Heaven is a place on earth. And that place is Kashmir.
I could not find a better sentence to begin this post with. If you follow me on Instagram, you must be knowing that I was traveling to Kashmir. It was special as I traveled with Shyam for the first time. We always dreamed of traveling together. And, Kashmir was a dream come true for both of us. I will be sharing my experiences and a lot of pictures here. So, come along and have fun.
Lily of Nageen
We stayed in a houseboat for the first three days and it was a beautiful experience. We stayed at the Lily of Nageen group of houseboats located at Nigeen Lake (It is called Nigeen Lake, and, not Nageen Lake). We chose a houseboat in Nigeen Lake because it is more calm and less commercialized compared to Dal Lake. Well, more on that later. Staying in a houseboat is an experience by itself. The houseboats are made with walnut wood so that it can withstand the water currents. Intricate carvings on the wood, the beautiful Kashmiri embroidery on the quilts and the whole houseboat was tastefully done.
We were welcomed with hot Kashmiri Kahwa, which was truly a delight. Sitting on the roof top, listening to the faint sound of the birds and watching the Shikara’s – It was like a dream. Time stands still. It takes you to a different world. I sat there sipping my Kahwa until dusk. A welcome change it was, to my fast life. Lily of Nageen group of houseboats is a good option because of it’s connectivity to the roads. Also, the owner and the staff are very helpful.
For most of the time we had the whole house-boat to ourselves, otherwise the dining area, roof top and the porch are shared. Our house boat also had an in-house cook. Our cook in the house boat was a Kashmiri and we were served authentic Kashmiri food, which was a treat. Our breakfast also had Kashmiri breads, which tasted delicious with the Kahwa.
House boats are a must do if you are visiting Srinagar – be it as a couple or as a family. Truly an experience to cherish. Sharing some pictures here. Hope you enjoy.
How to select a houseboat in Srinagar and things you must know before booking one –
1. You can choose your houseboat on Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake or Jhelum river. Dal lake is pretty crowded while Jhelum doesn’t give you the most scenic views. Opt for Nigeen if you want to be in a calmer environment with a beautiful view.
2. Call your house boat owner before booking online. That way you develop a rapport with your owner and also know about the other services offered as part of the stay. For example, we had a free airport pickup. Sometimes they also arrange a complimentary Shikara ride. So call up!
3. If you choose a houseboat on Dal Lake , verify if the charges for commuting via Shikara is included in the package. If it is not, you’ll have to pay for the Shikara rides. Houseboats on the Dal lake do not have road access, so every time you want to go out you need a Shikara ride. This is the advantage about Nigeen Lake. It has both road and water access. So one does not need a Shikara.
4. Most house boats have an in-house cook who are Kashmiri’s and are always happy to cook for you an elaborate Kashmiri meal. Do not miss that.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Have you stayed in a houseboat? If yes, please share your experience with me. Stay tuned for more of Kashmir.