Whispering waters

Nestled in the heart of enigmatic Himalayas, the ethereal Kashmir is an indistinct home to numerous lakes that hide beneath their calm the shimmering whispers of nature — creating an illusion of a surreal world blessed with boundless tranquillity

Whispering waters

The valley of Kashmir, known as Kashir by natives, is approximately eighty-four miles in length and twenty to twenty-five miles in breadth. Its average height is approximately 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. It is surrounded by high mountain ranges, rising to a height of 18,000 feet in the Northeast and over 9,000 feet in the South. What could be more beautiful than the natural scenery presented by these mountains?

There is a famous verse in Persian describing Kashmir:

(If there is heaven on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.)

Kashmir is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Asia.” As a Kashmiri who was born and brought up in Kashmir and has visited Switzerland, I can confidently say that the countryside of Kashmir (i.e., Pahalgam, Gulmarg, etc.) is much more picturesque than Switzerland.

As per Rajatarangini (written by Kalpana, the father of Indian history), Kashmir was originally a lake named ‘Satisar’ that was drained by the great sage Kashyap. This left behind a number of freshwater bodies (lakes) and springs (nags). Well-known freshwater bodies are Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake, Wular Lake, Gadsar Lake, Manasbal Lake, and Gangabal Lake. Some of them are world-famous.

Three lakes make up Dal Lake, located in Srinagar, the Summer Capital of the J&K UT. The waterway, houseboats, and floating islands (also known as floating gardens) in the lake give it a spectacular look. There is a square island in the main part of Dal Lake, known as Char Chinari because it has four Maple trees (Chinar) on the four corners. Vegetables are grown on floating islands (gardens). Other than vegetables, lotus (pomposh), lotus stems (nadroo), and pumbuchh are the products of this lake. The water is crystal clear.

Nagin Lake is an offshoot of Dal Lake. It also has crystal clear water. Kashmir University is situated on the banks of Nagin Lake, offering a peaceful and authentic experience to teachers and students alike in a picturesque landscape on the banks of the lake.

Wular Lake (Wolur in the native language) spread over 130 square kilometers in Bandipora district (Kashmir) is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. This lake supports rich biodiversity and has many people dependent on it for fish and aquatic vegetation. One of its advantages is that it provides flood protection to the entire Kashmir Valley.

Gadsar Lake, one of the highest lakes in Kashmir, is 28 km from Sonamarg, the “Valley of Flowers.” It is situated against a conspicuously and exceptionally beautiful background of mountains.

Manasbal Lake, a beautiful and breathtaking water body, is located in the District of Ganderbal. It is a bird watcher’s paradise. There is an impressive Mughal garden built by Noor Jahan on the banks of the lake.

On the foothills of Harmukh Mountain at the height of 3570 meters is located Gangabal Lake. The other name of Gangabal Lake is Harmukh Ganga. The mountains are calm and beautiful. Brown trout and rainbow fishes are found in abundance. One has to have a permit for fishing here.

Views expressed are personal

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