Sailing with the Flower Man

Bashira Ahmed Akhoon sails along the backwater canals of Dal Lake, Srinagar every day for more than 27 years. Early in the morning, he will set off from his home, which has a vast flower garden, and slowly sails through small canals of the lake on his boat, or “shikara” in the local language. It takes him two hours to reach the western part of the lake, where most boathouses and tourists are concentrated. That is where his customers are.

Bashira Ahmed Akhoon on his boat loaded with colorful flowers

Bashira Ahmed Akhoon on his boat loaded with colorful flowers

I had an opportunity to follow him for an hour on his way back home. It had rained heavily in the morning before we met, which means he did not make good business on that day. We sailed slowly along the green canals, covered with big green trees and surrounded by floating gardens on both sides. It was quiet and peaceful. One of my unforgettable experiences in Kashmir.

While sailing along the canal in Dal Lake

While sailing along the canal in Dal Lake

Srinagar, India, July 2014.

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