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A jewel of a destination, Kashmir is one of the most amazing holiday destinations in India. Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, is the first stop for most travellers to Kashmir; and with its great lake and meandering river, its exquisite pleasure gardens and romantic shikara rides, the old-world charm of its houseboats and the ageless grace of its architecture, the city is a fitting introduction to the many enchantments of the valley. The vast Dal lake is, of course, Srinagar’s emblematic feature, and its deep waters carry the most popular of Srinagar’s attractions: houseboats and shikaras. Many visitors are content to spend a great part of their holiday aboard these waterborne hotels, watching the lake’s traffic float by from cushioned balconies, venturing into the houseboat’s walnut-wood interiors for delicious, fragrant Kashmiri cuisine. If at all one can bring oneself to leave the boat, it is to step into another – the dainty, canopied shikaras. Fitted with generously cushioned seats and footrests, these elongated little boats constitute one of the great luxuries of the world, and have long been the very epitome of romance. On the shores of the Dal are the great Mughal Gardens, glimpses into an earthly heaven of many-hued flowers, carpets of grass and playful fountains. On the two great hills that overlook the city and the lake – Hari Parbat (Kohi-e-Maran) and Shankracharaya (Takht-e-Sulaiman) are reminders of the city’s eclectic past: graced with ancient temples and medieval mosques, imposing fortress walls and simple, quiet shrines.

Shikara Ride

The Dal is famous not only for its beauty, but for its vibrance, because it sustains within its periphery, a life that is unique anywhere in the world. The houseboat and shikara communities have lived for centuries on the Dal, and so complete is their infrastructure on the lake, that they never have to step on land! Doctors, tailors, and bakers - you'll see them all in tiny wooden shops on the lake, near picturesque vegetable gardens and acres of lotus gardens.
A shikara ride is one of the most soothing, relaxing aspects of a holiday in Kashmir. Shikaras are long boats which crowd the Srinagar lakes. They are used for getting back and forth from the houseboats or for longer tours. It is worth to take a pleasure ride around the lake in shikara. Shikara is a Gondola type light rowing boat. The two hour boat ride takes tourists on a relaxing sightseeing tour of interior parts of the calm and placid waters of Dal Lake, and be part of shopping- by-shikara expeditions. Because the Dal is so central to the landscape of Srinagar, many places of tourist interest have, over the ages, been built in its vicinity. Nishat and Shalimar gardens as well as Hazratbal mosque are directly accessible by shikara. Mostly crowded, the Shikara boat rides in Kashmir are also used to transport you from land to your houseboat and vice versa. It is worth your time and money to take that joyride ride around the lakes of Kashmir in a shikara. You can also access tourist spots like the Shalimar Garden, Nishat Garden, and the Hazratbal mosque via the Shikara as the Dal Lake is quite central to these places in Srinagar.
While riding on Shikara we can often observe white breasted Kingfishers (Halycon smyrnensis), large striking birds with robust bills perched on the branches of willow trees. These birds concentrate their efforts to hunting on the floating Gardens. These man made islands comprise of reeds, willow rods, aquatic vegetations and and held together with humus consisting of mud from the lake bottom. This is extremely fertile and provide rich source of food in the form of frogs,lizards,mice, grasshoppers and other insects to the Kingfisher.
Sightseeing on a shikara boat in Dal Lake and Nagin lakes culminates to a romantic trip especially if you are seated inside canopies of the Dal lake shikara boats. The feeling of joy and pleasure is unaccountable and the experience definitely unforgettable. The banks of the Dal Lake and Nagin Lake along the Boulevard road in Srinagar, Kashmir feature several Shikara Boat Ghats where the boats are available for hire. There are three main Shikara boat Ghats such as the Dal Gate, Nagin Lake, Hazratbal, Nehru Park, and Gagribal.

City Walks Kashmir

Kashmir offer ‘City Walks’ for the interest of tourists who are not too keen in adventure activities in Kashmir. The capital city of Srinagar, formerly named as ‘Shahar-e-Khas’ by the Mughals, offers excellent opportunity for city walks along its pathways filled with historic charm, ancient shrines, churches, gurdwaras, temples, mosques, water bodies, forts, and bazaars, to mention a few. City walks within the Old City of Srinagar offers an enormous chance to view its rich heritage and to showcase its cultural influence apt for the inquisitive and engaging tourists.

Walk 01. Pather Masjid to Jamia Masjid
Pather Masjid– Zaina Kadal - Khanqah Shah Hamdan - Gad Kucha- Vakil Kucha - Mazar Salateen – Saraf Sheikh Mohalla – Saraf Kadal – Qutubuddin Pora – Jamia Masjid

Walk 02. Khanqah Shah Hamdan to Nawa Kadal
Khanqah Shah Hamdan – Zaina Kadal – Mazar Salateen –S.R..Gunj – Kanil Masjid – Sheikh Mohalla – Ganiat Menz – Ali Kadal Chowk – Owassi Saheb –Bulbul Lanker –Batyar- Nawa Kadal

Walk 03. Safa Kadal to Malik Saheb
Safa Kadal –Shah Kadal –Nawa Kadal – Khanqah-i-Sokhta –Kanth Paristhan – Haft Yarbal – Malik Saheb

Walk 04. Tankipora to Ali Kadal Chowk
Tankipora – Haba Kadal –Dal Hassan Yar- Malikyar – Kachgar pora – Islam Yarbal – Aeshan Saheb – Gurgari Mohalla – Ali Kadal Chowk

Walk 05. Dasthgeer Saheb to Malkha
Dasthgeer Saheb - Roza Bal-Ranger Mohalla - Naqshbandh Saheb-Bahauddin Saheb – Syedpora Bacchi Darwaza – Makhdoom Saheb – Akhoon Mulla Mosque – KathiDarwaza - Malkah

Walk 06. Sangeen Darwaza to Kathi Darwaza
Sangeen Darwaza – Kalai – Hari Parbat –Qilla – Badamwari Pokhribal – Mulla Akhoon Masjid - Makhdoom Saheb – Kathi Darwaza

Walk 07. Madin Saheb to Kamil Saheb
Madin Saheb – Shree Bhat – Gazidhoor – Khushal Sar- Kathmaidan – Zadibal-Mirza Kamil Saheb

Walk 08. UN Office to Amira Kadal
U.N Office – Mazar Shura – Kashmir Golf Course – T.R.C – Emporium – Bundh – Loyd's Bank – Biscoe – Sheikh Bagh – Lal Chowk – Amira Kadal

Walk 09. Amira Kadal to Div Com Office
Amira Kadal – H.S.H Street – Maharaji Bazaar – H.S.H Street – Sherghari – Old Secretariat – Shaheed Gunj – Divisional Commissioner Office.


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