Dal is a lake in Srinagar (Dal in Kashmiri means lake), the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, India. This urban lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”. The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
One of my ancestral homes used to be in the backwaters of Dal, and I have been there when I was a little kid. I used to get amazed after seeing typical Kashmiri houses standing on the water and all the people working normally like they do in the city.
Everyone has their own boat, all transport is water-based and man-powered: this must be the only community in India without honking auto rickshaws, screeching scooters, or loud rickety cars. At Dal, you will see something entirely different: small communities, local artisans, floating markets, kids going to school by boat, and of course the inevitable pashmina shawl salesman selling on his boat.
Dal is without a doubt – a waterborne rural way of life, the ‘Venice’ of India. Apart from the obvious charm of seeing life pass on and around the water, there is peace. Enjoy the beautiful green scenery while giving your ears some rest. And a perfect place to go solo and relax alone. I even learnt how to row a boat – it takes a lot of effort but it’s fun!
- It’s one of my favorite places to shoot.
- Best time to go: Early morning and 2 hours before sunset.
- Must do: A colorful Shikara ride, also known as the Gondola, or hire a local boat for a solo trip and staying for a night on a houseboat.
About the photographer: Naveed Hussain is a photographer and an illustrator. A foodie who loves to travel. He has a keen interest in street art, music, hiking & skateboarding. Currently pursuing his Bachelors in Fine Art from College of Art, Delhi.