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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.

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

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Comments (26) Closed



Taimoor Khan Aug 11, 2014 08:27pm

Looks very familiar with lake Saif-ul-Muluk in Kaghan, Pakistan.

rahul Aug 11, 2014 09:04pm

Lake will be saved now that muslim pilgrims have arrived!!

kashmiri pandit Aug 11, 2014 09:18pm

im a kashmiri pandit & i have every right on jammu & kashmir, this lake has a historical significance for us & why not these separatist protest about pollution in dal lake it is 40% contaminated but no they will happily throw stone on indian army personal protesting against Israel offensive in gaza

Assad Aug 11, 2014 09:45pm

Make sure you have made arrangements to treat severe hypothermia before you take a dip in the lake.

Piyaray Raina Aug 11, 2014 09:46pm

Long back I worked as a geologist in Kashmir and visited this wonderful lake. It was such a divine experience.I wish it remains outside the political and communal reach. Let us celebrate it as a divine gift to humanity. Thanks

susheel Aug 11, 2014 10:30pm

Mr.Qadri seems to be totally ignorant. Kounsarnag nag has nothing to do with river jhelum.Source of jhelum is a place called Vyethveter nag close to the famous Verinag spring.

Vinod Dua Aug 11, 2014 10:50pm

The name Kashmir came from great sanatan saint name "Kashyap" and thats why its also called land of kashyap. When the sword of Islam converted almost every hindu community of Kashmir, Pundits in Kashmir seen some of most brutal onslaughts of islamic invasion and still survived, stand high.

From ages islamic forces consider pundits as their uttermost enemy, they tried every possible attempt to persecute this tiny community cause they know that this small community is single largest hurdle in formation of Islamic state of Kashmir. Mr Gilani, who is probably worlds biggest terrorist try every possible attempts to keep pundits outside the valley. In our tales there are storied of huns, mongols, mugals and let me assure Mr Gilani and likeminded that you all will became part of story but this is our land and we are here to flourish.

I remember how in seventies muslims tried to stop amaranth yatra and during nineties when terrorism was on its high they even killed large number of pilgrims every year but nither yatra stopped not the number decreased. In fact in last 20 years the number increased from 20,000 to almost a million pilgrims every year and I can understand how Gilani must be filling when they were heading crossing the valley.

Kounsarnag yatra is one of most oldest pilgrimages for kasmiri and other north Indian pundits. People are going to Kounsarnag every year for last 2500 years and even during the most disturbing periods of militancy this yatra was never been stopped although surely number declined. All hindu nationalist should must start to promote to Kounsarnag Yatra so more and more people start to come to Kashmir and Kounsarnag yatra flourish like Amarnath Yatra.

Tamilselvan Aug 12, 2014 12:48am

@susheel Look at all the facilities provided by Saudi authorities for the pilgrims to visit Mecca and Medina. They have a duty to their pilgrims. Will Mr. Qadari object to the number of visitors going there of Saudi goverment's construction of hotels and places to stay in the barren land using the same pollution as an excuse? Let him talk about the pollution created in the Dal lake and help clean it and not be a hinderance to the authorities when attempting to do so.

Asim Bhat Aug 12, 2014 04:07am

@Vinod Dua I am a 5th generation muslim from a kashmiri Pandit family and in my family tree, I can still locate my hindu cousins who were living very close to our home from centuries until 1990 . As far as our family conversion is concerned our parents were very impressed by Sufi Islam from Central Asia and we did not convert the way you portray it. This kind of fabricated history is written in extremist RSS and VHP books. I don't agree with you at all!

Asim Bhat Aug 12, 2014 04:10am

@kashmiri pandit Always welcome, it is your lake, its your home. Lets not make it political and communal. Nobody will stop anyone if we just keep things low, out of media!

turner Aug 12, 2014 07:48am

@Vinod Dua I think you should serious think about Jihad in Kashmir to fight for Kashmiri pundit rights, you need to become a mujahid, you need to get back your land conquered and occupied by these outsiders(Muslims) who are oppressing you.

A Kashifi Aug 12, 2014 09:42am

Kounsarnag sounds similar to K

Hello Aug 12, 2014 10:34am

Keep muslims happy in India on the cost of Hindus. So much for secular India.

sattar rind Aug 12, 2014 11:02am

leave this natural beauty as it is....

turner Aug 12, 2014 11:05am

@Vinod Dua The earlier post of mine was sarcasm I believe in Aman(peace) and co-existence rather than Jihad. Sorry If I have hurt anyone.

Pakistani Aug 12, 2014 07:07pm

Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan.

M. Siddique Aug 12, 2014 07:45pm

@Vinod Dua, who brought that sword? Your historical facts are very rusty.

salman cheema Aug 13, 2014 02:50am

Kashmiri Pandits have every right as Kashmiri Muslims to visit their holy site. May they learn to coexist together for their own sake.

John Aug 13, 2014 09:30am

@Pakistani Since when?

Abdul Latif Aug 13, 2014 10:23am

@kashmiri pandit You are paid agents of BJP now. Dont you see what a kashmiri pandit says

Navneet Sharma Aug 13, 2014 10:47am

@Asim Bhat if tomorrow someone converts you to some other religion forcefully, i am sure you will say the same thing about ur new religion too....

j k sinha Aug 13, 2014 07:20pm

The whole area including the lake looks stunning. Must preserve the ecological balance of the region. Only limited tourism should be permitted. No tourist should be allowed to bring in plastics or non biodegradable stuff.

S L tickoo Aug 14, 2014 10:44am

It is alright for Muslims to offer Namaz at the lake with a Pakistani flag in the background but ecology will get destroyed if pandits pay obeissance at the Vishnu pad(Kounsar Nag is believed to be abode of Vishnu).It has been seen world over that muslims somehow can not co exist with others.Once they gain some power they begin subjugation of non-believers.Unless this mindset does not change world can not be a peaceful place.

indoaryan Aug 14, 2014 03:42pm

If muslims can go and pray ( as in the photographs ) on this lake, why can't Hindus do it ? India is a Hindu / Sikh country, every one has the right to go and pray where ever they like.

Krish Chennai Aug 14, 2014 09:49pm

What absolute and total beauty. Speechless, is the only thing anyone can say. Let there be peace in this land, even if not in the adjoining lands !

Khalid Aug 16, 2014 04:01pm

Be happy, be peaceful, Let's all have a "Beef burger"