Many tourists are attracted to Srinagar by the charm of staying on a houseboat, which provides the unique experience of living on the water in a cedar-panelled elegant bedroom, with all the conveniences of a luxury hotel. Srinagar's thousand or so houseboats are moored along sections of the Dal and Nagin Lakes and river Jhelum, each decorated fancifully and named romantically and even whimsically. Like hotels, houseboats vary in degree of luxury and have been accordingly graded by the Department of Tourism. A luxury houseboat, like a luxury hotel has fine furniture, good carpets and modern bathroom fittings, while the ‘D category' (the lowest category) of houseboats, like low-budget hotels, is spartanly furnished. Like hotels too, houseboats vary widely in their locations. Some overlook the main road, others look out onto lotus gardens and yet others face tiny local markets and villages, all right in the middle of the lake! All houseboats, regardless of category, have highly personalized service. Not only is there always a "houseboy" for every boat, but the owner and his family are never far away. The cost per day of hiring a houseboat includes all meals and free rides from the houseboat to the nearest jetty and back, as no houseboat on the lakes is directly accessible from the banks.
Every standard houseboat provides a balcony in the front, a lounge, dining room, pantry and 3 or more bedrooms with attached bathrooms. All houseboats not moored to the bank of the river or lakes provide a shikara as a free service from the houseboat to the nearest ghat (jetty). Virtually every houseboat in Srinagar has been provided with a municipal water connection.
Category and location of houseboats
The State Tourism Department has classified the houseboats into five categories - Deluxe, A, B, C and D, corresponding more or less to the degree of comfort and service of hotels.
There are 1087 registered houseboats in Srinagar of which 702 are anchored in the Dal Lake, 173 in the Nagin Lake, 142 on the River Jhelum, 5 on the Dal Lake near Naseem Bagh, and the rest in other water bodies. Among these, 349 houseboats with a combined capacity of 1007 double rooms are in the Deluxe class and are mainly anchored in Dal Lake , Nageen Lake , and Naseem Bagh . In addition there are 129 A-class houseboats, 124 B-class houseboats, 134 C-class houseboats and 351 D-class houseboats. Detailed break-up of various classes of houseboats and their mooring location are as under:
||No. of H. Boats
||Total No. of rooms
For reservation and enquiries contact the House Boat Owners Association Counter in the Tourist Reception Centre, Srinagar Tel: No. 2450326.