Chronicles of Dal Lake’s Houseboat, Srinagar.
It was dusk. Nothing was more beautiful than this. Trust me, nothing. I was on a shikara ride, on my way to the Houseboat. I looked towards my left and right, there were so many shikaras, one was empty, with no travellers, one with lovers, one with a plant-seller, one with a jewellery seller, one standing still, moving just a bit by the waves hitting it as if it has already found it’s place in the heaven.
I vividly remember that it was Ghat No. 17, from where we took the ride to our houseboat. Those 15 minutes of my life were so mesmerising. The 360 degree view around me was so picturesque, that I forgot to take the pictures of it and was living in the moment, as to keep that time with myself as a memory.
We entered into our houseboat. History started speaking. It was 95 years old as the care-taker told me. It was built by his grandfather in his early 20’s, and they were preserving it with the best they could. The very first sight goes to the chandelier right in the middle of the living room, then the, artificial flowers in vases with flower design. The landscapic frames of Kashmir tucked with the ceiling enhanced the beauty of the houseboat.
As we entered the dining room, a showcase was kept on the left, locked with a number lock, filled with Kashmir’s souvenirs, as if it’s a treasured possession.
It was night time, 12:30am. I took a book titled ‘India’, from the shelf and started reading. Silence. Cool Winds. Super chilly. The wood was burning in the Bukhari, a traditional heater, keeping the houseboat warm. My sleep started talking. Most of the lights were off. Only the two lamps in the aisle towards my room were on. I knew I had to take a picture of that.
Morning. Light was entering into my room through the window. I opened my eyes. The wood in the bukhari had turned into ashes now. But still, it was so warm. -5 degrees, didn’t feel like it until I went out. It was so cold. The dew on the table had turned into freezing ice. On the other side, the sun was already up, brightening up the houseboat. The vegetable sellers were in Dal. People were running errands in a boat. I sat in the balcony observing everything. The ceiling. Uff the ceiling was hand crafted with wooden carvings, which made them the most beautiful thing I saw at the most beautiful place on earth.
I kept looking at the intricate designs and couldn’t take my eyes off. A paradise on earth. A paradise full of surprises, memories, warmth. A paradise full of art... Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/manankathuria/
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