The Kashmir valley is gifted with exotic natural scenic beauty of landscape and water bodies, out of them, the most famous are Dal Lake. These water bodies are of great ecological and socio-economic significance. These lake with its multi-faceted eco-system and grandeur has been inviting the attention of national and international tourists. Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes and picturedque lake in India and the second largest lake the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Its three sides are surrounded by majestic mountains and a large number of gardens and orchards have been laid along the shores. The embankments of Dal Lake also have a number of mughal monuments and the campus of the University of Kashmir. Dal Lake is unique in having hundreds of houseboats, which afford an opportunity to tourists to reside on the lake in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Areas of the Dal Lake are clustered with sloping roofed houses on islands, while other parts appear lush and green like well-tended gardens. As the eye travels onwards, houseboats, houses and vegetation cease abruptly, and two enormous sheet-like expanses of water, the Bod Dal & Lokut Dal, come into view. The Dal is famous not only for its beauty, but for its vibrance, because it sustains within its periphery, a life that is unique anywhere in the world. The houseboat and shikara communities have lived for centuries on the Dal, and so complete is their infrastructure on the lake, that they never have to step on land! Doctors, tailors, and bakers - you'll see them all in tiny wooden shops on the lake, near picturesque vegetable gardens and acres of lotus gardens.
Wular lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. It plays a significant role in the hydrographic system of the Kashmir valley by acting as a huge absorption basin for the annual floodwaters. The lake, along with the extensive marshes surrounding it, is an important natural habitat for wildlife. It is also an important habitat for fish, accounting for 60 per cent of the total fish production within the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is a source of livelihood for a large human population living along its fringes. The catchment area of the lake supports magnificent coniferous forests, alpine pastures and orchards, adding to the natural beauty and biodiversity of the wetland area. In recognition of its biological, hydrological and socio-economic values, the lake was included in 1986 as a Wetland of National Importance under the Wetlands Programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for intensive conservation and management purposes. Subsequently in 1990, it was designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. The lake along with its satellite wetlands, is a suitable wintering site for a number of migratory waterfowl species such as the common teal, pintail, shoveller, common pochard, mallard and others.It is an important habitat for fish and contributes about 60 percent of the fish yield of the Kashmir valley.
Nigeen Lake (The Jewel In The Ring)- Leading from the Dal is the smaller Nagin Lake. Here too, the waters are edged by trees of willow and poplar whose reflection is mirrored in the lake. 'Bathing boats' here, as well as on the Dal, hire out water-skis and motor launches. The waters of the lakes are pleasantly cool from mid-May to mid-September. Shikaras can be hired from any of the steps called 'ghats' (jetties) leading to the lake. Some rides are fixed and their rates are posted at each ghat as well as opposite the Tourist Reception Centre. Shikaras are a refreshingly novel way of seeing Srinagar by day and at twilight, the gentle soothing motion of the boat, as it glides along the water, is unbelievably romantic. Nagin lake lies to the east of the city at the foot of the Zabarwan Mountain. The Shankaracharya hill (Takht-i-Sulaiman) is to the south and Hari Parbat on its west. The lake is 6x3 km and is divided by causeways into four parts. Gagribal, Lakut-dal, Bod-dal and Nagin. Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, called Rup Lank or Char Chinari and Sona Lank, respectively.
Aharbal is a hill station in the south-western part of Kashmir Valley in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, 75 km south of the state capital Srinagar. Aharbal lies in the Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located on the Veshu River, a tributary of the Jehlum River, in an alpine valley covered in pine and fir trees within the Pir Panjal mountains, 18 km south of the town of Shopian and 28 km west of Kulgam. It lies at an altitude of 2266 metres above sea level. Aharbal is known for its waterfall, Aharbal Falls, where the Veshu falls noisily 25 metres and 7 metres through a narrow gorge of granite boulders. Aharbal Falls are also referred to as the Niagara Falls of Kashmir, owing to the volume of the water that falls. According to a report, the water volume would be sufficient to generate 100 MW of hydroelectricity. The terraces leading to the falls are fenced, but care must be taken to avoid slipping. Aharbal is a base for adventure tourism. The Veshu River is stocked with trout. The fishing permit can be obtained from the Fisheries department stationed at Aharbal. The alpine meadow of Kungwatan lies at the halfway point of the two-day trek to the high-altitude Konsarnag Lake, which is the source of the Veshu. Other activities include horse riding, photography, and skiing during winter. The Aharbal Development Authority, a government agency responsible for development in Aharbal, has built tourist infrastructure including huts and a cafeteria, and other lodging and boarding facilities have also been made available. Aharbal is easily accessible from Srinagar, only 8 km from the Mughal Road that connects Srinagar and Poonch. The 75 km drive takes less than 3 hours by car or bus via Pulwama and Shopian. An alternate route leads to Aharbal via Kulgam. The nearest railway station is Awantipora railway station at 26 km in the east.