Best Shikara Rides on Dal Lake: A Complete Travel Guide

Best Shikara Rides on Dal Lake: A Complete Travel Guide

Kashmir, often referred to as Paradise on Earth, is a destination that leaves visitors enchanted. You can enjoy Shikara rides on Dal Lake during the journey to this paradise. During the journey, enjoy its pristine landscapes and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Visit to truly experience the magic of Dal Lake. Enjoy a serene and captivating journey that immerses you in the heart of Kashmir’s natural beauty. In this complete travel guide, explore the best shikara rides on Dal Lake.

Understanding Dal Lake

Dal Lake, often called the Jewel in the crown of Kashmir. This is a vast, serene, and picturesque water body located in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Enjoy Shikara rides on Dal Lake to explore the beauty of Kashmir.

It’s not just a lake; it is a way of life for the people of Srinagar. The lake is surrounded by lush green gardens, charming houseboats, and vibrant floating markets. All of these making it a haven for travelers seeking tranquility and a glimpse into the local way of life.

Choosing the Right Shikara Ride

Dal Lake offers a range of Shikara rides, each offering a different experience. Here are some popular options to consider.

1: Hour Long Joyride

Ideal for a quick introduction to Dal Lake, these rides take you through the heart of the lake. On the other hand, it allows you to enjoy the surrounding beauty and perhaps even buy some traditional Kashmiri handicrafts.

2: Sunset Shikara Ride

Witnessing the sunset on Dal Lake is a mesmerizing experience. A sunset Shikara ride takes you on the water as the sun paints the sky with hues of orange and pink. It’s a romantic and unforgettable journey.

3: Full Day Explorations

For a comprehensive experience, consider a full day Shikara ride. This allows you to explore various corners of Dal Lake, including the intricate network of canals, floating gardens, and hidden waterways. You can also enjoy a picnic on a Shikara or visit the Mughal gardens surrounding the lake.

4: Night Shikara Ride

Dal Lake takes on a different charm at night. In night, it is illuminated by the soft glow of lanterns on the houseboats and Shikaras. A night Shikara ride is a peaceful and enchanting way to experience the lake after dark.

5: Birdwatching Shikara Ride

Dal Lake is home to numerous migratory and local bird species. Birdwatching Shikara rides are perfect for nature enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for kingfishers, herons, and even the rare black necked crane.

Exploring the Attractions

A Shikara ride on Dal Lake isn’t just about the journey; it is also an opportunity to explore some fascinating attractions.

1: Floating Gardens

Dal Lake is known for its floating gardens, called Rad or Raz. These are essentially beds of aquatic vegetation primarily lotus flowers.

Shikara rides will take you through these vibrant gardens. You can even purchase fresh lotus flowers or seeds from the Shikara vendors.

2: Floating Markets

Dal Lake has its own bustling floating markets where vendors sell everything from saffron and handicrafts to fruits etc. The most famous of these markets is the Dal Lake Vegetable Market, which comes alive in the early morning hours. Be sure to bring cash if you plan to shop.

3: Mughal Gardens

Some Shikara rides include visits to the Mughal gardens that surround Dal Lake. Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, and Chashme Shahi are exquisite Mughal era gardens with terraced lawns, cascading fountains, and meticulously manicured flowerbeds.

4: Hazratbal Shrine

This revered Islamic shrine, located on the northern shores of Dal Lake, is a significant pilgrimage site for Muslims. Even if you don’t visit the shrine, you can admire its stunning white marble architecture from your Shikara.

Respecting Local Customs and Guidelines

To have a pleasant and respectful Shikara ride experience on Dal Lake, keep the following guidelines in mind.

1: Dress Modestly

Kashmir is a conservative region. So, it is respectful to dress modestly, especially if you plan to visit religious sites along the way.

2: Negotiate Prices

It’s a good idea to negotiate the price of your Shikara ride with the boatman before embarking. Prices can vary, so it is worth comparing offers from different Shikara operators.

3: Photography Etiquette

Always seek permission before taking photographs of the local residents, especially if you want to capture their daily life.

4: Respect Nature

Keep the lake clean by not littering. Avoid picking lotus flowers or plants from the floating gardens, as this can harm the ecosystem.

5: Timing

Most Shikara rides operate from early morning to early evening, so plan accordingly. If you are interested in a sunset or night ride, make arrangements in advance.


A Shikara ride on Dal Lake is more than just a boat journey. It is an opportunity to connect with the heart and soul of Kashmir. From exploring vibrant floating markets to witnessing stunning sunsets, every moment on Dal Lake is an experience to cherish.

Enjoy your trip in Kashmir by choosing the right type of Shikara ride and following local customs and guidelines. You can make your Shikara journey an unforgettable part of your visit to Paradise on Earth. So, when you plan your trip to Srinagar, don’t forget to include a Shikara ride on Dal Lake in your itinerary.

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