The Shikar ride is the most famous in Kashmir. It is a unique boat ride in the famous dal lake and nigeen lake in Srinagar. The tourists throng and love the Shikara ride. The ride in the breathtaking waters of Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake is quite scenic. You will have the range of Zabarwan mountains in the background. This ride is famous here for centuries and every tourist who sets foot here rides in Shikara at least once. It has a gorgeous vibe and romantic aura. The ride gives you a serene feel of the breathtaking landscape and the calm waters of the lakes.

What is a Shikara?

Shikara boat Kashmir is a wooden boat rowed with a wooden paddle. The boat is of strong deodar wood which is quite resistant to decomposition in the water. The size of the boat ranges between 25 to 40ft. The two extremes of the boat are pointed and in the middle is a broad section for sitting. The boat rowers sit at the extreme ends of it while the tourists sit in the middle. The sitting portion has a comfortable layer of bedding and carpets. Over the head, it has a canopy that shields the tourists from rain and direct sun. To all the sides, the shikara is open and has sometimes curtains drawn. The shikars are in beautiful colors, but the most frequently used color is yellow.

They form the cultural identity of Kashmir and its tourism. Not only do tourists use these shikaras, the locals who live on the banks of the lake, use them for ferrying and daily commute. You will see school children, office goers using shikaras to get from one side of the lake to the other.

The most famous and frequently used lake of shikara ride is Dal Lake. Nigeen Lake is serene and has less footfall. If you want to enjoy the calmness of the shikara ride, you can book the ride in the waters of Nigeen Lake.

What is the cost of a Kashmir Shikara ride?

The cost of the Shikara ride varies with distance. The short leisure trip starts from above 500rs. It goes to 4000rs around if you want to tour around the entire lake. For ferrying from the road to the houseboat, the cost starts from 100rs.

Best places to do Kashmir Shikara ride

If you want to see the daily hustle-bustle of tourists and locals, then Dal Lake is perfect for the Shikara ride. Yet, if you need the serenity and fewer people around, then try the ride in Nigeen Lake.

Best season for Kashmir Shikara ride

Shikara in Kashmir is an all-season ride. It offers grandeur and charm in every month. But the landscape hues and feel change with every season.

1. Shikara in summers

In summers, the ride is pleasant. The temperature is charming with the fine breeze coming towards you from the lake. Surrounding you are the lush mountains of the Zabarwan range.

2. Shikara in winters

In winters the thrill of the ride is going through the frozen waters. It is cold but you enjoy the surrounding snow-covered mountains and the frozen dal lake. You get into the middle of the lake and see all white around you. The reflection in the frozen dal lake of the mountains and your shikara Kashmir is supremely fantastic.

How long is the Kashmir Shikara ride?

Shikar ride can take from half an hour to many hours. It depends on how much distance you want to cover and how deep into the lake you want to go. The short distance ride goes for around half a kilometer.

Is it safe to ride a Kashmir Shikara?

Shikara ride is safe. The water in the lake is stationary. Mostly, there are no waves or storms. But, if the day is too rainy with strong wind then you should avoid the ride.

What is Kashmir Shikara made of?

Shikara is made of a special wood Deodar. It is long-lasting and does not decompose in water.

Houseboat Stay in Kashmir

Kashmiri houseboats are the most exotic stay options in the country. They are floating houses designed in the shape of big storeyed wooden boats and tied to the banks of the lake. They are in both Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake. To spend a night in a houseboat on your Kashmir trip is a unique experience of grandeur and charm. The stay gives you the best view of the surrounding lake and landscape. To the front is the range of Zabarwan mountain with its snow-covered peaks. The houseboats are a marvel of Kashmiri wood crafting and design. They have delicate yet intricate woodwork. And are an exhibition of the fine artistry of Kashmiri hand. The plush interiors of these houseboats are inspired by Victoriana and Turkish architecture. Enjoy the stay and the taste of delicious local cuisines here.

There are hundreds of houseboats on the banks of Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake which are favorite stay options for tourists. Each houseboat carries a name to it and is available on most of the booking platforms. They are big in size and have a separate living room, bedroom with attached washrooms. The bigger ones have a lake-facing balcony. They have varied services depending upon which star of service the houseboat has. You can get premium 5-star services to basic standard services in the houseboats.

