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Houseboats in Kashmir

Many tourists are attracted to Srinagar by the charm of staying on a houseboat, which provides the unique experience of living on the water in a cedar-paneled elegant bedroom, with all the conveniences of a luxury hotel. Srinagar's thousand or so houseboats are moored along sections of the Dal and Nagin Lakes and river Jhelum, each decorated fancifully and named romantically and even whimsically.

Like hotels, houseboats vary in degree of luxury and have been accordingly graded by the Department of Tourism. A luxury houseboat, like a luxury hotel has fine furniture, good carpets and modern bathroom fittings, while the "D category" (the lowest category) of houseboats, like low-budget hotels, is spartanly furnished. Like hotels too, houseboats vary widely in their locations. Some overlook the main road, others look out onto lotus gardens and yet others face tiny local markets and villages, all right in the middle of the lake! All houseboats, regardless of category, have highly personalized service. Not only is there always a "houseboy" for every boat, but the owner and his family are never far away. The cost per day of hiring a houseboat includes all meals and free rides from the houseboat to the nearest jetty and back, as no houseboat on the lakes is directly accessible from the banks.

Every standard houseboat provides a balcony in the front, a lounge, dining room, pantry and 3 or more bedrooms with attached bathrooms. All houseboats not moored to the bank of the river or lakes provide a shikara as a free service from the houseboat to the nearest Ghat (jetty). Virtually every houseboat in Srinagar has been provided with a municipal water connection.

Houseboat is a Novel type of accommodation available in Kashmir as you have Hotels available throughout the world but unlike a Houseboat being available in Kerala which is totally different and hence cannot prove compatible to what we have in Kashmir in any respect. Living on a houseboat experiences a fun and real joy for those who experience such stay and always carry cherishing moments along with as a memory for the entire lifetime. The Staff at service on a Houseboat comprises of a Captain, Room Boy, Chef , besides attached Shikara with Shikara-wala [ rower of shikara] for To and Fro Crossings and other Shikara Rides. Thus one feels homely atmosphere while one’s stay on a Houseboat.

The houseboat is usually made out of Cedar wood which sustains the would be damages through water as the wood is got seasoned before using for such construction. One has to spend lavishly on the construction of a houseboat with modern amenities and facilities available like Corridor, Drawing room, Dinning room, Pantry, 02 to 07 bed rooms with attached fully sanitary fitted bath rooms with hot and cold water running. The accessories usually are Carved out of Walnut wood and to add to the beauty of house boats , these accessories are put in various rooms and even the doors and windows have walnut wood carving touch and also provides Sun Deck to have an experience of Sun bath. The interior furnishing is palatial which covers Carpets, Crewel Curtains , Embroidered Bed Sheets, foot mats etc.

Like hotels, houseboats vary in degree of luxury and have been accordingly graded by the Department of Tourism. A luxury houseboat, like a luxury hotel has fine furniture, good carpets and modern bathroom fittings, while the "D category" (the lowest category) of houseboats, like low-budget hotels, is spartanly furnished. Like hotels too, houseboats vary widely in their locations. Some overlook the main road, others look out onto lotus gardens and yet others face tiny local markets and villages, all right in the middle of the lake! All houseboats, regardless of category, have highly personalized service. Not only is there always a "houseboy" for every boat, but the owner and his family are never far away. The cost per day of hiring a houseboat includes all meals and free rides from the houseboat to the nearest jetty and back, as no houseboat on the lakes is directly accessible from the banks.

Houseboats in Dal Lake

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The Dal Lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometres, including its floating gardens. The floating gardens blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.

The shore line of the lake, about 15.5 kilometres, is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal Gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels.

Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir) and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras.

Houseboats on Nigin Lake

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Nagin Lake, though sometimes referred to as a separate lake, is actually part of Dal Lake, being linked through a causeway which permits only bikers and walkers to enter the lake precincts.

The caseway carries the water supply pipeline to the Srinagar city in the east. The lake is bounded by the Shankaracharya hill (Takht-e-Suleiman) on the south and Hari Parbat on the west and is located at the foot of the Zabarwan hills. Willow and poplar trees flank the edges of the lake.

Foreign tourist first choice are Nagin Lake houseboats as atmosphere is quite and peaceful as compared to Dal Lake Houseboats

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