There are hardly any words that can describe the beauty of Srinagar. Perhaps its rich tourism history and the ever increasing numbers of tourists speak of this majestic city. The one major attraction for tourists apart from the Himalayas, the landscape, the culture and the lakes is the houseboats.
There are not many places where one can stay in a wooden boat that has all the facilities of a house in the middle of a river. Summer is the best time to visit Srinagar because of its cold weather even when the rest of the country is getting roasted in the sweltering heat. So, now that you have chosen one of the convenient Kashmir Tour packages and decided to How to Choose the most Convenient Houseboat in Srinagar?give the houseboats of Srinagar a try, let’s take you through a few considerations that have to be done before hiring one of the thousands of houseboats that dot the shoreline of the Dal Lake.
Ease of Access:
Ask yourself whether you are more like a ‘fish out of water person’, a person who cannot stay away from land for a long time. While choosing a houseboat check whether the houseboat is accessible through a Gondola style Shikara (a small boat that has cushioned seating – most times – and a roof on top of it) or directly by road.
Dal Lake or Nigeen Lake:
Dal Lake is where all the action is; there are a number of boats that are lined up beside each other to cater to the huge number of tourists that flood this lake during summer. In winter, this lake gets transformed into an ice hockey field! During peak time in summer this lake is so crowded that if one looks through his/her houseboat’s window one would most probably be looking into another houseboat rather than taking in the sights of the gigantic Himalayas in the backdrop.
On the contrary, Nigeen Lake is a lot smaller in size compared to Dal Lake and hence is much quieter and more serene. All that you will see is the water below, the beautiful landscape all around along with a few handful of boats floating around. This is the reason we leave behind the urgency of the cities for a few days to experience true peace with our loved ones in locations like these.
Type of Houseboat:
Now that you have chosen the location of the houseboat that is most convenient for you, it is time to choose the size and type of the houseboat. There are houseboats of various sizes and are categorised on the basis of their size and luxury. The Tourism Department classifies the boats ranging from Deluxe to D grade.
The official rates for each type of houseboat are available on the website of Srinagar Houseboat Owner’s Association. If the travelling group consists of a large family then they would be better off hiring a larger sized boat and if a couple has chosen one of the Kashmir Honeymoon Packages and is going to enjoy their time together, they could choose the smaller houseboats that provide more privacy and less disturbances.
The Houseboat itself:
If you were thinking of floating on the river in the houseboat like in Kerala then sorry to disappoint you but the houseboats here are stationary. One can do all the gliding around in the Shikaras though. It would be helpful to check whether the boat is positioned along the shoreline or is perpendicular to it. In the case of the former the bedroom windows will offer you the sights of the picturesque surroundings whereas in the latter case the balconies would be facing the shore, and the bedrooms would be facing towards another houseboat.
Facilities Provided by Houseboat Owners:
While you are on one of your Kashmir Tours, you must make sure that you are getting a house boat with all the facilities. The houseboats in Srinagar are more of a family business; the owners most often provide you with personal care and attention. They provide food at varying rates, and the quality of food is generally good. Even the houseboats are not spared from the problem of power cuts here, so do yourself a favour and enquire whether the owner provides a generator or not. Additionally many houseboats also provide 24 hour hot water supply and entertainment facilities like T.Vs and wireless internet. So before you hire a houseboat, thoroughly research on the internet about its owners and its facilities.