Bhopal: Bringing Kashmir's beautiful shikara to Upper Lake

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2015 22:03 IST

From now on, you don't need to travel all the way to Kashmir to enjoy the famous Shikara boat rides in the Dal Lake for Madhya Pradesh’s tourism body has launched the boat rides at Upper Lake.

The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) launched the boat rides at Upper Lake on Tuesday. Half a dozen Shikara boats will operate from the Sairsapata tourist point on the fringe of the Upper Lake.

Tourism department officials said this was the first time that the Shikara boats were being launched in a water body of the state. MPSTDC general manager (administration) Suhail Qadri said the idea behind the launch of the boat rides was that those who were unable to travel to Kashmir could enjoy the boat rides in the Upper Lake.

"We have a vast lake spread across 31 sq kms here, so we can provide a similar experience to those interested. We hope these Shikara boats will be a hit with the people of the state," he said.

Shikara boats — which are popular in the water bodies of Kashmir — are traditionally used for activities like sightseeing along the banks, transportation, fishing and harvesting aquatic vegetables.

Shikara boats are made of deodar wood, which does not decompose in water.

The Shikara boat — with a decorative canopy supported on four pillars — has remained the cultural symbol of Kashmir for long. Officials said the Shikara boats launched here were made of glass reinforced plastic.

Meanwhile, many visitors turned up at Sairsapata to enjoy the boat rides.

"I have never been to Kashmir. When I heard the tourism department was launching the boat rides in Bada Talab (Upper Lake), I came here to enjoy the first Shikara ride of my life. These boats look exactly like the ones that I have seen so many time in pictures and films shot in Kashmir. I have gone on boating in the Upper Lake so many times, but riding in a Shikara boat feels different. It is an amazing experience," said Pradyman Jain, a resident of Kalpana Nagar.

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