Dal Lake

McLeod Ganj may be famous for its Tibetan refuge and The Dalai Lama, but there's a small lake available to visitors during the warmer months, too. With a humble size, Dal Lake is a gorgeous retreat for trekkers, spiritual seekers and curious minds.

Trekking around the Lake

One of the most enjoyable activities in and around the lake is hiking. Indeed, a favorite trek to Naddi Village is easily accessible from here. Also, the Dharamkot Loop is a 10-mile hike that can start in either the town of Dharamkot or McLeod Ganj.

Typically, choose a cool day in spring or fall for these extended hikes. Remember, the elevation might be a challenge along with the terrain. The reward is a look at India's natural surroundings, including bird watching, mountain views and plentiful flowers.

Watery Adventures

Naturally, appreciating the lake's resources is at the top of most visitors' itineraries. First, try to spot some of the fish that call Dal Lake home. Typically, the water has a dark green hue, but a close look reveals a lake full of life in the warmer months.

Amazingly, the lake's dark reflection makes it a perfect location for photographs. As the sun rises, the surrounding cedar trees cast their reflection in the water. A photograph here provides a distinct silhouette of trees across the entire lake.

For a unique treat, rent a small boat to float out on Dal Lake. These colorful vessels allow you to relax in the middle of the lake. However, these boats are available during the warmer months only.

Discovering the Shiva Temple

Overlooking Dal Lake is the Shiva Temple. If you're exploring your spiritual side, pray or meditate at the temple. Many followers visit the temple as they worship Lord Shiva, including the Gaddi Tribe. Indeed, catching a glimpse of these followers in the lake is a possibility as they cleanse themselves before worship.

Remarkably, the Shiva Temple is a reminder of how spirituality and nature coexist in India. The structure resides among the native trees, which can be a destination for visitors as well. It's not unusual to see followers praying outside the temple throughout the year.

Exploring the Dal Fair

To boost tourism in the area, locals hold the Dal Fair every September. Here, celebrations surrounding Lord Shiva are the attraction. Everyone is welcome, including religious followers and visitors.

Skipping the Winter Season

With an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet above sea level, Dal Lake has cold winters. Truthfully, it's not unusual for the lake to either freeze or dry up entirely. Also, snow tends to hinder any outdoor activities. Ideally, visit Dal Lake between May and November so that you can participate in as many activities as possible.

Because of the lake's small size, it doesn't attract huge crowds. Find serenity at Dal Lake with its quiet surroundings and mountain backdrop.

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