Houseboats going five star rated in Kashmir

Houseboat owners in Kashmir valley are busy giving a facelift to their boats in an attempt to woo tourists ahead of the summer season. The valley is echoing to the sounds of tongs and hammers, as houseboats are being mended and decked up with furnishings. The owners claim that the houseboats are being carpeted and embellished like any five star hotel.

"Tourism is the backbone of our region. We are trying to attract an increasing number of tourists by renovating the houseboats. We have made arrangements in the boats so that tourists get five star treatment," said Abdul Ahad Sheera, a houseboat owner.
But what tourists are not aware of is that it takes a lot of hard work to maintain these houseboats that provide the comfort of a living room and the luxury of a bedroom. Now, after months of winter, the houseboats that lay still on the frozen Dal Lake are all set to thrill the visitors."The houseboats are in the water for a major part of the time, so mending them becomes a necessity," said Bashir Ahmed, a houseboat carpenter.

With Kashmir rolling out a carpet of tulips with the onset of spring, houseboat owners are anticipating brisk business. The houseboat rides have always been a hit with both domestic as well as foreign tourists. The shikaras or gondolas and houseboats have been the main attraction in the picturesque Dal Lake in Srinagar.
Originally introduced by the British during the colonial era, the houseboats are aimed at providing wholesome entertainment to tourists.

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