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A Day on the Dal Lake

“Agar Firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o, hameen ast.”

I have heard this couplet, by Amir Khusrau, many times but the full meaning of it dawned upon me when I found myself on the banks of the heavenly Dal Lake in Srinagar. It is a wonder and one has to experience it through all of one’s senses. Nothing I had read or heard about this place did justice to this paradise.

I was lucky to have got the chance to live in Srinagar, just a 5-minute walk from the Dal. My evenings and early mornings would be spent walking on the Boulevard along the Dal, having roasted corn on Foreshore Road by the Dal or laying idyllically on a Shikara floating on the Dal. My weekends would be spent exploring Srinagar and no matter where I went, Pari Mahal or Shankaracharya or Nishat Bagh, the Dal was always there- enchanting and magnetic. It grew on me and became one of my most favorite places in the world. Through this photo journey, I wish to take you on a tour of this paradise, from the commercial to the untouched, natural beauty.

The Shikaras lined up on the bank, waiting for tourists. 20 something ghats, each with their own Shikara boatmen. The entire economy thrives on tourism. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
The houseboats, with their beautifully carved walnut wood interiors, plush hand embroidered furnishings and Kashmiri hospitality are any tourist’s delight. Always remember to opt for the local Kashmiri roti and Nun chai for breakfast. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
Rowing into the floating market of Kabutar Khana. Avoid peak rush hour if you do not wish to be stuck in Shikara traffic! Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
Grocery, restaurant, tailor, clothing, handicraft, dry fruit- these floating shops sell everything. And the tourist favorites are Maggi, chai and Tujja (kebabs). Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
The road less travelled- as we leave the commercial areas behind. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
A local woman going about her day. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
The Lotus farms. These flowers and their majestic pods stretch out to the horizon. (My personal favorite part of the entire lake.) And if you are lucky, the Shikara boatman will make a Lotus necklace for you as well! Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
A flower seller, on his way to work, carefully navigating the narrow waterways. The soothing sound of the oars lapping against the water makes the experience so ethereal. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri.
A Lotus farmer collecting the stems for making the many Kashmiri delicacies like Nadru Yakhni and Nadrmunj. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
Looking out to the Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake from Pari Mahal. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri
Sunset on the Dal is magical….one still wishes it could be delayed a little more. Picture Courtesy- Anahita Suri

The calm waters of the Dal, the innocent smiles of the locals, the selfless hospitality & humility of the Kashmiri people, the backdrop of the majestic mountains, the mouth watering delicacies, the magnificence of this place have left me in awe of God’s creation and immense adoration for the people who call this place their home.

Author:
Anahita Suri, Assistant Professor, School of Fashion Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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