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The Floating Market On The Dal Lake

Last updated on: June 05, 2023 18:33 IST
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Going to the market can never be dull in Srinagar.

Meena Bazar, a floating marketplace right smack in the middle of Dal Lake, is a congregation of shops located on a fleet of shikaras.

Handicrafts, saffron, wool dhurries and a bunch of other Kashmir-centric items can be purchased on shops situated on large watercraft.

The best part about this shopping excursion is that it has to be reached by shikara and you do your window-shopping, bargaining, dickering, price squabbling and buying from the luxury of your own boat, without geting a case of shopping legs.

What fun to go on a marketing spree in a shikara, discovers Ashish Narsale/

IMAGE: As you enter the floating shopaholic paradise, you encounter enchanting displays of Kashmiri handicrafts, so beautiful your wallet ought to jaldi se take legs. All photographs shot on OnePlus 11: Ashish Narsale/


IMAGE: All Kashmiri handicrafts showcase the beauty and essence of Mughal art in their workmanship and patterns, be it hand-woven carpets, Pashmina shawls or phirans (the Kashmiri kurta).


IMAGE: Papier-mache work (a craft using paper pieces or pulp first discovered in China) is another famous Kashmiri craft. Lacquered and brightly coloured and designed boxes, animals, wee bowls and platters are available.


IMAGE: Shop owners wait for customers as the market opens. And then The Great Shopping Game will start up with many nail-biting rounds of bickering and bartering.


IMAGE: And you can't leave Meena Bazaar without picking up some fine woollen articles -- shawls, scarves, hats or stuff with sozni wool embroidery etc.


IMAGE: It's a mighty unusual view for city dwellers to see a traffic jam of boats. And no cops :)


IMAGE: Or women steering their own shikaras.

IMAGE: Anyone need to hitchhike a ride across? Just put out your thumb and there might be a splashing of oars and some kind soul to ferry you to the shore.


IMAGE: A two-minute Maggi dish is a must on the menu of any Kashmiri eatery and Meena Bazar offers too the opportunity to tuck into a hot bowl of noodles (at a 'food court' restaurant in the water mall; kebabs are also sold on wandering kebab hawker boats) before browsing for exquisite carved wooden furniture, again a craft that is a throwback to art of the Mughal renaissance.


IMAGE: The Lake of Flowers, which is how the Dal got its name, ought to have a florist right?


IMAGE: Hungry! A sumptuous floating barbeque is ready just 0.000539957 nautical miles -- one metre, that is -- from our boat. Wah!


IMAGE: French fries in the centre of the Dal Lake, with mountain vistas all about, are far better than having them in Paris. My guarantee.


IMAGE: Let's finish with a fruit treat. Go for the Kashmiri apples, probably from an orchard less than a kilometre away. Or delicious cherries.


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