A beautiful fleet of gondolas struggle to stay afloat on the Dal in Srinagar, bobbing to a different rhythm from the times they hosted the rich and the famous. Talal Ansari in The Indian Express:
High above the banks of the Dal stands a 600-year-old chinar tree. Under its canopy lies a sinking, decaying houseboat of 1942 vintage where George Harrison of the Beatles once struck his early, tentative notes on the sitar.
Those were, however, the days of Kashmir’s glory as a Shangri-La high up in the Himalayas and a haven for foreign holiday makers. And Claremont Houseboats, a fleet of gondolas at the far edge of the Dal near Hazratbal shrine, served as a special retreat for diplomats and international celebrities.
Then came 1990 and everything changed in Kashmir. The guest book at Claremont’s front desk is a story of Kashmir’s days and nights of war and peace. Beaming in times of peace and enduring in the years of conflict, the Claremont Houseboats still manage to stay afloat.