Memories never fade away with time. My Kashmir trip is such a memory of lifetime. Although I believe that each and every trip is a special one and each one is drastically different from other ones. Kashmir means ‘Paradise’ but when it comes to Shikara, the eternal beauty of Kashmir became beyond the bests.
Shikara, a wooden boat specifically found in Srinagar’s Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake, will let you spellbound by its beauty. Kashmiri people used to make Shikaras for their necessities: varied in different sizes and utilities. This cultural symbol of Kashmir, is an undividable part of Kashmiris, from household works, regular transportation, fishing, harvesting aquatic vegetation to selling various attractive items to tourists. It seems to be an entire new world between the lakes. I have seen this type of aquatic lifestyle in Kerala ( Read my blog : Kerala Houseboat ). But Shikara’s lifestyle taught me that every lifestyle is different and each part of India is different.
Artistically crafted Shikaras are equally beautiful just like the Kashmiri people. Painted with bright colours and decorated with colourful fabrics, Shikaras used to drive by man (for tourists) but women are equally efficient to drive the same. Most of the women drive Shikaras by their own to do their household works. Men used to sell Kashmiri shawls, flowers, seeds, local handicraft items, saffron, jewellery in their Shikaras for tourists. Items are charismatic as the way of selling and the surrounding. Imagine, you are buying some stuffs, floating in water and the selling person is also floating in the water in an another Shikara 😀 . Meanwhile when you are traveling to Dal Lake from Nigeen Lake, all of a sudden you can get hot tea shop. These tea shops sell the traditional Kashmiri tea ‘ Kahwa ‘. This kind of tea usually made with green tea, different nuts, spices and saffron. So hot and highly royal!
Shikaras itself are royal and rich just like Kashmiri people: by their tradition, culture and beauty. Since I hadn’t shared my experience on this earlier, here are some glimpses to share with you all. Enjoy!
Enjoy some photoshoots with traditional Kashmiri dress!
Photographs courtesy: Swarnendu Ghosh
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