The Dal is famous not only for its beauty but for its vibrancy 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 Small boat or popularly known as Shikara ride are one of the most enjoyable experiences for tourists visiting Srinagar. You can get Shikara from various locations around Dal Lake. By the side of the lake, the rate chart is displayed. Usually, it will be a two-hour ride which is enough – 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, Shikaras are long boats that crowd the Srinagar lakes They are used for getting back and forth from the houseboats or for longer tours.
The construction cost of one Shikara is almost one lakh and the life of one Shikara is nearly 20 years, Dal lake is a market itself, during your cruise on Shikara the boat man will offer you various other services offered by different vendors. You can take a photo with a traditional Kashmir dress and for this different boat man with all accessories are available, in between the lake they can take your photo and those photos will be delivered at your hotel or houseboat.
A floating garden in Dal lake
Villages by the side of Dal lake grows vegetables. Much of Dal Lake is thick with foliage, lotus patches, and large areas of cultivated vegetable gardens linked by channels and served by villages of stilted walkways. Here water level is low and you can see various types of vegetables on the small branches while traveling on the Shikara. There are shops selling traditional Kashmiri dresses and shawls. These shops are on water and openings are towards the lakeside. Before the 2014 floods, a great way to see these areas was by walking along with Chowdhary Bagh to a footbridge and causeway leading to the pumping station near Nishat Bagh Mughal Garden. However, the route has yet to be fully repaired so ask before setting it out this way.