Houseboats on Lake Dal


Srinigar was once at the end of the great trail north for India's visitors. War put paid to that for many years. Reopened, but still shabby, travel into the far north east of India and experience the peace of Srinigar, the legendary houseboats and the wonderful location

It was once THE place to visit, then there was a long lull like an arrested gasp waiting to exhale and now it's back on tourist maps. The Shangri-la that is Kashmir has always been captured with images of houseboats on Dal Lake. As with all things 'Jammu & Kashmir', the very heavenly nature of the place has been its bane. Once you prepare yourself for the clich├ęd thing to do, you will be surprised at the whole experience the Dal Lake provides.

From the shikara boat ride to the moored houseboats with intricate carvings inside, the floating flower markets to the beautiful mountains all around, what you come away with is the feeling of discovery. The serendipity of it all envelops you instantly. The place is still paradisal and the fear of the world losing it all someday with the constant military strife around only adds to the often twisted joy of having made it here and seeing it all!

The River Jhelum feeds the Dal Lake and Nagin Lake where the famous houseboats of Kashmir stay afloat. The houseboats are owned by joint families who live off it with dwellings nearby using the smaller canoes or shikaras for commuting.

Wake up to sounds of shikaras gliding by taking children to schools. Observe the way of life here and the constant whispers about military among the folks here. Old-timers here will explain how the canals that feed the lake have narrowed down with encroachment.

Hear about the romantic Bollywood films shot here, the song and dance routines from shikaras to houseboats and more. Bollywood has once again come back to Kashmir eschewing international locations with more and more tourists flocking to Jammu and Kashmir once again.

Romance is in the air here, the beauty and the weather all add to the lure of Kashmir with its Shalimar Bagh (Mughal Gardens) filled with chinar and poplar trees that were planted by the besotted emperor Jahangir.

Take a late afternoon shikara ride that gives spectacular views and watch how the houseboats, more than 1500 of them, light up like opened treasure chests made of walnut wood when night falls.

Summer may be the popluar time to visit, however, the locals here find the winter more beautiful when everything becomes white and wisps of cotton float down on the lake and turns Kashmir into magic land. It is not difficult to understand how the phantasmagoric tales in Haroun and the Sea of Stories was inspired around the Dal Lake and Kashmir Valley. 

Highlights

  • a night on an old houseboat

In the Same Area:

  • Camping under the stars in Little Tibet

    Escape from the plains to this extraordinary camp near Leh surrounded by the mountains and with the River Indus flowing past. Beautiful tents and service combined with a very, very beautiful place!

  • Jesus in Kashmir?

    Tales and theories aplenty of Jesus's life after crucification or discover his life during the missing years in the cool icy weather of Kashmir. Hoax or not, Jesus is on the itinerary in Jammu and Kashmir with all roads leading to Roza bal Shrine of Youza Asouph, a preacher who some claim to be Jesus. 

  • Picture perfect Pahalgam

    Enjoy the once favourite shooting location of Bollywood blockbusters where screen lovers ran around trees, singing and dancing in love. Pahalgam is not just a pretty place it is also a town that sees Hindu pilgrims who head out to the Amarnath Cave where stalagmites form a Shivling shape every winter. 

  • Rock Art Hunting in the Himalayas

    It was only a century ago that archeologists discovered the rich heritage in rock art scattered across Ladakh. Why not follow your nose and explore the plateau and riversides of the Indus to find your own prehistoric art. What a wonderful way to attend to the land and its history!

  • Skiing in the Himalayas

    There is something magical about skiing in the Himalayas. In truth it does not match the great European or Rockies resorts, but there are no queues and the skiing is simple like it was 50 years ago in Europe. You got this far, clip on the skiis and schuss away.

  • Stalking a Reclusive Cat

    Catch a glimpse of the endangered and beautiful snow leopard in the arid and remote mountians of Ladakh. Sighting this cat is a thrill as it is famous for its reclusive nature and is a master at camouflage!

  • Whimsical & Scary - On the Road to Leh

    Gasp all the way along the Khardung La road, which is the highest motorable road in India. Why would one do it, you may ask? The beauty of the area and the thrill far outweigh the risks involved on getting the snaking road that seems to grip the mountainside to avoid the big drops below.

Quick Enquiry

Make a Quick Enquiry to the Karma Team

If you need some help and want to talk to us or get a quick answer, pop your details in here and we will get back to you ASAP. We need a phone number so we can get to you, if only to text a response.