Claimed to be the largest freshwater lake in India, the
Wular lake can spread over nearly 200-sq-kms but its actual surface area
tends to vary during the year. The Jhelum River flows into the lake, 40-km
downstream from Srinagar, and then out again.
The lake, calm though it may appear, is noted for the fierce winds that sometimes blow up. The deepest part of the lake is known as Mota Khon, the 'Gulf of corpses', since the bodies of people drowned in the lake were all supposed to be washed to this place. At one time there was an artificial island on the lake, where boatmen could shelter if the weather turned bad, but silting on that side of the lake has joined the island to the lakeside. It's now a popular picnic spot.
PLACES TO LOOK AROUND
There are several large towns or other places of interest around the shore of the lake.
Sopur, at the south end of the lake where the Jhelum leaves it, is noted for its fruit growing - particularly Apples and Walnuts. The main resort town for the lake is Ningal Nullah, 5-km from Sopur. From here one can hire sailing boats to cruise on the lake or for fishing.
Lolab Valley & Bungas
Beyond Sopur is the Lolab valley, reached either by a road from Sopur or by following the bridal path from Kiuhnus. To the west of the Lolab valley there is an extensive flat meadow called Bungas, at 2,896 metres above sea level and 114-km from Srinagar . It's like an undeveloped Gulmarg.
Kiuhnus bay is a small valley 20-km from Sopur and 12-km from Bandipur. Further up this valley of the Madumati River there are several waterfalls.
The important town of Bandipur, famous for its woven blankets, is on the eastern shore of the lake, at the foot of the 3,355 metres Tragbal Pass. On the northwest side of the lake, near Ashtiung, there is a Ziarat or shrine to Baba Shukur-ud-Din, a disciple or the saint Nur-ud-Din.
Baramula, to the south west of the lake, was on the main route to Rawalpindi, the chief route from Kashmir to the Indian plains prior to independence. Roads also run from here to Gilgit and Hunza, into what is now the restricted zone controlled by Pakistan. Baramula is the legendary place from which Vishnu is said to have drained the waters, which once filled the Kashmir valley.
Close to Shadipur, where the Sindh River flows into the Jhelum, there are the ruins of a number of Hindu and Buddhist shrines. Shadipur has a camping site and is noted for the abundant fish in the waters around it.
Narmarg Narmarg, above the lake, is a popular trekking centre.
Houseboats, Doongas and sailing boats can be hired on the lake. The three main mooring places are at Ningal Nullah, Kiuhnus Bay and at Ajus Spur on the south east side. Around the lake there are various canals, which lead through the silt at the river mouths up into the rivers themselves. One of the best is to the Erin valley, which starts from Nodhal and winds 6½-km up to two high altitude lakes.
Road: Buses leave the tourist reception centre in Srinagar in the morning for a day trip around Wular Lake and back. The bus first stops at Anchar Lake, then on to Safapur, to stop at Manasbal Lake, thence to Bandipur, 56-km away. This is followed by lunch at Watlab where there is a government rest house, and a tour of the mosque of Baba Sakar-ud-Din, then on to Sopur. The lake can be reached by river as well as road.