Dal Lake
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When God created the Universe, he must have been partial to Kashmir. The mesmerizing natural beauty leaves me in awe each time I think of this beautiful place. The 10 days in Kashmir left me craving for more. I cannot wait to go back again.

One of the most famous and most frequented tourist destinations in India is the Dal Lake in Srinagar. In spite of being the touristy place that it is, there’s a charm and positive thrill which makes it stunning, beautiful, mesmerizing – all at the same time. The archaic yet classic houseboats; and, the colorful and cozy shikaras glam up the Lake. The shikaras have quirky names and are lined up along the ghats waiting to be picked up by happy tourists. After having a long walk on the Boulevard Road (the road alongside Dal Lake), we decided to go for the Shikara Ride from Ghat No – 12.

As dramatic and cliched as it may sound – Time stood still. Yes, it did. For the first time, I felt that the time had slowed down and has ALLOWED me to enjoy the bounteous natural beauty around me. For some time, I just sat quietly feeling the peace I have never felt before. Looking at Shyam, I could see that he was feeling the same.

Must-do list when you are planning for a Shikara Ride in Dal Lake, Srinagar –

1. Have Zafrani Kahwa and some Pakodas from the floating hotels on Dal Lake. The Shikara Wala will stop for sure. But just in case he does not, ask him to! One of the best Kahwa’s I’ve had in Kashmir. The smell of Kesar (Zafran) and Dry Fruits is very soothing and lifts up your spirits (even more) 🙂

2. Visit the floating market. It is like a small town in itself and almost everything is available there. I saw a tailor, barber and even a small medical shop. I was amazed to see people making a living there. They live and work in Dal lake.

3. Go for a long walk on the Boulevard Road. It gives you a different picture of the lake. Talk to the locals, go for some shopping, have a Chai and then gear up for the Shikara Ride. Also, do not miss the beautiful sunset. The beautiful evening sky and the Shikaras on Dal Lake look nothing less than a painting.

We were not content with just one Shikara ride, we went again on the last day of our trip. We went in the night around 7:30 PM. It was pitch dark with just some light coming in from the houseboats and the roads. The mosquitoes were a menace but it was a different experience altogether. Having experienced the Shikara Ride in the evening and night, I wonder how it feels to be on a Shikara early in the morning. That’s for my next trip to Kashmir.

Aren’t we so lucky that Kashmir is in India? As I finish writing this post, I wish I could go back to Kashmir – Truly, a heaven on earth. I miss being there. Don’t forget to check out the rest of my travel posts from Kashmir.

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