water sport is arranged by the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department (JKTD), which provides professional trainers, water skiing equipment and all other essential amenities to interested tourists and adventure seekers. The vast expanse of the lake makes it a haven for water skiers and other water sports enthusiasts. After enjoying the lush surroundings, quaint islands and landscaped gardens located within and in close proximity to Manasbal Lake, tourists can head towards Garoka—a famous Mughal garden which appropriately means “bay window”. This beautiful garden was built under the instructions of the Mughal Empress Noor Jahan and provides magnificent views of the lake and mountains beyond.