The houseboats are also the houses of the local population here who live on the banks of these lakes.

History of Kashmiri Houseboat

The houseboats here started during British Era. East India Company officials were allowed to stay here in the floating houses. This picked the curiosity of the English seeing this unique and breathtaking stay experience. This started a chain of visitors which resulted in the influx of tourists here for houseboat stays.

Here are some of the fantastic reasons to stay in a houseboat.

  • The houseboats are all about serenity. The environment here is refreshing and a perfect vacation stay. 
  • All the houseboats are in the lake so they have a fantastic view surrounding them. As you stay in the houseboat, you will be seeing from your window the gorgeous Zabarwan mountain range, the forest of these mountains, the snow covering their peaks, the vast span of calm water of the lake. Inside the houseboat, you will see the best woodcarving designs. The Kashmiri carpets adorn the flooring and the embroidered curtains embellish the windows. To top it is the Kashmiri cuisine. This all gives you the feel of grandeur. 
  • The houseboats in Dal Lake are in the heart of Kashmir. From here you have easy access to the local market. You can easily get the services to other tourist destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, etc. Further, it’s from these houseboats you can enjoy the famous Shikara ride.

How to book a houseboat stay in Srinagar?

Booking of houseboats is available on all the booking platforms of the country like Also, you can directly contact the houseboat reception to book your room.

Is it safe to stay in a houseboat?

It is absolutely safe to stay in houseboats. The houseboats are safely anchored. They are spacious enough to ensure movement within the houseboat. Plus the locals there will take care of you immensely.

What is the best season to stay in a houseboat?

Houseboat bookings are open throughout the year and they are operating for all seasons. However, the feel of staying in each season varies with the weather condition and cold.

Houseboat in summers

Houseboat stays are the best summer experiences. This season they see the best flow of tourists. Everywhere the tourists roam around and fill these houseboats. The weather allows us to enjoy the view and the breeze of the surroundings.

Houseboat in winters

In winters, you can also enjoy the stay in houseboats. But, this is the least chosen season for the stay. In winters, the houseboats will provide you with room heaters, electric blankets, and warm water. You need to ask the houseboat reservation for the availability of winter amenities.

Here is our list of the 5 best houseboats in Kashmir.

1. Sukoon Houseboat

This is the premium category houseboat. It offers exquisite and plush services to tourists. It is an eco-luxury houseboat on the banks of Dal Lake. The stay here will make you the best feel of the houseboat with the best of the services.

2. Mascot Houseboat

This is again the most premium houseboat stay in Kashmir. The houseboat is in the serenity of Nigeen lake. This is one of the oldest houseboats here in Kashmir. And is very much famous in premium category services. You will get the royal treatment here with grand services. The view of the houseboat is just blissful and rewarding.

3. Akbar Heritage Houseboat

This heritage houseboat overlooks the still waters of Nigeen Lake. They have beautifully embroidered curtains and the intricate wood designs. The stay here is a satisfying delight to the tourists. You can have a shikara ride from the houseboat in and around the lake. Enjoy their specialized local cuisines. They have the service of musical nights as well. The stay in this houseboat is the best package of Kashmir Shikara Houseboat.

4. Butt’s Clermont Houseboat

The location of this houseboat is on the calmest western shores of Dal Lake. It is an old traditional houseboat with a beautiful interior design and wood carving.

5. Naaz Kashmir

This is the prettiest houseboat in Nigeen Lake. It has all the modern service standards with spacious rooms and scenic surroundings. You can enjoy the best of Nigeen Lake serenity here in Naaz houseboat.

Why Kashmir Shikara Houseboat

This is the combination of the best of the two famous and much sought-after Kashmir experiences. The exotic stay in houseboats with the tour of Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake in the Shikara. The Kashmir shikara houseboat is the best unique experience in Kashmir. It is offered nowhere in India. It is a worthwhile experience that transports you to the grandest experience of a lifetime.
Choose any of the houseboats for your stay here in Kashmir. And from there take a tour of the lakes in the shikaras.

About Author

Cliffhangers India


Leave a Reply