SRINAGAR, INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR — There have been houseboats on Kashmir’s rivers and lakes since colonial times, and the floating dwellings, some of which emphasize luxury, are big tourist attractions. “It was only the foreigners who lived in the houseboats on river Jhelum,” Zareef says. Aside from the dangers, Badyari says, he didn’t want his children to suffer like he did from the stigma that comes with living on a houseboat. DAY 10 : Another amazing day on the Nigeen lake at New Jacqueline Heritage Houseboat. The houseboat boasts intricate wood carvings, three bedrooms with bathrooms, a dining hall, a kitchen and a terrace. All houseboats, whether used for personal or tourism purposes, have to be registered with the Department of Tourism, Shah says. “The houseboat is the only source of income, and we are dependent on it,” Misra says. Stay at a Houseboat at Dal Lake, Srinagar is the best thing you can do in Srinagar, Kashmir! That’s the only reason the family has ever discussed moving to land, but Fargoo says he’ll never do so. Bobby Roy stayed at in a houseboat during his time in Kashmir and he loved it! They receive electricity from the mainland through wires on fixed poles in the water, and water from pipes laid on the lake bed, but there is no sewage disposal system. Pollution has decreased the size of Dal Lake, and the water stinks in many places, Ahmad says. But the Jhelum River is no longer a popular tourist destination, Fargoo says. So enjoy Shikara rides on … Ali Mohammad Fargoo, 76, has lived all his life on this houseboat on the Jhelum River, and he earns an income from renting a second houseboat to tourists. The history of Houseboats in Kashmir goes back to the year 1888, when a British Army officer Kennard and a local Kashmiri Pandit Naraindas constructed the first houseboat in Kashmir. “I will stay here till the last breath,” he says. But in winter, the numbers drop to an average of three or four customers a month, Ahmad says. Misra, 45, has lived on this houseboat since she was marred in 1987. The summer months, from April to August, provide the best income, Gooru says. Doongas till now came in various sizes and use; for ferrying passengers, as water trucks for cargo, but never as grand as this one. Mahmood Ahmad Shah, the director of tourism for Kashmir at the Department of Tourism Jammu and Kashmir, says there were 1,300 houseboats registered in four lakes and rivers in Kashmir Valley in 2015. The boat has a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area, as well as electricity and potable water. He uses his long wooden boat, known as a shikara, to ferry people and to sell vegetables and other goods to houseboat dwellers. Trip to Mantalai via Sudhmahadev from Jammu, Sanasar’s Tulip Garden Opens for Tourists, Firdous  – Comprising of huge 3 double bedrooms & other facilities. The houseboats of the Southwestern Indian state of Kerala, known as Kettuvallam, navigate the area’s winding backwaters and offer a relaxing method to travel in India. Each room has a hand-crafted ceiling and hand-carved cedar paneled walls. The family varnishes and paints the wood every six years, and spends up to 200,000 rupees ($2,953) for repairs and maintenance every three years or so. Fargoo lives on a houseboat with his two sons and their families. “But I don’t regret my decision, as I can see a good future for my family now,” he says. From 1955 onwards, houseboat owners of Kashmir started naming their houseboats on their own but the foreign influence continued. A cook and a visitor coordinator are the boat’s two staff members. Misra’s kitchen is in a separate wooden room attached to the houseboat, called a “doonga” by locals. One owner of a houseboat called The Flower Garden, Mr Abdul Karim Goosani still clings onto the proud memory of when actress Joanna Lumley, who was born in Kashmir, stayed for three weeks in the 80s on the boat his grandfather built. “I cannot imagine a life out there in the houses on land.”. PO Box 42557 Salim Ahmad Badyari, 35, says it took years to convince his family, especially his parents, to move from their houseboat to land. It can take up to an hour to reach the hospital for any treatment, Misra says. Her family’s main income comes from renting their second houseboat to tourists. Ahmad charges between 4,000 rupees ($59) and 4,500 rupees ($66) per day to rent the houseboat during the summer season. He became locally famous as ‘Naav Narain’ and his first houseboat was named Misra, now a widow, says her family’s main income is from renting their second houseboat to tourists. But fewer tourists come to the Jhelum River these days, he says. His rates also go up to 6,000 rupees ($89) per day, since there is an increase in electricity costs to heat the houseboat. Misra uses only a single name, following the tradition of some women in Kashmir. The lake is bigger than the narrow waters of the Jhelum River, and hosts more activities, including boat rides and a floating market. Misra, together with her mother-in-law and two of her three children, live on an old, weather-beaten houseboat built of wood that has turned pale over time. Anchored on the banks of the two beautiful lakes in Srinagar, Dal and Nigeen, houseboats tour are perfect for people of age and traveller of all types. The Sukoon was Kashmir’s first luxury houseboat, and still sets the standard when it comes to luxury. Their houseboat also needs repairs, Misra says. Raihana Maqbool, GPJ, translated four interviews from Kashmiri and two interviews from Urdu. A ferry ride from land to a houseboat costs 10 rupees (15 cents) each way for houseboat residents, Gooru says. Since 1991, the government has placed a ban on making new houseboats, because the rivers and lakes have become polluted by them. Dal Lake and the Jhelum River are transport highways for wooden boats that ferry dry goods, fresh vegetables and flowers. Houseboats in J&K serve as the best meduim to fulfill your dream of staying as close to nature as possible. The boats were originally built to house British officials of the East India Company, says Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a Kashmiri historian, poet and social activist. The suites in the boat are warm and comfortable and up to date with latest standard and technology. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has became a great tourist destination because it has developed and taken care of its uniqueness in a perfect manner. “Most of the problems that I face are during the winters, as on most of the days I do not even earn a penny,” Gooru says. Srinagar is the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the north-most state of India. During the summer months, when there are regular rentals, the family earns around 15,000 rupees ($221) to 20,000 rupees ($295) a month, she says. Her mother-in-law, son, and youngest daughter live with her. But his children and grandchildren, including grandson Faizan Nazir, pictured here, who share it with him, want him to move to a home on land. The idea of enjoying holiday in Kashmir houseboat, first time arose in the mind of Britishers. Residents often intermarry, and they celebrate holidays and festivals together. But sometimes Badyari misses the simplicity of residing on a houseboat with only two rooms. Dal Lake had the highest number of houseboats, with 740 in 2015. The fresh fallen houseboats belonged to Mohammed Sultan Badyari and Bashir Ahmed Kolu. “I was born here, married, and my children were born here, and they live here,” says Misra.
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