How did a shikara ride on Dal lake, an overtly chiched travel experience in Kashmir touch our hearts?
Twenty-five years is generally is a long enough period for a place to go through an upheaval. It’s long enough for a place to feel “nothing like before”. Not so the Dal lake of Kashmir!
“Some fresh flowers for the Madam, Sir?”
“No thank you, we don’t want to buy anything.”
“Aah, those flowers were too bright? How about these ones?”
Aah madam, you will love to be Kashmir ki kali
Kashmir ki kali literally translates to Flower of Kashmir! The obsession of the people of Kashmir with this movie made way back in 1964 is still intact. Generations have passed. But the young entrepreneurs of Dal lake are still heard referring to the same movie!
The professional attitude of these budding photographers impressed us. They might all shout out, “Kashmir ki kali photos”. But their pitch is well prepared. They’ve done their homework.
You choose the dress depending on the shade of red and the amount of bling you prefer – they have 2 or 3 options. These are accompanied with jewelry to match. It’s clunky stuff, some of which you don’t know how to wear, you’ve never seen it before. But there’s nothing to worry. These guys are true entrepreneurs – they are well versed in all aspects of the job.
Or so you think. You aren’t just going to leave you hands by your sides, are you? You’ve got to pick a prop – a pot of water you’ve just fetched from the stream? Or maybe a bunch of flowers (plastic ones, mind you!)?
“Oh, that is beautiful madam!”
“The photos will reach your hotel by this evening.”
“You are very kind, sir. Enjoy your stay in Kashmir. Come to my home for a cup of tea if you have the time!”
Just like that, as you are doing the most touristy thing there can ever be, you are given a warm friendly invite into a stranger’s home. You now notice the young guy smiling before you. From a “photographer on Dal lake”, he transforms into an entrepreneur with dreams in his eyes.
All this while, he was creating a memory for you to carry back home. But the real memory you’ll remember forever is the connection you made with him in those few moments.
Our shikara ride on the Dal lake was a severe case of déjà vu. It felt like a childhood memory calling out, “Come, let’s be that little girl again.”
24 thoughts on “Kashmir, time travel and Entrepreneurs of Dal lake”
Woooow!!! Loved the pictures in the post! They hold the innocence of the people living in Kashmir. Dal Lake is one of my favorite place to visit in Kashmir.
My Kashmir Native Kashmir Beautiful Kashmir
Beautiful and breath- taking. No other word for it !
nice one. I havent touched my Dal Lake pictures for more than a year. I think I should do them now. Getting inspired from these pictures. Good work
You may find some hidden gems. All the best!
The article along with the photographs is so wonderful! Took me back to Kashmir where I had similar encounters with lovely people. We also visited the homes of a couple of locals, met their families…. Never till now I had such lovely experience as in Kashmir.
Thanks once again Sandeepa and Chetan for bringing back such lovely memories! 🙂
No doubt, Dal lake is a perfect place to meet locals. Glad to know that you have nice memories of the place.
What a lovely capture – words and pics. Life here in Dal lake sure is interesting!!!
We actually were expecting better pictures but without spending more time it is difficult. We also missed the early morning market. May be in the next visit we will have better luck.
Lovely pictures. The real charm of any place we visit is about the warmth of the locals. It is the people of any place that make us either love the place or love it less.
Would love to visit there . Actually I always want to go there but the situation there always stop me to go there with family. beautiful photos enhance charm to read your posts .
Hello Yogen, yeah it can feel overwhelming taking the family to Kashmir given the kind of news coverage. But the local people of Kashmir will go out of their way to make the tourists feel safe, that’s a guarantee!
I am just loving your posts about India, thank you so much for sharing. You guys make my day each time I read and see your stories. Namaste
Aaaww, thanks so much! This makes our day 🙂
Such enterprising people and the beauty all around who will not be tempted to splurge a bit 🙂
Especially with the language they use – full on filmy stuff! What’s a little money to be spoken to like that 🙂
Beautiful captures of Dal! Although these entrepreneurs (as you call them 😉 ) can get bit annoying we have to try to simple ignore them as they are doing their job to earn their living..
Hehe, yeah, they are earning their bread and butter – and the only way they can do it is by you spending your money on their services – I guess the same story at every popular tourist destination. Agree with the annoying part though. But these entrepreneurs (why not call them that, right?) at Dal lake with their old world style language and behaviour are quite a bit fun!
Heard a lot about this place but never seen such lovely pics. Very nice captures.
Thanks, Jyotirmoy! Dal lake though very touristy has quite a charm. Have a look at this other story about what’s around Dal lake and how integral and important it is to Srinagar.