Leisure In India: Kashmir Houseboats

ShikaraIf you've longed for the delights of a houseboat holiday, now is the time to try one out Srinagar is a unique city because of its lakes - the Dal, Nagin and Anchor. The River Jhelum also flows through a part of the city.

Most houseboats on the Nagin and the Jhelum are situated on the banks of the lake, and can be accessed directly from land without the help of a shikara, while all those on the Dal require a shikara to get to and from them. Most houseboats on the Dal are situated in long straggling rows; some face the Boulevard, Srinagar's most exciting address, while others are situated singly or in groups of two and three.

The location of a houseboat tells us nothing about its class, but before checking into one, there are a few factors, which you may like to consider. A honeymoon couple may want to be away from it all, and may choose a houseboat with few, if any, close neighbours. To them, it will be an advantage to stay in the interior of the lake, accessible by a half-hour long shikara ride. A family with young children on the other hand may find themselves better served in an area, which overlooks the Boulevard where a crossing takes just five minutes. When your houseboat is in a busy area of the Dal, it is enjoyable just to sit on the balcony and watch the world row by.

House BoatEach houseboat has anything between two and four bedrooms in it with attached bathrooms and a common sitting and dining room. The charges of a houseboat always include all meals and a certain number of crossings by shikara to and from the houseboat. Houseboats offer far more personalized service than hotels because of the far higher host guest ratio. On the other hand, fellow guests at the same houseboat tend to interact much more than if they were staying at the same hotel. Which is why houseboats are ideal for a large group of eight or more adults.

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