We woke at 7 O’clock in the morning when the sun began its ascent over the sombre skies. I along with my mom and sis hurried down for a quick breakfast of bread and omelettes which were flushed down my gullet with some tea.
We packed our bags and put it inside the car and went to the Chesma Shahi garden however security there is quite tight because it’s in proximity with the old palace the former king Hari Singh. The Chesma shahi gardens were designed in the manner that ensure that there is only minimal human influence on the natural surroundings. Its clear water springs provide the water for its fountains.
From there we drove up the hill to the Pari Mahal it is was built by the liberal prince Dara Shikoh where he used it as a library and residence where it also overlooked the Scenic Kashmir Valley.By the time we finished, it was past 1pm,then headed for lunch at the Stream restaurant.It is little upgraded restro compared to Boulevard restaurant. After having scrumptious lunch particularly rista (meat balls) and walnut fudge dessert with dollop of ice-cream we went to the Shalimar gardens which is arranged in a step wise manner. It also had very beautiful fountains that sprinkled the cool water in mesmerizing arcs. It was built by Jahangir as royal resort to please his wife Nur Jahan.
We then went back to the Dal Lake because we would be staying on a houseboat tonight. Houseboat are constructed using the local deodar wood. The wood is waterproof that it can last ten 10 to 15 years with no repairs and take care of it unless have a termite problem. It uses the Islamic style of geometry and Turkish designs with no human symbolism in it but drawings that have the chinar tree in them.
Many of these chips are named after Urdu names, countries or foreign cities. I joked in my mind that H.B Texas , H.B New York, H.B. Missouri are akin to the American battle ships USS Texas , USS New York, USS Missouri. Our houseboats name was the Young Alzeera docked opposite Ghat no 16.
The Dal Lake is quite A beautiful lake in the evenings when the sun melts with water creating golden ripples. Shikara or a local boat used for commuting within the waters of the region. I gallantly strode onto this small boat that looks alike to paper boat with roof. My mother and sister were all frightened thinking they would plunge into the waters if they would not balance themselves properly. We made our way gliding through the waters to the house boat. The houseboat owner must have been lucky that they were not yet acquired by any 5 star resort company because the hall, dining area, rooms and joint bathrooms were all grandly built, well maintained and very beautiful. We had our dinner of aromatic paneer, oiled rotis, sheekh kabab masala and lovely jeera rice whilst we talked with another friendly family from the south. After which my cousin & mother hit the sack for the night.