Shikara Ride At Dal Lake, Srinagar


If there is anything called ‘Paradise on the Earth’, it has to be Kashmir. Kashmir is perhaps one of the most beautiful places not just in India, but across the world! Last May, I visited Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir,  for a day before I proceeded towards Leh-Ladakh and how could I not experience the shikara ride on the magnificent Dal Lake, something I had secretly dreamt of since the time I have  known about this ‘jewel in the crown of Kashmir’?

It was late afternoon and the light was somewhat pale, signalling the sliding down of the evening time. After a stroll at the beautiful Moghul Gardens in Srinagar, we decided to go for a shikara ride at the vast expanse of water that looked enticing, especially because it is so comfortably cradled in the lap of green and tawny mountains, blue sky with soft puffs of clouds floating by and hundreds of shikaras floating across the lake like miniature royal cruise.

A quick bargain and the deal was finalised at Rs 1800 for this hour-long ride that would forever be etched in our memories. I hopped into the shikara and soon I could feel the tradition come alive! The seats, the cushions and the song- ‘chupke se sunn…iss pal ki dhun..’ that my imagination kept playing non-stop on a rewind mode- my heart throbbed with excitement and joy like never before as I ticked  off this one item that had always been on my bucket list.

There were floating shops, simple Kashmiri folks in shikaras selling antique showpiece and traditional Kashmiri jewellery. There were house-boats and shops galore selling authentic Kashmiri shawls, woollen items, sarees, dress materials and other fascinating things.

This ride in the shikara is something that I will forever associate with the travel memories so close to my heart, as it allowed me to experience the true essence of  Kashmir so closely and so beautifully.

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