Kounsarnag lake in eye of the storm in Indian-held Kashmir

Published August 11, 2014
Kounsarnag is a high-altitude oligotrophic lake located in the Pir Panjal Range in the Kulgam District of Indian-held Kashmir. — Haziq Qadri
Kounsarnag is a high-altitude oligotrophic lake located in the Pir Panjal Range in the Kulgam District of Indian-held Kashmir. — Haziq Qadri
Kashmiri Muslims praying after trekking the mountains to reach the pictureseque Kounsarnag Lake. — Haziq Qadri
Kashmiri Muslims praying after trekking the mountains to reach the pictureseque Kounsarnag Lake. — Haziq Qadri
According to environmental experts, Kashmir's glaciers are melting at a fast rate and if Kounsarnag was developed as a pilgrimage spot then the construction in the area would be disastrous for the ecosystem in Kashmir. — Haziq Qadri
According to environmental experts, Kashmir's glaciers are melting at a fast rate and if Kounsarnag was developed as a pilgrimage spot then the construction in the area would be disastrous for the ecosystem in Kashmir. — Haziq Qadri
Local analysts say increased activity has led to a speedier melting of ice, cutting of trees and littering in the region. — Haziq Qadri
Local analysts say increased activity has led to a speedier melting of ice, cutting of trees and littering in the region. — Haziq Qadri
Mollen pothole is a pond-like shape carved in a thick snow bed by the  water from the Kounsarnag Lake. — Haziq Qadri
Mollen pothole is a pond-like shape carved in a thick snow bed by the water from the Kounsarnag Lake. — Haziq Qadri
The lake is located in a valley that is surrounded by peaks on all sides with elevation of over 4000 metres above sea level. — Haziq Qadri
The lake is located in a valley that is surrounded by peaks on all sides with elevation of over 4000 metres above sea level. — Haziq Qadri
To the southeast of the Pir Panchal range lies the Kounsarnag  Lake surrounded by three peaks. It is fed by glaciers and is said to be a source of the Jhelum river. In the spring and summer, the water is some 40-ft higher than in winter. In the spring, the lake's surface is said to be covered with icebergs which are driven about by the wind. — Haziq Qadri
To the southeast of the Pir Panchal range lies the Kounsarnag Lake surrounded by three peaks. It is fed by glaciers and is said to be a source of the Jhelum river. In the spring and summer, the water is some 40-ft higher than in winter. In the spring, the lake's surface is said to be covered with icebergs which are driven about by the wind. — Haziq Qadri
The lake has much ecological importance as it provides water to half of southern Kashmir's districts. — Haziq Qadri
The lake has much ecological importance as it provides water to half of southern Kashmir's districts. — Haziq Qadri

Kounsarnag is in the eye of a new controversy in Kashmir. The controversy erupted when a group of Kashmiri Pandits asked the state government to allow them to proceed for an annual yatra to the Kounsarnag lake from the valley side, which was opposed by a number of locals and pro-freedom political parties.

The lake has much ecological importance as it provides water to half of southern Kashmir's districts. The civil society of Kashmir has opposed the move citing what it calls "cultural aggression" by India in the region to undermine its Muslim majority demographic.

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