Manasbal Lake

Manasbal Lake nestles within the Valley of Jhelum, just north of Srinagar in the State of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The name of this lake is believed to have been derived from the sacred Lake Manasarovar. Referred to as the Paradise for Bird Watchers, Manasbal Lake offers boating facility on Shikaras and showcases an aspect of Kashmir, not seen before.

Manasbal Lake is flanked by 3 villages named Jarokbal, and Kondabal or Kiln Place, both situated on the north-eastern shore of the Lake, and Ganderbal – known as the deepest portion of the lake with a depth measurement of 13 meters or 43 feet deep, covers the remaining shores of the Lake.

Lotus growth over the Manasbal Lake is seen in large volumes especially at the lake periphery, showcasing its full blossom during the months of July and August thus, adding to the pristine beauty of the Manasbal Lake. A stunning Mughal era masterpiece called the Garoka Mughal Gardens that aptly translates to ‘Bay Window’, built by Empress Noor Jahan, overlooks the stunning Lake and its mesmerizing lush surroundings.

The Manasbal Lake is an excellent site for bird watching being one of the largest natural trampling grounds of many Aquatic birds in Kashmir earning the appellation of the ‘Supreme Gem of Kashmir Lakes’. The Lotus Plant rootstocks, extensively grown in this Lake, are harvested and marketed, primarily consumed by the locals and imported to other Indian States as well.

The Manasbal Lake is believed to be an ancient lake according to local legends but its exact origin is yet to be determined. Towards the northern shore of the lake, you will notice the ruins of Daroga Bagh, a 17th Century Fort, which was erected by the Mughals, and was mainly used by merchants traveling from Punjab to Srinagar.

Manasbal Lake is flanked by the Baladar Mountains on the eastern shores, and by an elevated Karewa Plateau consisting of Fluviatile, Lacustrine, and Loessic deposits on the northern shores while the Ahtung Hills, bounded to its south is mainly used for extraction of limestone.

Manasbal Lake follows the course of Jhelum River and comes under the 3rd series of high-altitude Lakes nestled within the Himalayan Ranges. The catchment area of the Lakes also features Vegetation inclusive of Apple, and Mulberry Orchards, and a few Chinar and Salix trees adding to the charm of the Lake surroundings.

You can visit Safar, a nearby village of Safapur that features a grove of Chinar trees, also known as Badshah Boni or Royal Chinar. This grove was planted to imitate the design of the Naseem Bagh, situated in Srinagar. The agricultural lands are embedded with Wheat, Maize, and Mustard crops, all growing on the catchment area of the Manasbal Lake.

Over the past years, the use of land pattern around Manasbal Lake has seen a gradual change with more land converted for use of horticulture purposes while a certain portion of the land area has been diverted for construction purposes.

Manasbal Lake provides the main source of water to its nearby regions apart from being a major source for fishery, navigation and transportation, useful economical plant harvesting, sightseeing options, enhancing tourism and offering recreation facilities to visiting tourists.

The Flora population of Manasbal Lake comprises of floating, emerged, and submerged Macrophytes and Phytoplankton species whereas the fauna population comprise of Benthos, Fish, Zooplankton and Cyprinus, an exotic species that seems to have extensively proliferated after it was introduced to the Lake fauna habitat in 1956.

Often known as a haven for Bird watchers, Manasbal Lake provides ample opportunity for spotting varied species of endemic birds and migratory birds. The weather is extremely pleasant and inviting during the months of May and August, marking this as the peak tourism period of Kashmir when the lake is ideal for water skiing, an increasingly popular activity in Kashmir. Essential water skiing equipments can be hired at any of the JKTD or Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department shops while expert trained instructors are also available to assist you during your water sport activity in Manasbal Lake.

Lakes of Kashmir