In May 2017, I was lucky enough to have a short visit to Srinagar in Kashmir. My friend, who I’d been travelling in India with, owned a houseboat on Dal Lake and that was my home for 4 nights.
Usually, a tourist trip on Dal lake lasts around three hours, or so, but my friend, (who actually lives on the lake and who was very eager to be a great host), organised a trip for us both for the whole day. We ended up being out on the water for ten, beautiful hours!
I absolutely love the Shikaras. The style of them and the fancy, colourful decorative designs make me very happy! These gorgeous wooden boats can be seen everywhere on the lake and certainly are not there just to ferry tourists around. Folks sell their fruit and veges and other market type goods from these quaint wooden boats. I was soon to learn how comfortable and relaxing they were to lie in, as that is what I spent the majority of my day doing. That and a bit of rowing along with lots of time taking photos and making videos of the incredible views of the lake and the majestic Himalayan mountains in the distance.
We stopped off at a floating restaurant where we bought an incredibly tasty veg biryani. I felt so happy! Just floating along, looking out at the beautiful scenery and eating tasty Indian food. It doesn’t get better than this!
One of the things I noticed about our ride on Dal Lake was the extreme peace. Gone was the incessant beep of horns, which almost become white noise in the chaos of India streets. They were replaced by what felt at times like complete silence. All this beauty around me, watching the wonders of wildlife who call Dal Lake home caused such a sense of peace in my heart. Add to this the fact that all I could hear was the sound of nature and the gentle, rhythmic splosh of the boat oar on the water as we rowed slowly along, made me feel like I was in some sort of heaven. As the day progressed I became more and more deeply relaxed. It was sublime.
Another aspect of Dal Lake which astounded me was how clear the waters were in many places. The reflection of the trees and mountains made the lake look like it was made of glass. At times, I could see so far deep down below into the waters.
I lay on the soft cushions of the Shikara with my eyes closed, shaded from the hot sun by the roof and allowed my arm to flop gently over the side of this beautiful little boat, my hand swaying in the refreshingly cool water. Listening to the occasional sound of the curtains flapping in the breeze, I wondered when the last time was that I felt this happy.
At times, we took a break from moving and just stopped. We just stayed there in virtual silence, no one speaking, on the stillness of Dal Lake.
We finally wound our way back home in the late afternoon and reached back to the houseboat at 18:30pm. We’de been out for ten hours. The ten best hours I can remember spending in very many years. If you’d like to watch the video about my beautiful day, please click here 🙂
I feel incredibly grateful for that special day on Dal Lake. I will always remember it.