A scenic and a calm lake situated about 32 kilometres from the city of Srinagar of J&K, the Manasbal lake is considered to be one of the least known waterbodies despite its proximity to the city. The lake is seated in the Valley of Jhelum and covers an area of up to 22 kilometres in length with a depth of 12 metres. Its name was derived from the holy lake of Manusarvar which skirts the mountains of Kailash. Despite being a least popular lake, it is considered to be one of the jewels of Kashmir amongst the numerous lakes.
The lake is surrounded by a number of majestic hills and is filled with lotus plantation and other vegetation, especially during the times of summer, which attracts a lot of aquatic birds. During the times of Spring, a number of watercress plantation can be viewed on the northern and eastern shores of the lake. A fissure can be seen in the middle of the lake, which runs from east to west of Manasbal. The lake is considered to have no major inflow channels, and so its water supply is managed through water inflow that comes in the season of Spring and also the precipitation.
It is predominantly surrounded by the three villages of Kondabal, Jarokbal and Gratbal which overlooks the waterbody. The locals of the area, use the lake as a source of water and also use the waterbody for fishing purposes for getting food and also use the plants for fodder. Many of them, are also involved in harvesting the rootstocks of the lotus plantation, that are extensively used for eating, all over the State.
The lake is construed to be one of the ancient waterbodies where its origin is still uncertain. Some of the Locals believe that the lake is bottomless, where over the years, the human pressure resulted in the lake to become eutrophic. The waterbody contains a lot of submerged weeds, especially during the times of Summer, where the lake is considered to be at the height of Tourist Season. A number of water-skiing activities apart from other water sport activities can be done as a part of tourism. The lake also has facilities for Shikara riding, which is considered to be the Kashmir counterparts of Venice’s Gondolas. They are small wooden boats that are better suited to be ridden by three to four people.
Today, to protect the lake from littering and pollution, a number of conservation projects has been undertaken by the Government as well as the public to restore the glory of Manasbal lake.