Kashmir Fights to Restore Beauty of Dal Lake

The State Government of Jammu and Kashmir has hired workers in shikaras, small traditional boats, to clean the weeds from scenic Dal Lake.

Over the past two decades the lake area has shrunk by nearly half and its mean depth has been reduced to a mere 4 1/2 feet. The drying out combined with increase in pollution has resulted in excessive weed growth and a reduction in water clarity, threatening the Kashmir region’s main tourist attraction.

In the past three decades a large influx of tourists has created a pollution problem that threatens the lake’s water quality. The problem is exacerbated by rubbish and sewage from visitors seeking the serenity of living on hundreds of traditional houseboats dotting the lake.

The Himalayan lake is nearly a mile above sea level and its beauty is famous for being surrounded on its three sides by mountains. Much of its surface area comprises specacular floating gardens. Along its shoreline are 16th century Moghul monuments as well as gardens and the famous temples of Shankaracharya and Hari Parbat on small hills overlooking the lake.