Even in my most sweet imagination I could never fathom a place like the Dal Lake in Srinagar, resplendent in the beauty of nature. But before I tell you lots about it, let me introduce you to Kabira, my Indigo cab driver waiting for me at the Jammu airport. Holding a name placard in his hand which irritatingly misspelled my name as ‘preaty’, I was going to take the offence at a different level but was stopped short of any comment because all he did was chat in the long journey of five hours from Jammu to Srinagar.
Yet, I could have forgiven the most heinous crimes today. It was about 3:45 in the afternoon and the sun was creating a magical reflection in the serene waters of the Dal Lake, making every other chatter fade in the background. Such was the mesmerizing effects of the lake bathing in the afternoon sun. It was painting a pristine picture with the water, a radiant orange in color with various shikaras and houseboats cruising at a distance. I just had to sail in one, I had decided. My most helpful driver came handy as he struck a deal with the local shikara guy for a sum of 200 rupees for me to aboard a shikara to experience all that the lake offered me.
With my camera in hand, I carefully got on one and began to breathe in the soft sound of the water as the oars pushed them. The views from the boat were spellbinding with the famous Mughal gardens - the Nishat Bagh and the Shalimar Bagh seen; however, what caught my attention were the floating gardens in the lake itself, which had these amazing lotuses in full bloom. I took several pictures which I am sure would go down in my most favorite pictures’ list unarguably.
It felt like hours while I soaked in the peace that the surroundings offered but ironically when my tour came to an end, it seemed too little. But the Dal Lake in Srinagar sobered the Punjabi
gregariousness of my spirit for at least a while and it was just the beginning! The next stop was the Alchi in Ladakh as they called it and I could not wait any longer.