Cold Hits Shikara Owners’ Biz, Keeps Tourists At Bay

Cold Hits Shikara Owners’ Biz, Keeps Tourists At Bay

21 January 2012
Rising Kashmir
Rizwan Geelani

Srinagar: Shikara owners, who witnessed a booming business during summer months, are left with no work in winter as the biting cold keeps tourists and locals away from enjoying Shikara ride in the Dal Lake. “In summers each Shikara owner takes tourists for a ride four times a day but now hardly any wants to move into Dal Lake,” said Chairman all J&K Shikara Workers Union, Ghulam Muhammad Kaloo. Thought Dal Lake is a major attraction for tourists but they mostly visit Gulmarg in winters for skiing and Gondola ride. “During winters we have almost no business. Tourists mostly visit Gulmarg to enjoy snowfall and skiing. They don’t move in Shikara as Dale Lake remains frozen,” said Kaloo. According to Shikara owners, around 2500 families are earning livelihood from this trade at Dal, Nigeen and Mansbal Lake. But during winters, some of the Shikara owners move to Goa to earn livelihood. “Many Shikara owners move to Goa during winter months for livelihood. They work there as either salesman or as photographer,” said Imran Ahmad, who is a photographer, associated with Shikara owners. Many others move to other places in India and works as hawkers to sell handicrafts. “Two of my sons are rowing Shikara during summers but during winters they sell handicrafts like shawls and pashmina in Delhi,” said a Shikara owner, Bashir Ahmad Palla.