The early morning vegetable market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, India

The early morning vegetable market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, India

Aaarrrrrghh! Its 4:30 am and the alarm is not giving up. If only I had not booked a Shikara for 5:00 am! But get up I had to – after all I am a travel writer out to cover the daily vegetable market in the Dal Lake. But once in the boat, was I glad for it.

I got a surreal feeling as I approached the market – half an hour ride away: there was a chill in the air, the first light was still trying to get through the shroud of darkness and even my own Shikara was not making any sounds. And then they started appearing from behind the houseboats: buyers and sellers in their Shikaras, all looking like silhouettes. And at the crack of dawn, as if on cue, the area was full of Shikaras and chatter. Trading had started, like on a stock market floor.

Sellers were farmers or traders. And buyers included houseboat owners, shopkeepers in town, other traders and consumers. Mostly men, a handful of women. Trading in vegetables, fruits, flowers and seeds. How old is the market? No one knows – seems to have been around forever. Volumes pick up as days get warmer and farm produce increases.

I ended up with a Shikara full of veggies and flowers – purchases made out of courtesy from those who agreed to be interviewed. Buy some veggies yourself – the taste will linger in your mouth long after you have left Kashmir.

This trip was sponsored by and

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  1. Amar Abrol says:

    This one is good…its like one color spot in a sea of dull grey colored dressed men

  2. Anju Singhal says:

    awesome pictures…

  3. Prerna Kathuria says:

    unconventional similes, very stream of consciousness (although tweaked), very pleasant read indeed!!

  4. Meena Vaidyanathan says:

    wow! this is great!

  5. Ratnabh Banerjee says:

    Hmmmmmmm…u r vegetarian.

  6. Smita Barooah says:

    Love your Dal lake pics

  7. Marilyn Z. Tomlins says:

    Ajay, what an unusual market. You write very well, you know.

  8. Debjeet Kundu says:

    Great to see the vegetable market story on Dal Lake. I’m just back from Srinagar and had so wanted to visit the same. But sadly, it was raining and despite having told the Shikara to be there at 4:45, couldn’t make it.
    But nonetheless, it was nice see it in your story

  9. Ratnabh Banerjee says:

    And to have steaming Khwah .Bliss..

  10. awesome pics

  11. Ajay have exprn’cd this, fortunately for me and my wife we wondered into one of the by-lanes of the ‘DUL’ and saw a reclaimed land where vegetables are grown and the Land mass actually floats(a bit)….The evening shikara rides in the by-lanes are also magnificient..and double the joy if just you and your partner our paddling urself its truly spectacular…

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