Shikara

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The shikara is a type of wooden boat found on Dal Lake and other water bodies of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India. Shikaras are of varied sizes and are used for multiple purposes, including transportation of people. Drivers use oars having a unique spade-shaped bottom to row the shikara. A usual shikara seats half-a-dozen people, with the driver sitting at the lower end. Like the Venetian gondolas, they are a cultural symbol of Kashmir. Some shikaras are still used for fishing, harvesting aquatic vegetation (usually for fodder), and transport in the deeper parts of Dal Lake, while most are covered with tarpaulins and are used by tourists. Some are used as floating homes by poor people.



Shikaras have become quite a popular tourist attraction, with tourists taking cruises along the Dal and Nageen lakes, visiting places of interest. A very popular postcard photo of a shikara is the florist's shikara, in which the florist carries varied flowers for sale.

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