I spent a day in a houseboat on Dal Lake. I had less than 24 hours in Srinagar after my trek to Great Lakes of Kashmir, before I take my flight back home. I wanted to make the most of the time I had here. Kashmir had already stolen my heart in the past days I spent on the trek. I wanted to experience living in the "much-talked about" house boats on the Dal Lake. There is a lot of discussion on the internet which suggests to choose staying on Nagini lake over Dal lake. But I had something very special planned for Dal Lake, I wanted to learn about the life of locals on Dal Lake.
As a solo traveler and backpacker, I never book in advance as a habit. I generally walk-around a place to select the best accommodation for myself. I didn't know how would I do that on a lake when the driver dropped me near the Dal Lake in the afternoon. There was a line of Shikhara-walas trying to recommend a houseboat to me. I hired a Shikhara to drop me to a houseboat that was recommended to me by some local I had met on the trek. The houseboat was in a tranquil, hind side of the main lake. The boat was beautiful but I wanted to see more boats on the main side before I choose this.
The handsome owner of the houseboat was a Kashmiri. He, along with his parents, had migrated to Europe but came back to his roots. He was kind enough to take me around in his own Shikhara to show me other houseboats on the main side of the Dal Lake.
It was a pretty scene to witness so many shikharas on the Dal lake, something that I had only seen in pictures earlier. But this part of the lake was more touristy and chaotic. The tourists were taking rounds of Shikhara ride and the Shikhara walas were constantly looking for their prospective customers. The houseboats of all shapes and sizes were decked up close to eachother, it was literally possible to hop on one houseboat to another.
I generally go silent for a couple of weeks after every trek. I wanted my space and peace. I asked the owner to take me back to his houseboat. He joked with me that I made him give me a free Shikhara ride, that too on his fasting days of Roza! Never mind, our conversations on the Shikhara ride were interesting, I hope he didn't mind the efforts!
I finally hopped on to this houseboat. It was a cluster of 8-10 houseboats, surrounded with the greens of the lake and the land.
The houseboat had a deck. I got ample time to spend with myself here. The vibe in this part was so pleasant that it felt like the time stood still. Neither could the boat move, nor could I. I observed the mountains glow in the dark when the stars and the moon showed up.
Only a few locals rode their Shikharas through this part of the lake.
The boat was actually a houseboat, with proper drawing room, dining room and bedrooms with attached bathrooms. Every room was luxuriously furnished and decorated with Kashmiri handicrafts. The colourful wall-hangings and carpets complemented the wooden walls.
The dining room was well decorated with antique style wooden chairs and table. The beautiful chandelier and other artefacts on the sides gave a feeling of the ancient times.
Dinner was cooked in Kashmiri style flavoured with local spices. - Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Rogan Josh and Pulao. I'm sound more interested in the cinnamon flavored Kashmiri Kahwa after dinner.
My cosy little bedroom, just perfect for me to have a peaceful sleep after sleeping in the tents on the 8 days long trek.
I wanted to buy the Kashmiri style dangling earrings (called 'Athoor' in local language) for myself. I enquired about it from the owner and he called up a seller, who came down in his Shikhara for a door-step service.
I had my flight back to Pune the next afternoon. It was my first night on the bed after trekking for 7 continuous days, yet, I woke up at 3:30 am next morning to head out to explore the Life on Dal Lake at 4:00 am. Yes, that's the enthusiastic traveler I am!
Namaste! I'm Medhavi Davda.
I travel to Evolve..
In Nature, I confide..
I find my calling in the Himalayas..
In the Oceans, I meditate..
A High-Altitude Trekker & PADI certified SCUBA Diver, I love exploring the heights and depths of the planet with my regular doses of mountains and oceans.
Discovering myself & life through nature, adventures, travels, sports and dance has been an addiction since my existence!
Quite fond of the natural & cultural diversity of India, I've travelled extensively in my own country before exploring international destinations.
I had left my 9+ yrs of career in Software Industry in a quest to make a living out of my passions. I packed my basics in my car (gave away the rest) and lived in different parts of Himachal Pradesh for 16 months. This invaluable time taught me to experience life from a broader perspective.
I'm currently living in Mumbai to work with an Adventure Travel company as a product manager for Scuba Diving. I continue living a minimalistic life.
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Indian Cultural Heritage in Madhya Pradesh - my outdoor history classroom