The illuminates Shikaras (boats) in the world-famous and picturesque Dal Lake in Kashmir Photograph:( WION )
The nightlife in the Kashmir Valley has been missing for decades now. Everything in the Kashmir Valley shuts by 8pm and the tourists visiting the valley have nothing to do after that. This may soon change
If you thought Kashmir Valley was boring during the nights, you are mistaken. Illuminated Shikaras would be ready to take you on a dreamy ride during night as well. Most of the Shikaras on the famous Dal Lake have been illuminated by the union territory's department of tourism. This step has been taken to boost tourism as well as the nightlife in the Kashmir Valley.
The nightlife in the Kashmir Valley has been missing for decades now. Everything in the Kashmir Valley shuts by 8pm and the tourists visiting the valley have nothing to do after that. And to push for the nightlife in Srinagar city, the tourism department has illuminated more than 80 Shikaras on the Dal Lake. The illumination would happen in phased manner and eventually more than 1000 Shikara's are to be lit by the department of tourism. All the lights installed on the Shikaras are solar power-based and eco-friendly.
"Shikaras come to mind immediately when we talk about Kashmir. We organised a houseboat festival to celebrate the legacy. To add to the experience, we thought of illuminating and decorating our Shikaras particularly for people who visit tourist spots during daytime and come back in the evening. They hesitate to take Shikara rides when it's dark. But now they will be able to take these rides in the evenings. In the first phase, we have taken initiative to illuminate 80 Shikaras. We plan to illuminate all Shikaras," said GN Itoo, director of tourism department.
Taking a Shikara ride on the world-famous Dal Lake has always been a top priority for tourists visiting the Kashmir Valley. And The tourism department has been working on new ideas to attract more and more tourists. The department has recently started heritage tours, craft exhibitions, night skiing, and various other things for the tourists visiting the valley. The illuminated Shikara's are seen for the first time in the Kashmir Valley.
"We are committed to bring new and innovative changes to the tourism scene in Jammu and Kashmir. We are taking various steps, like illuminating the Shikara's. This will not only boost tourism but also give a different look. It's unlike anywhere in the country. A lot of people would love to take photos with these beautifully illuminated Shikaras which will indirectly have an impact on the trade as well as the nightlife. The tourists are enjoying these Shikara rides. It will add glory to the Dal Lake," said Zeeshan Khan, Assistant Director of Tourism.
These illuminated Shikaras are so mesmerising that even photographers and videographers are finding it unique. They say this will further boost tourism and people would be thrilled to see nightlife returning to Kashmir Valley.
"The moving Shikaras with their illuminated look are so beautiful and to capture it is something amazing. It will increase working hours of these Shikara owners, which means more business for them. The tourists can also enjoy the rides at night. The message it will send across it is that you have things to do in Kashmir even at night," said Mukhtar Ahmad, Photographer.
The Shikara and houseboat owners are extremely happy about the step taken by the tourism department of Jammu and Kashmir. They are happy at the prospect of their working hours increasing.
"It's a very good step by the government. We had asked them for illumination, and it will help the business. Since night flights have started in Kashmir, we are happy that night Shikaras have started as well. Tourists are enjoying it a lot. We are happy that the Jammu Kashmir tourism department has taken this step. We have 80 illuminated Shikaras and we will be illuminating more than 1000 in times ahead," said Wali Mohammad, president of Shikara Association.
The tourism department of Jammu and Kashmir is working on various new ideas where tourists would be getting best experience in the Valley. Adventure, heritage, and craft is the focus for the department to attract more and more tourists to the Valley.