Click on any picture for a larger view
The best time to go boating in the Dal Lake is in the evening. Start about half an hour before the sun starts setting behind the peaks. This will give you enough light to look around and for any shopping. What shopping? Before you realize it, ‘shikara shops’ will float up close to you – selling silver jewelry, fine Pashmina shawls, paper mache gifts, dry fruits and more. Sceptical? Why not? Anything targeted solely at tourists is taken with a pinch of salt. Check out the floating market too – these are shops standing in the water selling everything from handicrafts to household supplies. Even hot tea and local breads. But don’t spend too much time here. Lest you miss the magic.
As you look around, the skies and the water become a spectrum of all shades of blues. The leaves and trees turn a magical green and, along with the mountains, get reflected in the water with crystal clarity. All objects around look rich with saturated colours. Within a few minutes, as the sun starts going out of sight, all the blues get mixed with yellow and orange hues. And you can see reflections of the clouds in the lake as if the sky is below you. It is not long before everything gets darker but looks not black or grey – but darker blue. Get the timing of your trip wrong, and you will miss all this.
Check out the pictures to know what I mean.
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