House Boats

Happy Valley Group


The houseboats in Srinagar emerged in the 19th century when the Europeans were intrigued by the beauty of Kashmir and showed interest in buying land in the valley to settle down. But there was a barrier to their request as it is restricted to purchase a land by an outsider in Kashmir which prevails till date.

As a solution, the Europeans came up with an ingenious idea to build a boat like houses on the water bodies in Kashmir. This was a mid-way discovered by them to abide by the laws made by the state and this innovative idea gave birth to the houseboats in the valley of Kashmir.

At the time when the Europeans left the boundaries of India after Independence, these beautifully built houseboats were still standing on the Dal Lake. After much thought, the owners decided to convert the houseboats into luxurious hotels settled on the water. The houseboats were a great attraction for the tourists as it gave a beautiful sight of the snow clad mountains and the pristine lake. The growing demand for houseboats emerged as a great income source for their owners.

But the tourism industry in Kashmir collapsed in the year 1989 due to insurgency and violent conflicts in the state. This time of violence brought the downfall of many houseboats in Srinagar, but many houseboats also managed to survive.

As the conflicts faded with time, the tourists started visiting the paradise state again. With the increase in the tourists, the houseboats business also started flourishing because what can be perfect than relaxing beside the calm water of the lake and enjoying the scenic view of the valley

Reason to Stay In House Boats

The houseboats in Srinagar are the preserved heritage of the state. Over the years it has been a fascination for the visitors of Kashmir to come and stay amidst the calm water of the lake in these wooden houseboats. Adorned with beautiful interiors, a stay in a houseboat in Srinagar feels like staying close to nature. Unlike the houseboats in Kerala, the houseboats in Kashmir are usually stationary moored at the edges of the Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake. Let’s read about of History of Kashmiri Houseboats.

Many tourists are attracted to Srinagar by the charm of staying on a houseboat, which provide the unique experience of living on the water in a cedar-paneled elegant bedroom, with all the conveniences of a luxury hotel. Srinagar's thousand or so houseboats are moored along sections of the Dal and Nagin Lakes and river Jhelum, each decorated fancifully and named romantically and even whimsically.

Like hotels, houseboats vary in degree of luxury and have been accordingly graded by the Department of Tourism. A luxury houseboat, like a luxury hotel has fine furniture, good carpets and modern bathroom fittings, while the lower category houseboats, like low-budget hotels, is spartanly furnished. Like hotels too, houseboats vary widely in their locations

Some overlook the main road, others look out onto lotus gardens and yet others face tiny local markets and villages, all right in the middle of the lake! All houseboats, regardless of category, have highly personalized service. Not only is there always a "houseboy" for every boat, but the owner and his family are never far away. The cost per day of hiring a houseboat may include all meals and free rides from the houseboat to the nearest jetty and back, as no houseboat on the lakes is directly accessible from the banks.

Every standard houseboat provides a balcony in the front, a lounge, dining room, pantry and bedrooms with attached bathrooms. All houseboats not moored to the bank of the river or lakes provide a shikara service from the houseboat to the nearest ghat (jetty). Virtually every houseboat in Srinagar has been provided with a municipal water connection.

Pictures of House Boats

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