The army has undertaken an ambitious cleaning drive of the Gangabal Lake situated on the foothills of Harmukh peak in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

A statement issued by 34 Assam Rifles under headquarters 3 sector RR said that a cleaning campaign has been started on Thursday as part of the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ (Catch the Rain) along with the civil administration to educate the local population and tourists about the importance of keeping the Gangabal Lake and its surroundings clean.

Gangabal Lake is situated on the foothills of Harmukh peak in Ganderbal district. It is an alpine high altitude oligotrophic lake which is home to many species of fish, including the brown trout, which was introduced by the British in 1902.

“The lake has been a major tourist attraction for many years and has been visited by national and international tourists. It is a major source of income for tourist guides. Due to a heavy influx of tourists, the area has been flooded with garbage and trash which pose a serious threat to the ecology of the area,” the statement said.

It must be recalled that the Gangabal Lake is the holiest lake for the members of the Kashmiri Pandit community who have been carrying the ashes of their departed souls for immersion in the lake from even before the migration of the community from Kashmir in early 1990s.

The Naranag temple site also falls on the way to the Lake. Famous local historian and Sanskrit scholar Kulhana is believed to have written his historical magnum opus, the ‘Rajatarangini’ at the Naranag temples in the 12th century.

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