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Kashmir is synonymous with natural beauty, Dal Lake, shikara and houseboats.The Dal Lake is 8 Km long and 4 Km wide spreads over a total of 26 Sq Km. The magnificent lake is divided into two smaller ones, Lokut (small) and Bod (big) Dal.
Houseboats and the Dal Lake go hand in hand. Nicknamed “floating palaces” built according to British customs. The houseboats made from local cedar-wood and measuring upto 24–38 metres (79–125 ft) in length and 3–6 metres (9.8–20 ft) in width come with lavishly furnished rooms.The houseboats are moored on the lake periphery.
Complete with verandas,terrace and sun-decks, evenings under the open skies are a treat.Moored along the western periphery of the lake, the boats are anchored individually. Interconnecting bridges provide access from one boat to the other. The kitchen-boat is annexed to the main houseboat, making it easy to provide food and refreshments to the tourists.
Ferrying tourist in a Shikara or paddled taxi boat is the exclusive for every Houseboat. Made of wood with a canopy and a spade shaped bottom, the shikara is a cultural symbol of Kashmir.It is a common means of transport across the Dal Lake. The Shikara is used for vending fruits, vegetables and flowers, fishing and harvesting of aquatic vegetation.
The boatsmen dressed in “Phiron” (traditional dress) carry ‘Kangris’ or portable heaters on the boat. A shikara seats six people with heavily cushioned seats and backrests providing comfort in Mughul style. The shikara services for sightseeing are free of charge.
The serene lake gets some water from springs and the mountain lake, Mar Sar. The shores being very rich and fertile are dotted by willows.Potato, tomato, pumpkin, cucumber, radish and lots of other vegetables are grown in the floating gardens.
The intricate waterways and channels,floating islands of vegetation, shikara, houseboats and scenic beauty. Dal Lake will take your breath away. Indian Eagle offers the cheapest airfare to Kashmir. Book at www.indianeagle.com