8 Top Floating Holiday Destinations in India - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

8 Top Floating Holiday Destinations in India

Dal Lake - Srinagar with snow capped Himalayas in the background

Thinking of planning something different for the upcoming winter holiday season. How about a floating holiday where you completely slow down the pace of your life and experience the beauty of our country’s many amazing water bodies from a totally new perspective? Does that sound interesting to you? If it does, the below list of the 8 top floating holiday destinations in India is just for you.

1) Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

The famous Shikhara house boats of Dal Lake - Srinagar

Remember the famous song from the 60s ‘Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra’ featuring Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore. This song along with other songs, films and movies were shot here. I am talking about Dal lake, the second largest lake in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Surrounded by snow capped mountains of the Himalayas and Mughal gardens, this lake is known for its colourful shikhara houseboats, ever friendly and beautiful locals, floating gardens and surreal views.

Part of a larger wetland, Dal lake is connected with other water bodies through causeways and it is this large body of water that is home to many floating attractions that can be easily explored in either a shikhara houseboat or a smaller boat for the narrower waterways. With Hindu, Mughal, Sikh and British influence, the Dal lake is a perfect way to appreciate the multitude of cultural stories while soaking in the mountain views, the floating life, the many beautiful versions of mother nature and Kashmiri hospitality.

2) Vembanad Lake, Alappuzha, Kerala

Luxury Houseboat motors on the backwaters of Allapuzha, Kerala, India

It is one of Kerala’s top tourist attractions and an extremely popular honeymoon destination in India. I am referring to the famed backwaters of Kerala, the most famous of which is Vembanad lake, also the longest lake in India. Connecting Kochi to Kumarakom to Alappuzha to Kollam, it is a massive system of rivers, canals, backwaters and islands interspersed with paddy fields, coconut trees and toddy shops. When we think of these backwaters, the Vembanad lake near Alappuzha comes to mind along with those massive luxurious houseboats. These houseboats allow you to float on these waters while experiencing Kerala’s rustic life, delicious cuisine, and get drunk on the local toddy drink. And you can do this for days together as that is how long and big this lake system is.

3) Mandovi River, Panjim, Goa

A floating holiday on the Mandovi river in Goa

We all know Goa for its beaches, parties and waterfalls, but there is an offbeat and uber luxurious side of Goa that not everyone is aware of. I am talking about the floating casinos of Goa, one of the very few places in India where you can legally gamble. Located on the Mandovi river, these floating casinos (like Deltin Royale, Big Daddy Casino, Casino Pride, etc.) come alive after sunset and the action continues till the wee hours of the morning. There is live music, dance, exquisite food, rich suites and many avenues of gambling. No need to go to Macau or Las Vegas, you can stroke your indulgence in full opulence in these floating casinos. You can play baccarat, blackjack, backgammon, poker, teen patti, roulette, slot machines and many other games. You could practice and brush up your card game skills during the day through online sites such as Comeon and then confidently gamble at these floating casinos in the night. A perfect win-win combo for all gamblers.

4) Konaseema, Andhra Pradesh

The Godavari river at Rajamundhry

Strikingly similar to the backwaters of Kerala, Konaseema is the hidden land of the Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. It is an absolutely gorgeous group of islands located in the Godavari delta not too far away from the city of Rajahmundry. It’s virgin backwaters are made up of palm-fringed lakes, canals, lagoons, coconut groves, paddy fields, regal temples, charming villages, unspoiled beaches and indigenous cuisine. It is a proper offbeat rustic holiday destination that allows you to experience India’s rich beauty and cultures while cutting off from the world of the mainland.

5) Loktak Lake, Manipur

The phumdis of Loktak Lake, Manipur

It is India’s only floating national park and it is the largest freshwater lake in North East India. Bearing striking resemblance to the Inle lake and its floating life in Myanmar, Loktak lake is a wetland that boasts of rich biodiversity in vegetation, avifauna, fauna and aquafauna. It’s people live on islands locally referred to as phumdis that float on this lake. Even visitors get to float by staying in cottages that are built on such phumdis. Go here for a true floating life amidst an pristine ecosystem with rich biodiversity.

6) Brahmaputra River, Assam

Sunset at Brahmaputa river, Assam

One of India’s largest rivers, the sacred Brahmaputra river (one of the few rivers of India with male names) originates in the Mansarovar region near Mount Kailash in Tibet, China and ends up in the Bay of Bengal after merging the Ganges river (Padma in Bangladesh). Close to 3000 kms long and many kilometres wide at its widest stretch, the gargantuan Brahmaputra is navigable for most of its length and this makes it an great way to experience the rustic charms, lush nature and beauty of Assam. Luxury cruise boats take you from island to temple to island to national park to wildlife sanctuary to beautiful villages with indigenous people making it one of the most beautiful experiences to be had in Assam.

7) Poovar Island, Kerala

Poovar beach on Poovar Island, Kerala

A gorgeous piece of land tucked in between the Arabian Sea and the lagoon formed by the Neyyar river, Poovar island known for its luxurious hotels, pristine beaches and pretty nature. The properties located on Poovar are similar to the lagoon suites of Maldives and are extremely popular with honeymooners and couples who come here for a romantic holiday. Add to it, rustic charm, ayurvedic massages, delicious Kerala cuisine and a relaxed atmosphere and you have a full-on holiday package.

8) Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Lily pond at Lake Palace, Udaipur

Once the summer palace of the royal dynasty of Mewar, it is now a uber luxurious 5 star hotel belonging to the Taj group of hotels. Located on Udaipur’s Lake Pichola, everything about Taj Lake palace oozes royalty. Be it it’s ornamental marble walls adorned by semi-precious stones, its exquisite gardens, fountains and courtyards or its lavish rooms, this floating hotel was designed with rich taste and class. Add to it the colourful boats, the mist covered views during the winter months and the royal Rajasthani food and you have the most luxurious floating experience of India.

Photo Courtesy: Some of the photographs in this article have been borrowed from wikipedia.org under the Creative Commons license. Each photograph has been linked to its host page on wikipedia.org.

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