Manasbal Lake is located in the Jhelum valley, north of Srinagar
city in the State of Jammu
. The name Manasbal is said to be a derivative of the Lake Manasarovar. Lake is encircled by three villages viz., Jarokbal, Kondabal (also called Kiln place, is situated on the north-eastern side of the lake) and Ganderbal
and is stated to be the deepest lake (at 13 m/43 ft depth) in the Kashmir Valley
The large growth of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) at the periphery of the lake (blooms during July and August) adds to the beauty of the clear waters of the lake. The Mughal garden, called the Garoka, (meaning bay window) built by Nur Jahan overlooks the lake.
The lake is a good place for birdwatching as it is one of the largest natural stamping grounds of Aquatic birds in Kashmir and has the sobriquet of "supreme gem of all Kashmir Lakes". The rootstocks of lotus plant which grows extensively in the lake are harvested and marketed, and also eaten by the local people. The lake is approached from Srinagar by a 30-kilometre (19 mt) road via Shadipur, Nasim and Gandarbal. Road to Wular Lake
, the largest lake in Kashmir, passes through this lake, via Safapur.
Important vegetation in the catchment of the lake comprise Orchards (apple, mulberry), some Platanus (Chinar trees) and Salix trees. Safar, a nearby village of Safapur which has a grove of Chinar trees, is known as Badshah Boni, royal Chinar, and was planted in imitation of the Nasim Bagh in Srinagar. Maize, mustard and wheat are generally the main crops grown in the agricultural lands of the catchment. In recent years, land use pattern has changed with more land used for horticulture and also diversion of land for construction purposes.
The weather is pleasant in the months of May and August, when the lake offers water skiing sport, which is now becoming an increasingly popular activity in many rivers and lakes in India. Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department (JKTD) provides essential water skiing equipment and trained instructors to adventure seekers. The lake’s surface sheen and its long length and width attract tourists to water skiing sport.
Wullar-Manasbal Development Authority has reported unearthing of an ancient Hindu temple, on the eastern shore of the Manasbal Lake, built in the traditional architectural style of ancient Kashmir. The lower half of the temple, which was buried in earth, was found during the restoration works undertaken for the lake. Dated to 800-900 AD, during Avantivarman or Sankaravarman rule, based on epigraphic writings, the temple, constructed in local grey stone, has a unique pyramid-shaped roof top with Corinthian or floral motifs.