Wular Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. the pristine beauty of Wular Lake is in Bandipora district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The majestic lake has a breathtaking view and attracts a huge number of visitors around the year. It plays a significant role in the hydrographic system of Kashmir valley and acts as a huge absorption basin for the annual flood waters. Wular with its extensive surrounding marshes is the natural habitat for wildlife. It is also an important fish resource accounting for about 60% of the total fish production in the state. The beautiful landscape of the lake is one of the major for garnering huge amount tourists. A walk around the lake is very peaceful and uplifting, and when you’ve had enough of walking you can explore the place by hopping on a boat and peddle your way through the waters. It is the source of sustenance for a huge chunk of the human population living on its fringes. On the basis of its high biological, hydrological and socio-economic value, the lake has been declared as a wetland of national importance under the wetlands programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India in 1986 and has been subsequently declared as Ramsar Site in 1990 to give it the status of wetland of International importance.The lake is situated at a distance of about 50 km from Srinagar at an average altitude of 1570m asl. The lake is balloon shaped with a maximum length of 16 km and breadth of 7.6 km with an average depth of 5.8m. In the north and east, the lake is surrounded by high mountain ranges which are fairly dense conifer forests and pastures.Besides Jhelum which passes through the lake, the lake is directly fed by two important streams of Erin and Madhumati. As per directory of Wetlands in India (MOEF) the area of the lake has been shown 189 sq km, whereas the area as per the Survey of India Maps of 1978 the lake area is shown as 58.7 sq km during the lean period. However, the lake area appears empirically 173 sq km during peak flow as per the highest flood level of 1579 m recorded by Irrigation and flood control Department, Kashmir in the same year. As per the revenue records the area of the lake is shown to be 130 sq.kms. The name ‘Wular Lake’ has an interesting history attached to its name. Wular Lake finds a mention in ancient texts such as Nilamata Purana, where it was called Mahapadmasar. Owing to the stormy temperament the lake was also called Ullola in Sanskrit, which translated to leaping high rising waves. Over the course of time, the name got contorted to Bolor and was called so by Al-Biruni himself.
With regard to the associated/adjacent marshes of Wular Lake, there is remarkable alteration and the area has got reduced by more than 41 sq km during the past 100 years. As per the Survey of India map of 1911 the open water area of Wular Lake was 91.29 sq km which got reduced to 79.82 sq km area in 1965 as per Survey of India map of 1965 and presently the open water area of the lake as per LISS+PAN merged satellite image of 2007 of Wular area is 75.23 sq km. Similarly the wetland area surrounding the lake body and in the adjacent area was 66.45sq km and 58.67 sq km respectively in 1911 (Survey of India map) out of which we have lost 54.97sq km in and around the Wular Lake and 41 sq km in its surrounding marshes to Agriculture/Horticulture and plantation etc during the past 100 years. Wular Lake is also a bird watcher’s delight. A number of terrestrial birds such as Black-eared kite, Eurasian sparrowhawk, short-toed eagle, Himalayan golden eagle, Himalayan Monal, chukar partridge, koklass pheasant, rock dove, common cuckoo, alpine swift, Indian roller, Himalayan woodpecker, hoopoe, barn swallow and golden oriole make the rounds of this attraction quite regularly.
