What Is It Like to Live On a Houseboat?
The pristine lakes of Kashmir have traditionally offered relief from India's intense summers. Houseboats are almost synonymous with Kashmir, so you must visit a houseboat while travelling in Kashmir. Even if it is just for a night, you must experience the uniqueness of a houseboat or else your trip will remain incomplete, and you will yearn for something momentous missed.
The history of houseboats traces back to when Europeans wanted to settle down in the state, but they could not buy land due to local laws. Locals decided to build such boats, which then became homes for the Europeans. Essentially, they are hotels on the lake but more personal and homely to make them feel ecstatic and embodied.
A unique setting for a luxurious stay
These houseboats tend to have one to five rooms with an attached bathroom. The rooms are well decorated and plush, and you would not mind staying inside and just reading a book or listening to music or whatsoever you like. You can even sit on the verandah and enjoy a cup of Kashmiri Kehwa Tea.
There are tons of activities that you can partake in a while remaining on water. Firstly, you can sit on the front porch and shop from the many floating shops selling items from fruits and vegetables to Kashmiri pashmina and local exotic jewellery. If you like something, they will hop on board your houseboat and show you their complete collection.
Secondly, you can check out the famous floating vegetable market of Dal Lake, which is open early morning every day. These markets are most visited by locals available before sunrise, so it is best to make your way around 4 am.
Don't forget preparations and explorations
Remember to carry a light sweater or jacket as the mornings are cold, even in the summertime. The next fun thing you can do is go on a Shikara ride. If you opt to stay on a houseboat, you will, by default, go on a shikhara ride as you need to reach the houseboat by another boat. However, you can enjoy a shikara ride at any point in time during the day. It is quite a peaceful and romantic experience.
For a small tip, you can request your shikara driver to steer you a little away from the crowd. But besides that, it is perfect for just relaxing and lazing around in the sun. There's a lot you can do while living on a houseboat. It is undoubtedly an incredible experience where you are in the lap of nature.