BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
SRINAGAR, 14 OCTOBER 2022
For the first time in its history, the Jammu and Kashmir Postal Circle has launched Shikara Post at the famous Dal Lake on the occasion of the World Post Day thus providing the postal facilities to the doorsteps of inhabitants residing nearby the famous water body.
Niraj Kumar, Chief Postmaster General (CPMG) of Jammu and Kashmir Postal Circle has inaugurated the first ever Shikara Postal Service on the very first day of the National Postal Week at Dal Lake.
Dal Lake is like a floating city. It has its own flourishing market which is house boat based. The Shikaras in Dal lake are a huge tourist attraction.
Talking to The Travel and Tourism Times, Niraj Kumar, CPMG ( J&K Circle) said that there is a floating post office that is moored to one part of the lake, but in order to provide door step bopping of parcel to the Dal Lake based traders and elderly people, the Jammu and Kashmir Circle launched Shikara Post on 9 October 2022.
“Shikara Association has expressed gratitude saying it fulfills a long pending demand. With the unprecedented growth in tourist influx, this service will be of great help for customers. Booked at the doorstep, or, boat step. Brought back to the channel for further transmission to their respective destinations,” added Niraj Kumar.
In another major step towards promoting the local products of Jammu and Kashmir, the J&K Postal Circle has come up with an unique initiative , ‘Kashmir Ka Sona, kona kona’, through its vast postal network will be able to promote and supply the products of the valley to every nook and corner of the country.
J&K Postal Circle will promote the unique products of the various districts of the union territory identified under the ‘ One District One Product’ scheme of the government, adds Niraj Kumar.
The Road Transport Network (RTN) has been extended on important sections like Jammu – Srinagar and Srinagar – Leh to speed up the delivery of the parcel services by the J&K Postal Circle.
To enhance further safety of the parcels while during transportation the red iconic mail service vehicles of the postal department have been provided with smart lock technology.
Local traders, houseboat owners and residents and tourists gathered at Dal Lake during the launching ceremony of the Shikara Mail Service.
The locals sell their vegetables and fruits in the canoes in the morning, and the floating market at Dal Lake attracts thousands of locals and tourists.
DAL LAKE :
Dal is a lake in Srinagar (Dal Lake is a misnomer as Dal in Kashmiri means lake), the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The urban lake is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”.The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
The shore line of the lake, is about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12 °F), freezing the lake.
The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as “Raad” in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.
The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin (although Nagin is also considered as an independent lake). Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively. The houseboats are closely associated with Dal Lake which provide accommodation to tourists in Srinagar.
The shikara is a type of wooden boat found on Dal Lake and other water bodies of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir Shikaras are of various sizes and are used for multiple purposes, including transportation. A usual shikara seats six people, with the driver paddling at the rear. 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, while most are covered with tarpaulins and are used by tourists. Some are used as floating homes.
Kashmir has already become a tourism hotspot in the country and a record number of tourists (22 lakhs in nine months) have visited the valley this year, breaking the 75 year old all past records, at this juncture the latest initiative of the J&K Postal department will further boost the tourism in the Dal Lake area, feels experts.