Manasbal Lake is the deepest lake in northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located at a convenient distance of 30 km from Srinagar. Considered as a precious gem of Kashmir, oft called Paradise on Earth, Manasbal Lake is tucked away in the lap of nature and flanked by villages of Gratbal, Jarokbal and Kondabal.
Tourists sailing over the waters of Manasbal Lake are attracted by the magnificence and architectural wonders of ruins of a fort on its northern shores. This fort was constructed under the orders of a Mughal ruler in 17th century and overlooks serene lake waters. It is believed that weary travelers coming from far flung regions of Punjab to Srinagar would stop at this oasis to refresh themselves before continuing with their onward journey.
This Lake is appropriately classified as a monomictic warm lake which is complete with stable summer stratification. Tourists are mesmerized by the beauty of Manasbal, which is not polymictic as are other lakes in its vicinity. The eastern precincts of Manasbal Lake are dominated by an elevated plateau which is referred to as ‘Karewa’. The areas surrounding the plateau are rugged and comprise fluviatile, loessic and lacustrine deposits. Over a period of time, the lake has become eutrophic and its waters are virtually choked by an abundance of underwater weeds and articles thrown in by tourists during the peak seasons.
This lake is fed by precipitation and rainwater and boasts of no major channels for water inflow. Various mountain streams and snow fed seasonal rivers empty themselves into the lake and provide it with vast water resources. The outflow of Manasbal Lake is regulated through artificial means and is connected with the sparkling waters of River Jhelum beyond.
Tourists visiting Manasbal Lake can feast their eyes on the local population using its waters for fishing, obtaining fodder/food and harvesting lotus rootstocks for their living. The terrestrial eco system of the lake is endangered due to these activities with environmentalists and people dedicated to the preservation of eco-resources trying their level best to keep the areas around the lake clean and free from pollutants.
Catchment areas of Manasbal Lake provide tourists with rich experiences of seeing plenty of organic vegetation under cultivation. They love to pick fresh apples and mulberries directly from their stalks in the orchards fringing the lake. Vast stretches of farmlands growing wheat, maize and yellow mustard add to the ethereal charm and natural beauty of the lake. Groves of willow trees as well as royal chinar called Badshah Boni excite tourists with their opulent display of seasonal hues and colors.
Manasbal Lake also boasts of an ancient Hindu temple which is located on its eastern shores. It is believed that this temple was constructed during 800-900 AD and showcases traditional architectural styles of ancient Kashmir.