Arrival in Kashmir

Srinagar Travel Blog

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Mild winter on Dal Lake

While the surrounding Korakoram Range of the Himalayas was blanketed, only patches of snow spotted the gray shores of Dal Lake as a taxi-boater paddled us across glassy waters in a shikhara . Hundreds of elaborately trimmed houseboats lay vacant, absorbing sunshine in the chilly mountain air awaiting the summer season which would begin sometime in May. Unfortunately, Chris and I would be long gone by then.

 

As we approached the houseboat Erin, Rehman Langoo ran out to greet us. He had aged considerably more than the seven-and-a-half years since I had first met him. He still maintained a toothy smile but his thick head of curly black hair had grayed and his face had wrinkled and weathered. He didn't immediately recognize me but  was thrilled to have been remembered and returned to - especially so early in the year.

Rehman Langoo (in 1976)

 

He proudly showed us the super deluxe houseboat Erin, built in the early 1960's. It was the flagship of his small fleet offering four-star accommodation. Creaking carpeted floors led us through three sleeping chambers, each furnished with wide four-poster beds that were topped with colorful quilts. Nightstands and mirrored dressing tables were adorned with shaded lamps, hand-painted flower vases, and white doilies which I hadn't seen since my grandmother passed away. Attached baths included four-legged bathtubs which were filled by buckets of hot water from an outside source. The dining room boasted a thick hardwood table, six chairs laced in leather, embroidered tapestry wall coverings, and elaborately handcrafted furniture. Delicate white curtains dressed windows which flooded a parlor with daylight and provided spectacular views of the lake and nearby mountains.

 

The smaller houseboat, Young Erin, was more modestly decorated, furnished, and priced.

The Erin
It replaced the  New Erin which I had stayed on years earlier. That vessel now rested on its starboard side, submerged, behind the Erin. Chris and I chose neither of the houseboats, instead, opting for the low-budget hut which was built on a narrow spit of land between the boats.

 

Our simple room included two king-sized beds with heavy quilts and blankets, a small table, two chairs, a low-watt light bulb, and a pot-bellied wood-stove. Our ten dollar a day price included breakfast, an afternoon pot of tea, dinner, firewood, and unlimited use of a shikhara.

 

 

diggidag says:
Wow, we were in Srinagar in 1988,living at the Top Erin. We didnĀ“t meet the son but it was mostly Baba, his wife, Three daughters and two Nepali guys (Badhur och "Little" Badhur).
Maybe we are going back there next spring.
Nice to see someone else who liked that houseboat.
Posted on: Apr 06, 2015
NinaFred says:
Very good description we went there in March 2009 the Top Erin is the name of the houseboat currently held by the son Lagoo makes us spend a great stay.
Posted on: Sep 16, 2009
SheLuvz2Fly says:
Very well written! Impressive!
Posted on: Aug 13, 2007
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Mild winter on Dal Lake
Mild winter on Dal Lake
Rehman Langoo (in 1976)
Rehman Langoo (in 1976)
The Erin
The Erin
Our hut
Our hut
Stuff
Stuff
Srinagar
photo by: vishal_