Last November I found myself on a family vacation in Srinagar, Kashmir. We stayed in one of the several boat-houses floating on the Dal Lake. An expanse of clear water, the Dal Lake was spread over a large area and reflecting the blue firmament. On one side were huge mountains; ugly and stark but nonetheless providing a brilliant view from one side of the water body. These mountains undergo transformation and come to life (as is the entire Kashmir region) when it snows but we were there at the wrong time of the season! Many wooded boats called shikaras are used for transportation on the Dal Lake. The shikaras have become a cultural symbol of Kasmir and they are rowed with unique spade shaped oars. As time progresses, one can feel a nip in the air as the shikara moves gently to the many corners and shops that surround the Dal Lake.I share with you some pictures that were clicked in the course of my stay on the Dal Lake because of a recent article in the Gomantak Times, cautioning us that this wonderful lake may very well be writing its own epitaph. There are many environmental problems that the lake is facing which need to be tackled urgently. The problems of weeds growing in the lake’s belly and the blocking of a river source are said to be the main problems. But for now, I hope the reader will enjoy some of the glimpses.
|A view of the many boat-houses from the shikara.|
|The mountains flanking the Dal Lake.|
|Life below the clear water of the lake.|
|The sun is setting, in a splendid fashion, on another day in the life of the Dal Lake.|
|A shikarawala calling it a day.|
|A floral tribute to a shutterbug like me!|
|My sister gets ready for a photo-shoot on the shikara.|
|Braving the frigid waters, a man is seen working hard in the lake.|
All photos by Dale Luis Menezes.
(A version of this photo feature appeared on Gomantak Times, dt: September 14, 2011)