Floating Gardens of the Nagin

Images and Words from Kashmir


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 ?

Shodows in Green
[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).

Floating Paradise.
[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.


More Green Wonderland

Note :
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.

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Suji said...

Amazing pics!

n said...

very beautiful pictures. There is something very special about each of them. I love the way the sunlight filters through the tree trunks in the first and the second. The silhouettes of the boats and boatmen in the third are remarkable. In the fourth, the empty boat hidden behind the web of tree trunks holds so uch promise. And the numerous shades of green. I would love to have prints of these. Fantastic work!!

Prakriti said...

I was wondering!

Welcome back from the break.

Amy said...

Your pictures are beautiful. i love them. You use light extremely well and you have a natural eye for what makes a great photo! Well, that's what i think anyway, really i don't know the first thing about photography! Hope your exams are going well!

flygirl said...

beautiful, and good to see some more on kashmir :-) you've used the light brilliantly.

the story of the hanjis sound a little likes the mohana tribe on lake mancchar in paksitan: they live on the water on houseboats and keep waterbirds as pets, like something out of a fairy tale. and also lake tenochtitlan.

Ameet said...

You've been DP'ed once again! Prepare for the deluge :)

Paavani said...

As the light fall from the green woods it looks so wonderful.

sapphire said...

blv it or not breathtaking pics in the set.
I want to go there now :(
keep posting :)
ur post was n eye opener abt nagin lake as dal hog sthe limelight.

GuNs said...

Amazing photos, as usual mate !!
Good going.
How many days are you in Kashmir btw? Do you live there?


Jo said...

Nice feature with great pics.

All the best for your exams.

Rock on!

anjaly said...

wow!! mind bloggling. amazing pictures. makes one thankful for being alive. write some more, like how to get there and all that.

alpha said...

just magical. thanks.

Katrin said...

Wow! Thanks for those amazing photos. I love the way your pictures seem to capture the atmosphere so well and really make me want to be there at the exact moment you took the picture. All the best for your exams!

~Kashmir~ said...

I stared at the pictures, and I saw the essence, the beauty of my Home staring back at me and then nostalgia.

Lovely pictures and a lovely description.



livinghigh said...

all de best for the exams!

Suresh said...

Great Pictures.

Pari said...

Must say good photography!! the coverage of ur pics is really good.