Kashmir had always been on my bucket list and finally, it was time for me to visit this tremendously beautiful and amazing place! I was traveling with my family this time. We had a long flight via Amritsar, Punjab. We reached Srinagar around 2 pm and boy did I see snow-clad mountains already!! Just wow!
We booked our taxi from a booth in the Airport and went to Dal Lake where we stayed in a houseboat for 3 days. Dal Lake is so precious! Commute to the houseboats is via Shikara - another gem of the city. We boarded a Shikara for the very first time and we were nervous. But slowly, we got used to it. The Shikara rides are the most beautiful part of one's stay in Kashmir, especially when you live in a houseboat, because all you have is a Shikara to commute to and fro.
We reached our wonderful houseboat around 3 pm and since it was drizzling, we decided to take a "long tour" of the pristine Dal Lake after freshening up.
PS - Shikara men charge you more than 1500/- for a long tour of the lake and 800/- for a short tour.
Bargaining is essential. We took a long tour for 1000/- It was a 5 hour long ride :)
Shikara ride as I mentioned earlier is so magical and the best part of your stay in Srinagar. It gives you a soothing experience mostly because of the fact that it moves slow. Plus you are touching the water when you are moving, my favourite part of the ride ❤️
There are a lot of local vendors who come and try to sell things to you during your ride. Try to avoid as much as possible. These guys sell stuff at very high rates. We got thugged by a photographer who charged at ₹1000/- for 7 photos in Kashmiri costumes 🙄 The same thing costed ₹400/- at Almond Cove, Srinagar. So refrain!
We did our bit of Saffron and shawl shopping during our ride in a "good" place as claimed by our Shikara driver. We also went to a wholesale shop in Dal Lake to get some accessories - earrings, bracelets, rings and watches.
We didn't have lunch, so had early dinner at Kareem's Restaurant. We tried the local Kashmiri Wazwan and it was tasty. This place was a small cute one with Chinese lamps everywhere. I'll post a picture if I find one. Post this, we boarded our Shikara again and went to Nehru Park and saw some pretty, colourful flowers. It was dark already after all the shopping, sight-seeing and food. We had booked our taxi for the next 3 days with the help of our Shikara man and so we decided to call it the night.
Come back later to read more about our Day 2 and Day 3 ventures 😀 And oh, it includes a 2 hour traffic jam at a narrow Zojila Pass where an inch driven wrong could have taken our lives 😲 We were lucky! 🙏💕 Stay tuned for more!