DAL LAKE, SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA.
Photographer: Sapna Kumar
Venice has the Gondola, Kashmir the Shikara. A single oarsman skilfully glides a Shikara across the azure expanse of the Dal lake in this photo by Sapna Kumar on her trip to Srinagar in Kashmir, India. Kashmir with its snow capped mountains and cool climate has historically been a sought after summer retreat in the North – briefly put off limits by militant activities in past years.
To the Mughals, the region was paradise on earth. Their emperors not content with immortalizing the natural beauty of the land with eloquent poetry had pleasure gardens and pavilions etched into its surface to prove their undying love for favorite queens before taking them on pleasure cruises on clear waters that mirrored their reflections, till their power declined and their memory receded into the pages of history.
The romantic cruises, however, gained cult status over the centuries and the Shikara, a sturdy wooden boat fashioned out of the tough Deodar trees that cling to the shores of the lake now lets honeymooners and couples exchange vows of love on a lake that is the soul of a trip to Kashmir.