Morning view of Dal Lake

Getty Images/Flickr RM

Dal Lake

Top choice in Srinagar

Over 15km around, Dal Lake is Srinagar's jewel, a vast sheet of water reflecting the carved wooden balconies of the houseboats and the misty peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains. Flotillas of gaily painted shikaras (gondola-like taxi boats) skiff around the lake, transporting goods to market, children to school and travellers to delightful houseboats inspired by originals from the Raj era.

If you get up early, you can paddle out to see the floating flower and vegetable market: a colourful spectacle, but one where you can expect plenty of attention from souvenir vendors.

For a visual portrait of Dal Lake life, watch the prize-winning 2012 movie Valley of Saints.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Srinagar attractions

1. Floating Vegetable Market

0.32 MILES

In the maze of channels at the edge of Dal Lake, the dawn vegetable market is a photogenic sight, even if vendors flogging souvenirs and saffron can…

2. First Row Houseboats

0.91 MILES

For guests, the first-row houseboats can prove noisy and lacking in privacy. However, as an attraction they collectively form Srinagar's signature image.

3. Mirzabagh Veg Boat Dock

1.09 MILES

Much of Srinagar's fresh produce is brought in from 'floating gardens' and landed at this tiny dock, making for photogenic scenes.

4. Shankaracharya Mandir

1.17 MILES

On top of thickly forested Shankaracharya Hill, this small Shiva temple is built from hefty blocks of ancient grey stone. Previously known as Takht-i…

5. Naagar-Nagar Interpretation Centre

1.37 MILES

Beside the Makhdoom Ropeway, this empty hall has a few boards explaining the Mughal history of the Hari Parbat ('Naagar-Nagar') walled city.

6. Kathi Darwaza

1.44 MILES

This stone gateway, directly north of the white-domed Chetipacha Gurdwara, is part of one of the last remnant sections of Srinagar's late 16th-century…

7. Pir Dastgir Sahib

1.57 MILES

This large, popular Sufi shrine was ravaged by fire in 2012 but the colourful paper mache interior work for which it was renowned has been restored. The…

8. Rozabal

1.61 MILES

At the north end of the triangular patch of grass near the Sufi shrine of Pir Dastgir Sahib is a small, green shrine known as Rozabal. A highly…