Srinagar Travel Blog› entry 40 of 41 › view all entries
It was about a two-mile paddle from the Houseboat Erin to one of the main ghats (those concrete steps descending from street level to the lake) in Srinagar. Young boys or old women hovered there requesting one Rupee to guard parked shikharas. The one time that we refused to pay - not realizing that it was actually an organized effort - we later found our shikhara drifting far out on the lake. The boys got a Rupee to retrieve it and another for parking. Chris and I learned our lesson.
The winding streets and roads of Srinagar followed the contour of the Jehlum River. Most shops and businesses lined the lake and riverfront. The Zero Inn, Abdoolah's, and the Hollywood were several of the restaurants that we frequented for light snacks or tea and cake whenever we went to town.
From the high Himalayas the Jehlum fed Dal Lake, flowed toward Rawalpindi in northeast Pakistan, then emptied into the Indus River. Rawalpindi was not really far away but to get there overland one would have to travel sixteen hours south over the mountains to Jammu and Amritsar by bus, cross into Pakistan at Lahore, then travel back north for fourteen hours by train. With the disputed Kashmir boundary, tensions remained high and border crossings were limited.
Several small bridges crossed the Jehlum to the older section of the city. Shops and businesses there tended to have more variety and lower prices than the modern waterfront shops of Srinagar. The bridges provided spectacular views of life on the river which was lined with houseboats much more crude and primitive than those on Dal Lake.