Staying in a house boat and shikara ride on the Dal lake was the highlight of our short stay at Srinagar. The house boat where we were staying had intricately decorated wooden furniture’s in traditional Kashmiri style. We had to open our shoes outside. The main hall led to the dinning space leading to our bedroom. Each house boat had around 3-4 rooms for guests. The owner usually stayed on the rear end of the boat. After a quick refreshment in our room we headed out for a shikara ride. Shikara’s are traditional wooden boats of various sizes used by locals as a daily mode of transportation in and around the lake.
The Shikara Ride :
It was around 6.45 pm in the evening and the golden hour of the day was picture perfect. We went towards the central part of the lake. The clear weather was the perfect setting for a spectacular sunset. Apart from tourist many locals were selling a variety of items on their boats. There were floating stalls of jewelleries, gift items, kababs, ice creams, and fruits. Some of them were even selling vegetables on the lake. I could not resist myself from the mouthwatering Lichi flavored ice cream. One of the floating food joint served us Kahwa (a Kashmiri herbal tea) and potato chips. We headed towards the other corner of the lake to get a clear view of the sunset.
Later we went to a floating market to get some souvenirs. After an hour and half I ended up buying a Pashmina shawl, a blanket and a jacket. Pure Pashmina, premium quality wool is produced mostly in the northern parts of Ladakh. It can easily pass through a ring. They were known to produce cooling effect in summer and warming effect in the winter. Fortunately the shop had facility of home delivery at a nominal charge. I parceled the blanket and jacket. At around 10 pm we headed to Boulevard road for dinner. The road was full of youths hanging out and enjoying the chilly evening. I found a shop selling chicken kebabs and fish fry. At a very reasonable price, they were one of the best I have ever had. The meat ball curry and rice dish was not a complete success though. After dinner our host had sent a smaller boat for us to return to our house boat. After a session of chit chat with another group who had arrived later in the evening from Leh we rested for the night.
Ride from Batote to Srinagar- http://www.wandererdoc.in/2017/08/ride-to-patnitop-batote-srinagar-jammu-kashmir/