Kashmir justly has been called the "King of Hill Resort".
TGV PAN Dal Lake in Kashmir.
TGV Houseboats and smaller vessels (shikaras) on lake. (4 SHOTS)
SV & CU Man in shikaras makes purchase of drink from 'floating shop' (4 SHOTS)
LV Floating photographic shop passes moored houseboats. (2 SHOTS)
LV & SV Servants waiting on couple, laying table and making bed in houseboat. (3 SHOTS)
GV & SV Lakeside hotel with flower seller passing boat. (2 SHOTS)
GV & SV Shikaras passing houseboats. (3 SHOTS)
SV & LV Boat passing into tree-lined tributary leading to waterside shops and floating gardens. (2 SHOTS)
SV Passing general store.
LV Boat passing waterside carpet shop.
SV & CU INTERIOR Carpet weavers at work. (2 SHOTS)
SV & LV Boat passing wood carver's shop. (2 SHOTS)
GV Boat passing papier mache and carving shop.
SV & CU Man squatting n verandah smocking hookah.(2 SHOTS)
LV PAN & CU Local people tending ground and gathering vegetables from floating gardens. (7 SHOTS)
GV TILT Sunset through trees at lakeside as boat passes.
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Background: Kashmir justly has been called the "King of Hill Resort". The northernmost state in India, it has been endowed with a natural beauty which every year attracts millions of tourists from across the world. Kashmir's scenic attractions, and its wealth, have caused two wars between Indian and Pakistan, but the area has emerged unspoiled.
SYNOPSIS: Nature has bestowed Kashmir with remarkable scenery - towering, snow-clad mountains, streams and lakes. The mst beautiful and easily accessible tourist area in Dal Lake which really is the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir's capital and a natural holiday base.
These boats are called shikaras, Kashmir's equivalent of the gondola in Venice. More than six hundred of them play Dal Lake, providing the city with inexpensive reliable and romantic transport. In a way, the lake is part of the city's business life. Vendors sell anything from carpets to food and drink.
Srinagar revolves around Dal Lake, bustling with a variety of craft. Brightly coloured houseboats are moored along the lake edge. There are an estimated nine hundred of them, and each is a spacious and comfortable home.
All the tourist houseboats are well furnished and decorated, with amenities comparable with leading hotels. Each has its own staff to serve guests and to prepare local foods. In one holiday season, accommodation like this helps to earn the Dal, as it's known locally, well over 20-million pounds Sterling (US 50-million dollars).
Fed by numerous springs, Dal Lake is India's second largest freshwater lake, covering some fourteen square kilometres (about 5 square miles). It's big area, but the rapid recent increase in local population is concerning the Indian government.
Dal Lake and its tranquil tributaries have attracted people from neighbouring villages. They've been building their home on illegally reclaimed land. In fact the latest census report shows that almost 24-thousand people live on Dal Lake. They've encroached on nearly half the lake foreshore, causing a threat to the area's natural attractions, and therefore its tourist industry.
Many cottage industries have sprung up on the small islands. Once there were only the shikaras here. Now, one of the world's most unspoiled tourist areas is home for a carpet industry.
...a wood carver's shop ... there's a local tailor...
...and a family which makes ornaments and souvenirs from pap??? mache.
While many of the locals add to the attractions, the government has taken a serious view of the industry, which although arguably part of Dal Lake's charm, is soon to be moved. All residents who have settle on illegally reclaimed land are to be settle elsewhere. There is a current ban on any more houseboat building, and proper sanitation is to be introduced. Many of these so-called "floating gardens" are to be allowed to revert to their natural state.
Six centuries ago, a Persian poet enthused that if that is a heaven on earth, it is here in Kashmir. India is making sure the magic remains.