One of Kashmir’s main tourist attractions, It is a world famous lake lying east of Srinagar city. It is Kidney shaped with an area of 11.20 Sq.kms. as determined through the satellite imageries of the year 1994 and 1995. The area determined through G.T. sheets of 1965 survey is 15.86 Sq.kms. The area figure adopted for Dal is 11.20 sq. km. Over 15km around, Dal Lake is Srinagar’s jewel, a vast sheet of water reflecting the carved wooden balconies of the houseboats and the misty peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains. Flotillas of gaily painted shikaras (gondola-like taxi boats) skiff around the lake, transporting goods to market, children to school and travelers to delightful houseboats inspired by originals from the Raj era. If you get up early, you can paddle out to see the floating flower and vegetable market: a colorful spectacle, but one where you can expect plenty of attention from souvenir vendors. At present, the Dal and its Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh on its periphery are undergoing intensive restoration measures to fully address the serious eutrophication problems experienced by the lake. Massive investments are being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to its original splendor. During the Mughal period, the Mughal rulers of India designated Kashmir, Srinagar in particular, as their summer resort. They developed the precincts of the Dal in Srinagar with sprawling Mughal-type gardens and pavilions as pleasure resorts to enjoy the salubrious cool climate. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, which led to the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, Pashtun tribes in the area around the lake and city increased, and the Afghan Durrani Empire ruled the city for several decades. In 1814 a significant part of the Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, was annexed from the Afghans by Raja Ranjit Singh to his kingdom, and the Sikhs grew in influence in the region for 27 years. Multiple theories explaining the origin of this lake have been formulated. One version is that it is the remnants of a post-glacial lake, which has undergone drastic changes in size over the years and the other theory is that it is of fluvial origin from an old flood spill channel or ox-bows of the Jhelum River. The dendritic drainage pattern of the catchment signifies that its rock strata have low levels of porosity. Lithologically, a variety of rock types have been discerned namely, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. The Dachigam Telbal Nallah system is conjectured to follow two major lineaments. Discontinuous 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, 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 and the destruction of many properties, leaving much homeless
Anchar lake, a shallow water body which is located 10 Kms north-west of Srinagar Anchar Lake is a lake in highly deteriorated condition located near Soura area in the city of Srinagar, Jammu, and Kashmir. Situated close to Ganderbal. The lake is a typical suburban eutrophic water body with both rural and urban characteristics in a typical rural environment. The lake is a single basined, open drainage type water body fed by a network of channels from the Sind nallah. A small channel connects Anchar Lake with Khushal sar lake which in turn is connected with the Nigeen lake. Anchar Lake is a wetland area and the natural lake formed from the Dal Lake area. Anchar Lake was declared as a dead lake, because of its deteriorated condition. The encroachments by surrounding residents are going on war footing basis with illegal constructions. The lake is also fed by the springs in the basin and along the periphery. Further a number of channels from agricultural fields, effluents from the settlements and surface runoff from the catchment area, directly drains into it throughout the year. The lake outfalls in river Jhelum at Sangam on its north-east direction. The lake covers an area of 680 hectares, half of which has now completely become marshland. Anchar Lake is getting deterioration during the peak season in Jammu and Kashmir. Once this place is a popular tourist destination for tourists on shikaras and houseboats used to travel here from Dal Lake, over the years it has deteriorated owing to pollution, large-scale encroachment, and illegal constructions in its surroundings. In the 1990s, when the Nallah Mar was covered to build the Mearplan highway around the western side of Dal, six-foot pipes were laid under the new road, to allow Dal to continue to drain into the Anchar lake system, however, the pipes soon clogged due to waste and debris. Like the Dal lake and Wular Lake, it is home to the Hanji community which lives near the lake in an area called as Anchar among the locals.
Nilnag lake is a freshwater lake situated at a distance of about 41 Kms to the west of Srinagar city. The exact age of the lake is not known, although Zutshi 1980 reports it to of Pleistocene origin and has probably come into existence due to tectonic activity. The water body is about 7 meters deep and is fed by two main streams on its northwestern side. Nilnag is cradled by hills.Nilnag is a beautiful lake located 4 km downhill from Yusmarg. The water of the lake is blue in color. The water level in the lake is regulated by the two outlets on its southeastern side through which excess water is drained out. Nilnag is a high altitude lake nestled amidst the dense pine forest. The blue water of this sparkling lake and the picturesque surrounding towering pine trees and snow-capped mountains amplify the natural beauty of the region, whereas Nilnag plays a great role in invigoration and providing peace of mind.