The Nagin lake is a peaceful cleaner smaller cousin of the Dall Lake in Srinagar is an unforgettable experience - is not only extremely relaxing but offers a close look at the almost amphibian life of the Hanjis, the boat people. The once floating gardens, approachable only by boat, are now rooted to one mace and only grow vegetables but still remain divided into islands by cries-crossing currents. A leisurely ride in a Shikara unfurls the mystique of this lake. A floating garden of exotic water lilies, the enchanting kingfisher, family of ducklings in a myriad maze of green man made canals.
So What is a floating Garden ?
[Floating Gardens of the Nagin]
Along thin strip of land about twenty yards by one yard is cut off from the side of a swamp containing the matted roots of a bulrush bed, which is cut off from underneath, allowing a thickness of about two feet and a half, and the whole mass floats up. The floating mass is anchored to a boat and punted to a secure position. In course of time weeds and mud settle down on it and lo! we have a floating garden. Sometimes it happens that a farmer steals away a garden of his neighbour. The Kashmiri name for a floating garden is rad. These gardens yield tomatoes, cucumbers, musk and other kinds of melons. The manure used is the rotting pond-weeds in coils. This rich bounty of vegetable once yielded is sold on the floating market (see this post to learn more).
[The Hanjis collecting to aquatic weeds on the dall to feed their floating gardens and vegetable patchs.]
You sink slowly with every step, dabbing back and fourth as you walk on what you think is land but it's not quiet there. Floating patches masses of weed and mud anchored to a boat or a stray to pieces of land and held together by thin willow trees. These are the magical and ingenious floating gardens of the Nagin.
On a secondary Note, I apologise for my absence from the blogosphere. It is just that I’m swamped with exams at the moment. Stay tuned all the same for I’ll have a lot of stuff to post once I’m over with this menace. Till then take a look at all of my Kashmir pictures.