Thursday, October 22, 2009

KASHMIR HOUSEBOATS











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One of the greatest attractions in Kashmir continues to be the House Boat. Moored in front of the fashionable boulevard in Dal lake or near the Ashai Bagh bridge in Nagin lake, these floating houses still lure the tourists . With well decorated Drawing rooms , Dining rooms , Carpet floored passage , luxurious bed rooms ( with attached bathrooms ), balcony providing breathtaking view of the serene water below and absorbing silence all around , you feel to be living in a different world altogether should you chose to stay in these exquisite floating houses in Kashmir .The Tariffs range from Rs1500 to Rs4000 per night stay per room inclusive of everything . The tariff variations are on account of pure law of demand and supply and essentially market driven. You may even pay Rs1000 during the lean season .

It is interesting to note that these floating houses have been categorized depending upon the degree of facilities and luxuries available inside .The department of tourism classifies them as A , B , C and D ( basic minimum facilities ). If you look carefully to the rows of these houseboats from Boulevard , you find that each house boat has a name . This name is displayed prominently on the balcony or at a conspicuous location on front side . Kashmir ki Kali , Maharaja , Manhattan , Yuvraaj, Water lily , Spring Tulip , Dandoo Palace , Shangloo Palace , Tunda Palace and Pink Queen are some names in my long list.

Once inside , one is thrilled to find carved walnut wood furniture , beautifully embroidered rugs , tastefully decorated pantry, Expensive sofa sets in the drawing room and carpet concealed floors. Broadband Internet or WiFi facility is also available in some of these House Boats . Every house boat has a kitchen either in a adjoining Doonga ( big Boat with roof ) or In sheds created on adjoining Land .Round the clock attendant service is also available . Every house boat has an attached Shikara for ferrying the guests across the lake ..

It is worthwhile to mention that Pandit Narayan Bhan( Popularly known as NavNaran ) built the first house houseboat for the Europeans in Kashmir . Pandit ji happened to be the father Swami Lakshman jooo , highly revered Shaiva scholar of Kashmir .I also vividly know in which particular house boat owned by “Butt’s Clermount House Boats ”did Pandit Ravi Shanker or John Galbraith or Rockefeller or Yehudi Menuhin stay while holidaying in Kashmir . So long so much .Some lines from a poem of Firaq Gorakhpuri for this post.

Yeh Nikkhaton ke Narm ravi ,Ye hawa ye Raat .

Yaad Aa Rahein Hain Ishq, ke toote Taaluqaat.

Ek Umr kat gayee hai Tere Intezaar me.

Aisey Bhi hain ki kat na saki Jin se Ek Raat.

( Firaq gorakhpuri )

These perfumed flowers , this evening breeze and

this soft arrival of the night .

O heart! why do thee recall,

those unfulfilled promises of love this moment .

This life of mine ,spent in waiting for thee ,love!

Now Listen “Many folks could not withstand

even a night’s separation in love” .

( Translation by A k Mota from original in urdu . )


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6 comments:

  1. A perfect blend of poetry and photography. Splendid

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow...


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  3. hello...


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  4. GREAT ARTICLE ON KASHMIR. make sure you visit kashmir's prized possession once i.e Srinagar Houseboats. they are awesome and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
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