A dreamland for everyone who has been lusting for some relaxing moments amidst the breathtaking panorama of nature, Kashmir undeniably ranks on top. And at its heart lies the city of Srinagar, which has many glorious places that add to Kashmir’s array of perfect getaways and leisure destinations. The royal city of Nawabs is home to the magnificent Dal Lake, Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden, Tulip Gardens, and Pari Mahal, among others.
Srinagar’s Jewel – The Charming Dal Lake
Dal Lake is one of the most prominent lakes of India.Dotted with numerous beautiful sights, the city looks amazing in a canopy of landscaped flowering gardens, crystal clear lakes, magnificent structures, and bustling markets. Amidst the heavenly view of a serene sheet of water, stands Srinagar’s jewel, Dal Lake. This hillside lake is synonymous with the carved colourful wooden houseboats drifting casually through the placid waters and the misty peaks of the neighbouring Pir Panjal Mountains. The beauty of this pristine lake, spanning over 22 square kilometers, grows bountiful around every corner. Engulfed in this beautiful world, lies one of the most exhilarating things to do in Srinagar, taking a ride on the ‘Shikara’ or the small wooden carved boat, usually seen at Dal Lake and Nagin Lake.
Shikaras are long boats that crowd the Srinagar lakes and are extensively used to getting back and forth from the houseboats, for daily travel or for boating tours. They are well maintained and equipped with safety parameters like life jackets and lifebuoys, and it is worth taking a ride around the lake in these Gondola-type lightweight rowing boats.
Regaining the old world charm, the swift movement of a Shikara provides a unique way to experience the eternal beauty of Kashmir. One can but fail to witness the beauty of the flotillas of gaily painted Shikaras ferry around the lake, transporting goods to the market, kids to school, and travellers to delightful houseboats inspired by originals from the British era.
Boating on the Dal Lake
Boating in Kashmir can be one of the most soothing, restful aspects of a holiday in Jammu and Kashmir. The 2-hour boat ride, which can cost variably depending on your bargaining skills and the type of shikara, takes tourists on a soothing sightseeing tour of the interior parts of the calm waters of the Dal Lake and several other things to do and places to visit in Kashmir built in its vicinity.
A Shikara ride on Dal Lake Kashmir is a thrilling experience and a fun adventure for anyone who seeking a mix of nature and adventure in Srinagar. Get wooed by the panoramic vistas of the Zabarwan range and the vastness of the lake, symphonized with the curling waves formed by the shikarawala’s rowing.
The prolific beauty of the surrounding mountains combined with the scintillating waters of the lake is an experience beyond words. The beauty of this place is especially mesmerizing during the sunrise and sunset. The wooden boats with pointed ends on both sides with beautiful canopies overhead are a cultural symbol and seen only in Srinagar.
This is a ride that will build memories of a lifetime for you and your family and friends. Hence it is worth every penny to take this mesmerizing ride on the Dal Lake of Srinagar in a Shikara. Dal Lake also enjoys a good location, and is easily accessible from the rest of the city and well connected by local transport, taxis, and autos. And once you are here by the lakeside, you can also go explore other tourist places of Srinagar.
A unique Shikara Ride on Dal Lake Kashmir is not complete without a shopping experience in that of the lively lake market. This market includes a number of shops located right in the middle of the lake. The shops sell all sorts of goods including Kashmir’s specialties such as wooden artifacts, handmade earrings, carpets, Kashmiri handicrafts, saffron, and even Kashmiri ponchos and shawls.
There are three islands in the lake separated by the causeways that in itself is a major attraction. Houseboats with swimming facilities are allowed during summer and can be very refreshing. There are other interesting places to visit near Dal Lake, in particular, the pleasant Mughal gardens, ancient temple of Shankaracharya, the Island of Char Chinar, Nagin Lake, Chashme Shahi, Hazratbal Shrine, and Mazar-e-Shura Cemetery.
Dal Lake also serves as the best place for film shootings and photography enthusiast. The beautiful floating gardens of Dal Lake bring in people from all over the world to spend a relaxing time exploring the gentle waves of the water, the lush greenery around and the rocky terrains. Besides, the unique experiences associated with a Shikara ride also includes bird watching. The white-breasted kingfisher, pariah kites, little grebe, and other large striking birds with robust bills can easily be spotted on the branches of willow trees while enjoying boating in Kashmir.
Shikaras boats are the perfect medium to enjoy a delightful ride across the lake, and is a must go to if you are visiting Kashmir. The other thing, that draws tourists to the waters of Dal Lake are the houseboats or the stationary boats that serve as accommodation for anyone who would like to spend some quiet days staying on the lake. With a view of the Dal Lake in the background, they provide the most exquisite views of the lake and its surrounding mountains. Made from superior quality wood with intricate carvings and floral motifs, they range from a simple one-quarter affair to large lavish suites. The interiors are beautifully embellished with Kashmiri carpets, crystal chandeliers, and plush furniture, and they also offer tempting home – cooked meals, top-notch facilities such as hot tubs and Wi-Fi, and endearing customized services.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Dal Lake is during the months from May to November when the weather is pleasing and you can appreciate the heavenly sight of a cluster of pink and white Lotus flowers adorned by the water droplets amidst the lake. Summer is also ideal for boating and a pleasurable evening sojourn, making it a perfect place for some leisure. During winters, the water of the lake becomes extremely cold and is perfect for ice skating on the frozen Dal Lake, which in itself is a wonderful activity to pursue under Kashmir’s winter sun.
Spending a day on the calm waters of the Dal Lake is one of the most relaxing things many visitors can do in Srinagar! It’s hard to say no to a day on a Shikara to explore the nooks and corners of the scenic Dal Lake against the backdrop of the snow-covered mountains. We hope you enjoy a Shikara Ride on Dal Lake Kashmir and have an amazing experience that creates fantastic memories.