The Dal Lake is a famous lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northernmost Indian administered state of Jammu & Kashmir. The lake itself is connected to a number of other lakes of the Kashmir valley. It is well known for its approximately 500 Victorian-era wooden houseboats, originally built as vacation homes for British administrators during the Raj. The lake covers 18 square kilometers, and is divided by causeways into four basins, called Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin. Lokut-dal and Bod-dal have an island each in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively.
Along most of the shore of the lake is a boulevard, lined with Mughal-era gardens, parks, and hotels. During the winter season the lake sometimes freezes over.
The lake has some interesting flora and fauna. The flora include lotus flower, water lillies and water chestnuts. Notable birds are kingfishers and heron.
Apart from the houseboats, the Lake and Waterways Dal Authority allows kayaking, canoeing, water surfing and licensed angling on the lake.
With the onset of militancy in the immediate area, tourism dwindled in the late 1980s and 1990s. However, after concerted efforts by the authorities, tourist inflow has slightly improved in the 21st century. Wi-Fi internet access was implemented across the lake in November 2003, making it the first lake in the world to provide wireless internet connectivity. Uncontrolled macrophytic growth, introduction of exotic species like azolla , salvinia etc and silt are major problems affecting the lake.