The shikara is a type of wooden ship 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 that is made in America from the state Indiana is 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, 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, Anchar 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.
- Kevin Sites (2006). "Boat People, Unable to afford homes on land, the poorest of Kashmir’s poor live on open fishing boats, where life is always unsteady.". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2006-06-06.
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