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The Floating Market of Dal Lake in Kashmir

Our writer shares her personal mesmerising experience of visiting the Floating Market in Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. We are sure that this would motivate you enough to plan your visit to this paradise on earth soon.

Imagine a frame, clear blue waters creating quaint ripples with sun shining brightly at the top and Himalayan snow-capped peaks as the background. Maybe it was all just my imagination until one breezy morning when I realized I was in a Shikara in the middle of “Dal Lake”. Shikaras are basically wooden boats found in Kashmir.

Where is Dal Lake?

Dal Lake is an hour distance from Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport and lies in the centre of the capital city Srinagar in Kashmir.

Other than such undeniable beauty and serene surrounding, Dal Lake has one more thing to offer which is “A Floating Market”.

As the Shikara starts moving away towards the other side, slowly the hustle bustle of the urban chaos starts fading and all you can feel is complete silence. Unless you have a talkative companion which in my case was the local Kashmiri boy named Ali rowing my Shikara and narrating the legend stories surrounding around the lake.The market is spread towards the other side of the lake.

Following are some things which I think are special about the Floating Market and must be experienced:


There are a lot of interesting things you will come across, starting from a photo shoot in the middle of the lake.

Kashmir Ki Kali

There are local boys who have traditional Kashmiri costumes and jewelry sorted as they wait for the tourists to turn up.

You just need to step into their boat: the boat has complete “Kashmir Ki Kali” type set up, you wear the costume, the jewellery and pose. The best part is you get the pictures within an hour.

I love getting in-depth about the culture, cuisine and the traditional costumes of a destination I am visiting. Also, I am quite a poser, so it took me a while to realize that I have to explore other things too.


When it comes to the main market, starting early in the morning at 5 is the grocery market selling essential fresh vegetables, fruits and even flowers.

You can witness the market all day till 7 in the evening.

Floating Vegetable Market, Srinagar

You can spot from anything to everything right here. From a general store, all stocked up with ration, mobile recharge shop, medical store, furniture shop, gas booking station, barber shop to an ATM.

Travel Tip – Always carry liquid cash at places like these because not all shops accept cards and ATM can be unpredictable.



While enjoying the tranquil atmosphere, I came across a fast food centre where I indulged in a bowl of maggi and piping hot “Kahwahs”, a traditional Kashmiri drink (tea).

The piping hot Kahwahs were on the other boat, and it can be little difficult to move from one shikara to another.

“Kahwah” is basically green tea boiled with saffron, cardamom and cinnamon. You can enjoy by topping it with honey and crushed nuts, just how locals like it.

It became my new addiction and I couldn’t stop at just one glass of it.


If you are into buying traditional and popular fabrics of every destination just like me, then you need not worry as you can spot emporiums and handlooms.


Here, you get everything from “Pashmina” Shawls, ‘Pathani” suits, Kashmiri carpets with “Namda” work, Ponchus, Stoles with Kashmiri design to woolens.

You also get beautiful Kashmiri design ornaments made of silver, gold and precious stones. If not such expensive ornaments, you can opt for imitated artificial ones instead.

Though prices are high for tourists but if you have good bargaining power you can buy all of these at lower prices, because of which I ended up paying a lot for extra baggage at airport.


The most prominent thing are the houseboats, all decked up at one side. These can be rented easily owned by the local Kashmiri families.

houseboats in Kashmir

Each and every houseboat has its own name; the one I noticed had the name “Mughal-e-azam”.

A night typically costs from Rs 8k-10k ($114-$143) depending on the number of people and the interiors.


Other than the mainstream market, Dal Lake is proud to have one more precious stone to its jewel (Dal Lake is known as ‘Jewel of Kashmir’), the world’s only “Floating Post Office”, now moored to the left of the lake.

Floating Post Office in Dal Lake

This floating post office was actually a heritage post office existing since British times was called ‘the Nehru Park Post Office’ before 2011.

In August 2011, it was formally launched by then Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and Union Minister of State for Communication and IT, Sachin Pilot.

It has two small rooms, one which serves as office and the other one as museum for tourists showcasing department’s postal history over the years.

People working there were really kind and helpful and gave a lot of information regarding the post office, about how it came into its existence and how it has changed after the British Raj.

They even told me about how the tourists are more attracted to visit the world’s only floating post office as it itself has become a prime piece of architecture.

They said, “As there are lot of shikaras here, tourists won’t realize that it is a post office unless they look closely at the official red and yellow logo of Indian Post Office”.

Tourists love to indulge in its history and know what exactly its condition was during British times and how times have changed post independence.


postcards in dal lake

Though in today’s scenario, sending souvenirs to the close ones is a practice. And also postcards act as an old charm and can be sent to your dear ones as a token of love.

After all won’t you agree that hand-written notes and postcards from the loved ones are always special?

Especially, when it’s coming all the way from the world’s only floating post office, with the stamp of Dal Lake on it, making it even more special.

On my way back after such a spectacular experience, silence was slowly vanishing and the city noises started taking over my ears.

Though I hated the fact of getting back into the routine, but somewhere, deep down I knew I will be back soon, as this place will never fail to surprise you.

Written by Sharmila Feroz

Sharmila Feroz is a graduate of versatile vocations who grew up in a military household which led her to travel to interesting and beautiful parts of the country. Penning those travel experiences paved her way into writing about ethnic lifestyle and cultural celebrations in India.

One Comment

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  1. Nice article and so informative. Very well written in simple manner and one can easily understand.Get to know about lot of things from the article. i am gonna visit and explore the beauty of it..
    Wish u all the best for all your upcoming article..❤

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