The Dal Lake of Kashmir is one of the most visited tourist landmark in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The Dal Lake spreads through an area of 18-22 square Kilometers and with views of mighty Pir-Panjal coupled with wooden houseboats lining the lake, the effect is simply mesmerizing and out of this world.
The dal lake of Kashmir has a historic perspective too. In the Mughal era, it used to serve as a summer retreat for the then rulers. Over a period, the perspective for Kashmir Dal Lake has changed but it does continue to amaze the Lakhs of visitors from all over the world who continue to be mesmerized with the astounding beauty of Dal Lake in Kashmir.
The Dal Lake is also popular for its unique floating vegetable market which you will rarely find in any other corner of India. The dal lake in Kashmir serves as a lifeline for scores of people who continue to live along its shorelines since decades.
Floating Vegetable Market of Dal Lake
The dal lake of Kashmir is also immensely popular for its floating vegetable market.Vegetable sellers from all over the lake gather in the centre of the lake every morning with their produce. The sight is truly incredible as the scent of fresh vegetables mingles with the morning mist creating a unique ambiance that you would rarely get to see in any other corner of world.
Incidentally, this is also the second largest wholesale market in the world, a feat which makes it special and a place worth visiting when you are on a round of Kashmir Dal Lake.
A unique aspect about this vegetable market is that all the produce that you see here has been grown in the floating vegetable gardens of Dal Lake.
The day begins early for these vegetable sellers as they have to head to these gardens in pitch darkness of 4 AM to reap all the harvest. The produce is taken to Vegetable market or “Sabzi Bazar” as it is popularly known. This Bazzar lies in the centre of the Dal Lake which makes it more unique.
However, this market does not have any permanent shop and the entire process of selling vegetables is done through the boats only. You can well imagine the dedication of the sellers as they brave the rough weather of winters too to carry on with the customary process of selling vegetables in the Dal Lake of Kashmir.
While the dealing is done in cash, if any Indian tourist or visitor from abroad happens to buy the product, the age old tradition of barter system is also in place for locals. Another unique fact about the vegetable market is that trade in wholesale is done in this market. On a good day, you will find crops like tomatoes, carrots, lotus root or nadru (the most popular item on the list) andgreen leafy vegetables on sale here.
The buyers and sellers disappear as dawn evolves and by 7 AM, the crowd will start thinning out. The leftover then head to city streets for sell off. If you come to the Dal Lake during day time, it would be impossible to judge as if any such market could have existed here.
This market which winds up in 2.5 hours on an average produces a turnover of over 35 crores in INR, an amazing fact in itself.
So the next time around when you are in Kashmir, do plan to stay at the boathouse or Shikara in Dal Lake and experience this market come alive! I bet, the memories will last your lifetime.