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Houseboat Living Room - Srinagar

Houseboat Living Room

Shahnaza: House Boat on Daal Lake

There are hundreds of houseboats on the Daal Lake in a few different classes. Most of these are individually owned and run. There are different sizes, "star ratings", etc. With the help of our previous hotel we booked a Deluxe Houseboat, which had 3 bedrooms and baths. We occupied 2 of the rooms and a very quiet Indian family occupied the other.

You reach there on a shikara boat. They are all so beautiful on the outside, decorated with intricately carved wood. Once you get inside, however, you enter a time warp.. 70's bollywood to be precise. Our houseboat was heavily decorated in a deep red. Everything was red, all the furniture heavily carved wood.

There's a musty smell throughout these houseboats. They smell of mildew and water rot, and its not faint.

I could see that at one time this houseboat might have been quite a comfortable and pleasantly odious accomodation. But their days of glory have passed. The beds were uncomfortable and stinky, as were the sofas. The bathrooms were dimly lit and old fashioned. The plastic bath-tub, with no shower curtain, felt like it was going to break.

As this was winter time it was quite cold at night. My room had an electric heater which worked fine. The other had a charcoal heater right in the center of it. My friend who stayed in that room said that he was quite warm at night but could not get to sleep for fear of asphyxiation as heavy smoke filled the air, and fear of bursting into flames if, by chance, a flaming charcoal lump were to fall on the heavy carpeting.

Meals were pre-arranged. We were asked when we booked how many meals we wanted the houseboat owner to provide us.
Most food is ordered from restaurants. Options: Kashmiri food or Kashmiri food.

My Advice:
-DO stay on a houseboat but just for one night. The experience is worth the minor discomfort.
-Don't plan on getting a very good shower.
-If you are sensitive to smells, bring your own sheets and a towel.
-BRING TOILLETRIES - they only provide a teeny bar of soap.

Unique Qualities: The views, depending on just where your houseboat is situated, can be magnificent.

The traveling salesmen: the first few of these guys are fun. Almost minutes after we arrived the floating market began. Men with shikaras, quite impressively filled with everything from rugs, jewelry, leather goods, house wares, woodwork... you name it, they have it on a boat. The salesman usually line up their boats outside and the minute you're done with one the second guy comes running.
This was fun and a treat in the beginning, but, as we were one of the only occupied houseboats on the lake (low season) we were literally bombarded by them. We finally had to be rude and yell at the guys when they wouldnt stop coming.
Haggle a lot, and dont be afraid to be rude or they won't leave you alone.

Address: Daal Lake

Price Comparison: about average

Price: US$80-120

Theme: Other

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 11, 2005
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Our Cottage - Srinagar

Our Cottage

InterContinental Grand Palace: Former Palace The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar Review
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I went to Kashmir in low season, winter time. The hotel was virtually empty. I stayed in a 2 bedroom cottage, with 2+1/2 baths, kitchenette, living room, dining room and front lawn. The rooms were comfortable and very clean, equiped with all the modern necessities. The water in the showers was ice cold.. we had to remind them to turn the heaters on everyday. One restaurant, which is more like a cafe.. and food was mediocre. There is a bar too (said to be the only one in Srinagar, which is dry) which is small, very quiet and mostly a mens hangout. There is an indoor pool, which was closed for renovations, and a tiny gym with a few outdated machines.

Unique Qualities: Beautiful views of Daal Lake and mountains

Address: Gupkar Road, , Srinagar 190001

Price Comparison: most expensive

Phone: 91-194-2470101

Price: US$180 and up

Theme: Hotel


Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 11, 2005
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