Houseboats of Dal Lake, the "Floating Palaces" Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India
Houseboats and the Dal Lake are widely associated with Srinigar and are nicknamed "floating palaces". Built according to British customs, they are generally made from local cedar-wood and measure 24 to 38 m (79 to 125 ft) in length and 3 to 6 m (10 to 20 ft) in width. Many of them have lavishly furnished rooms with verandas and a terrace to serve as a sun-deck or to serve evening cocktails. Each houseboat has an exclusive shikara for ferrying guests to the shore.
A shikara is small paddled taxi boat, made of wood with a canopy and a spade shaped bottom. It is the cultural symbol of Kashmir and is used not only for ferrying visitors but is also used for the vending of fruits, vegetables and flowers and for the fishing and harvesting of aquatic vegetation. The shikara is also used as transport to sightseeing locations in the valley, notably a cruise along the Jhelum River, offering scenic views of the Pir Panjal mountains and passing through the famous seven bridges and the backwaters en route..