The urban lake, Dal, in it's interiors is serenely calm as rural resting destination. Known as the "Jewel of Kashmir", lake is often inclined towards tourism neglecting the benefits of it's environment for a commoner like me. Residing in midst of Dal lake, it took me 23 years to realize that Dal possesses everything that can cover the drowning heart.
May be the reason lies in the fact that I need no boat to reach my home and have proper roadways. The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres and every time I visit, takes me into a new world. Dal is so huge in exploring that not even a single time I could reach a known shore. With the very first step on the sea shore like banks of lake in the foothills of the Shankar Acharya Hill, people welcome you as a deity has walked the ramp. This is the specialty of Kashmir and Kashmiris that people wrap you in their bosom, giving a homely warmth and care. With the second step in Shikara, the journey to a world beyond these lines starts where one feels no need of the electronic friends and wants to rest undisturbed. I remembered visiting a village where no network could meet my mobile phone yet I felt so calm within the fresh air feeling in another world.
For the first time, Dal to me was not as the heart of city but somewhere beyond the meadows, undiscovered, undisclosed, unmentioned, undetected, unexplored and forever a secret. The beautiful Dal residing in the arms of huge mountains. The eyes of sky scouring its face, the shining Sun kissing its lips and the dark eyes of Dal wearing collyrium of the burning leaves presents a view of something that urban people long for.
We often wait for weekends to visit farmhouses. It is because in a rural area we get a totally different insight into the local culture and the way people live but to my surprise I got everything in the interiors of Dal. The big residential houseboats called as "dongas" floats over water harbouring a different life inside.
There are people living like you and me but in a different way. They don't run on paths rather swim very far. There are not really any supermarkets but some rough tin sheds decorated with the chips lines and jars of candies. The beauty is added with the velvet carpet of green lotus and chest nut leaves with the brightening starts of Dal, water lilies.
Dal is a heaven full of hideouts where every gush of water moving takes you into a new world. You'll be awestruck by the beauty of this village which isn't a village at all. This never existing village is home to hundreds of landscapes escaping a normal eye.
I never thought the city centre will be my village and would give me such scenic views and breath-taking atmosphere. There's no way one will not fall in love with place.