One of the best floating markets in India, is on the beautiful Dal Lake in Srinagar, where the locals sell their produce in canoes. Interestingly, most of the produce sold is grown in the floating gardens on the Dal Lake and are harvested only a couple of hours before being taken to the market.
At the crack of dawn, mostly in summers, the floating markets come alive. They must be visited regardless of whether you’re in the mood for shopping or not. They’re an experience not to be missed. The main part of the market is the vegetable market; where everything from a large amount of tomatoes, cucumbers, water chestnuts, the famed nadru (a delicacy prepared out of lotus roots in the valley), cauliflower, carrots, melons, brinjal and Kashmiri saag (collard greens) are sold.
The Kashmiri boatmen can be caught in action only for an hour everyday; everything is sold off like hot cakes, after which they disappear into their villages like they’d never been there.
You could be a part of the scene by comfortably shacking up in a shikara. Once the floating market winds up, you can then take a leisurely two hour ride through the local canals. Be prepared to be mesmerised by the absolute beauty surrounding every corner of Dal Lake. As a matter of fact, you’ll see many Kashmiris riding a canoe, because whether they’re going to school or visiting a neighbour, crossing the Dal Lake is inevitable.
Also known as Gudri Market, the floating markets are about a century old. Legend goes that, it all first started when the delicious melons of Dal Lake were sent to the tables of the Mughal rulers of Agra.
Other items to watch out for in the floating market are a variety of Kashmiri bakery products. Especially breads such as lavaas and girda. The florists also sell a variety of flowers; the most common ones being roses, daisies, water lilies and lotus blossoms.