Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels
Intoxicating India : Kashmiri Houseboat
Staying in a Kashmiri houseboat on Lake Dal was a matchless experience.
The Himalayas in the background offers a great view, the reflections of the calm water of Lake Dal, and the birds flying above provides a sedentary lifestyle.
One can just sit on the verendah and peacefully take in all these.
The houseboats measures 20 feet wide by 100-150 feet long. The one we were on was 150 feet with four bedrooms.
Most of these houseboats are more than 30 years old, and by today's terms cost about USD2 million to build.
I had the opportunity to stay in one of this unique vessels during a trip to India (... see Intoxicating India 2012 Day 2),
A. THE VERENDAH
Each houseboat comes with a verendah with seats for one to laze away the hours.
Another view of the verendah from the front side.
Carved pinewood arch over the main entrance door.
Detailed carved pinewood arch over the verendah sofa.
Dusk view from the verendah.
B. THE LIVING ROOM
The moment one steps into the living room one is taken in by the opulent but comfortable setting. There are red Kashmir carpets on the floor, richly upholstered walnut furniture, and warm pinewood paneling on the walls and ceiling.
Another view of the living room. One can really feel like a Mogul emperor here.
Carved pinewood see-through main entrance door, there is glazing on the outside to prevent the cold wind from entering.
Close up of the pinewood wall paneling.
The carved pinewood panel ceiling with chandeliers.
The wood-fired heater, which also doubles up to boil water in a kettle. One have to be careful not to touch any of the metal parts including the exhaust flue pipe as they can get to be very hot.
Top view of the heater. Firewood is added through the cover with a handle. The smoke is exhausted out through the flue pipe on the right. The little pipe on the left, sticking out slightly from the heater, emits heat for warming hands.
The flue pipe is routed to the external wall of the house-boat and smoke is vented to the outside.
The dining room is similarly eloquently decorated and furnished. Furniture, like the dining chairs are made out of walnut wood. The table has been set ready for lunch by the butler.
Another view of the dining room. The fan at the corner is for summer time. From the fridge, cold beer can be served (have to pay extra for that AND they do serve good 8% proof Kingfisher Beer)
At tea set with flowery design. They look very British and are probably a throw back to colonial times.
Each houseboat comes with a personal butler to attend to the needs of the guests. He is available sixteen hours per day.
D. THE BEDROOMS & BATHROOMS
The corridor leading to the bedrooms are quite narrow, so as to maximize the width of the bedrooms.
The bedrooms are paneled with pine wood, a kerosene-fired heater (on the left) is included for the cold seasons and a ceiling fan for the summers. A typical bedroom comes with two bed.
The beds are made from walnut wood and comes with electrical heater-blankets.
The only complain is the inadequacy of power points.
The bathrooms are quite simple, with a huge long bath and a counter basin.
The taps are of older design and controlling the hot water can be dodgy, either that or the hot water comes inconsistently. It's suddenly too cold or too hot. Brrrr.... Ouch!
The water cistern has a nice design though.
E. MEALS ON THE HOUSEBOATS
Meals are served on the houseboats and include breakfast & dinner, and depending on the packaged booked, lunch too.
For lunch or dinner; the dishes served includes : Veggie Balls ala Kashmiri.
Spicy Radish Stew.
Fried Spinach with Tofu.
And to go with the dishes, fragrant Basmati Rice.
F. VIEWS FROM THE HOUSEBOATS
Dusk at Lake Dal.
A yellow Shikara approaching a houseboat.
Houseboats in a line.
Shikaras going home.
Related Blogs :
From Delhi, passing by the Himalayas to Kashmir - the Garden of India.
An eight day trip to India: from Delhi to scenic Kashmir, to the pink city of Jaipur, to the Taj Mahal in Agra and back to Delhi sights.
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