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Photographer's Note

For the Mughal emperor Jahangir, Kashmir was an obsessive passion. He had been so mesmerized by its beauty that he once exclaimed, 'Agar Firdaus
barrue zamin ast, hamin ast, hamin ast, hamin ast.' (If paradise is anywhere on earth, Firdaus, it is here, it is here, it is here.) Despite the terrorist activities which have been in international focus in recent times, Kashmir in general and the Dal Lake in particular has retained the tag of being the Paradise on Earth.
The Dal Lake is Srinagar's major life-support system with its wide variety of marine life: fish, lotus roots, plants and floating gardens. Being the pride of Kashmir and a World Heritage site, Dal has within its area, four enormous sheet-like expanses of water - Lokutdal, Boddal, Gagribal and Nagin. The Lake however is not a flat, unbroken mass of water, but a labyrinth of waterways interspersed with man-made strips of lands inhabited by colonies of people and vegetation. These people have been living on the Dal for centuries and are completely self-sufficient.
The Shikara or the wooden boat you see here is the center to the life of these people. It is their only means of communication across the vast water body. The only time the Kashmiris discard their Shikaras is during the winter when the whole lake turns into a frozen playground and onecan walk across it. It is often said that a Kashmiri child learns to paddle a shikara even before he learns to walk or swim. Often compared to the gondolas of Venice, the shikaras are a cultural symbol of Kashmir. The best exploration of Srinagar is to board a Shikara and follow its course through the heart of the city, past willow-shaded channels and the Mughal gardens Srinagar is so famous for.
This is in continuance of my first post on Shikara. This was captured as the first rays of the Sun hit the shimmering Dal.

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Additional Photos by Sabyasachi Talukdar (sabyasachi1212) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3140 W: 281 N: 5210] (19779)
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