For tourists visiting Srinagar’s famed Dal Lake, there’s now an added attraction: the sound of music.
Apart from comfortable boarding and lodging, some Dal Lake houseboat owners are offering visitors special packages that include entertainment and disco parties on sailing sraan naavs (big open boats that can seat up to 250 people).
“After the start of militancy in 1989, there has been no night life in Kashmir,” said Tariq Ahmad, spokesman for the House Boat Owners Association, a body of around 1,200 houseboats owners on the city’s Dal and Nigeen lakes.
In the bad old days, dusk in Srinagar meant people hurrying back home, and the city turning cold and eerie. “But now as the situation has improved a lot, we have decided to fill the gap and make a beginning,” Tariq said.
On Monday night, Tariq and his colleagues hosted more than 200 tourists on a sraan naav cruise, which lasted till 2 am, something this city does not see.
“There was a disc jockey. Singers sang folk songs, and guitar players were also invited,” Tariq said.
Homemaker Varsha Mundra from Chennai was on the cruise with her husband and two daughters. “It was amazing,” she said. “One can’t describe the feeling of floating on the waters of the Dal Lake, with music soothing your nerves.”