A Better Experience than Venice in Kashmir

BY: Namrata Wakhloo

Traveled to Venice, rode gondolas on Grand Canal. Wondered how close water was to old mansions, beautiful with waves.

Visited Srinagar, stayed on Nigeen Lake's Rainawari neighborhood. Heard about the canals people used to commute.

© Fjdelisle/ wikipedia.org

Canals built by Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin Badshah made water transport convenient in old Srinagar. Nallah Mar was the most prized.

Boatman took me on a Nigeen ride in Srinagar, visited Rainawari backwaters next morning. Saw floating market and main canal.

©Vikrant / wikipedia.org

Moved silently through Naidyar canal connecting Dal Lake to Nigeen during sunrise. Had traditional Kashmiri kahwa with unique garnish.

©KennyOMG/ wikipedia.org

Took a sip of unique kahwa during boat ride through Naidyar canal with water lilies and regal vintage houses.

Traditional houses replaced by concrete structures during boat ride. Some abandoned after Hindu Kashmiri Pandits fled in 1990.

Empty traditional homes reminded of lively families taking boats to work/school, cooking fresh vegetables, and chatting with neighbors.