We often rave about the floating markets of Bangkok and dream of going there but how much do we know about India’s very own floating market, the one that happens in Dal Lake, Kashmir? Lets open this Pandora’s box for all you beautiful readers!
Dal lake is the lifeline of Srinagar.It hosts thousands of floating houseboats, decorative Shikara’s and lots more to attract the tourist. Locals have assumed many trades in and around the lake and their diversity is thoroughly projected by the floating markets on the Dal lake.The Dal Lake being a definite stop for most tourists gives the opportunity to these locals to float out their “Shikaras” and tap the chance of making sales of goods from lilies to shawls.
You will find salesmen selling beverages, fruits, vegetables and confectionery in the their little boat or shikara.
Over the years modern malls and supermarket have changed the way people shop.In contrast, you will be delighted to find how these salesmen have epitomized creative yet basic ways of trading while boating across the vast expanse of the lake!
One way of spotting them (or them spotting you in most cases)is while you are on one of your leisurely boat rides across the lake.The Shikara salesman will glide along with your boat, while you leisurely have a look at what they sell.You can politely refuse them if you not keen on buying.But it is definitely worth an experience! Your art of bargaining will be very useful as you choose between handmade jewellery, flowers, artifacts and much more.
Another facet of this floating market or floating salesmen is the early Morning floating “Vegetable Bazaar”.For all of you keen on witnessing this, you have to be up early !Make sure you book your private shikara before hand to take you to the market.
This vegetable bazaar takes place everyday from 4 am to 6 am. Very often it has been compared to the floating market in Thailand. It is a wholesale vegetable market where the selling and buying takes place from one boat to another. It is where the farmers bring their products and vegetable sellers buy them to be sold in the market.
If you are wondering where all these veggies come from, you will be surprised to know that most of these are grown on the lake itself. Smaller islands beside the lake are very fertile and produce the best organic vegetables.
There are as many as hundred boats in the morning floating market in Srinagar, Kashmir. Tourists can watch from the sidelines but it would be a nuisance to interfere in the matter of their business. As much as it has gained popularity over the years,it is still very much a local affair!Go see it for yourself on your next Kashmir Holiday.
Credit:Soul Indian Journeys