A Luxury Houseboat On the Dal Lake

Sukoon Houseboat

Sukoon Houseboat

, Jammu & Kashmir
, India

Sukoon is a luxurious eco-friendly houseboat that offers five well crafted rooms, including a suite, a communal living room and a dining room. They are designed with pinewood flooring, traditional Kashmiri wooden furniture, beautiful wall carvings, and large windows. The large sun deck is a favourite spot among travellers where you start your day with breakfast while watching boats filled with fresh produce or flowers making their way to the market.

Our Rating: Luxury
Property Type: Boutique


Dal Lake, often called the Heart of Srinagar, is surrounded by snow-capped mountains on three sides, studded with houseboats, colourful shikaras and lined with Mughal gardens and orchards on its banks. Take a shikara ride to explore the inner waterways and creeks of this iconic lake in Kashmir to see life on Dal Lake. "Madam, Kahwa?" is often a call you will hear from smiling boatmen who sell Kahwa (a special type of Kashmiri tea) on the lake, while others sell flowers, ornaments, jewellery, handicrafts or even fruits and snacks.

Throughout the day, local men, women, and children ride their narrowboats across the lake. Sunsets are beautiful here, where the sky paints itself bright orange and golden with stunning views of Pir Panjal mountains in the backdrop.

Staying on a houseboat on Dal Lake is a unique experience in Kashmir and forms an interesting part of its geopolitical legacy. The British started building these houseboats in response to the Dogra Kings, whose policy did not allow the British to buy land in Kashmir. Since there were no restrictions on living on water, they wanted to replicate a little England in Kashmir by constructing these floating homes. However, much before the British came into picture, these houseboats were always a part of the heritage of Kashmir and were known as ‘behaz’ (cargo boats with an open attic) and ‘dongas’. Today, they are home to many local Kashmiris.

The floating gardens, known as "Rad"’ in Kashmiri are a visual treat when lotus flowers blossom between July and August. Set among them in a secluded corner of the Lake, with views of the misty Pir Panjal mountains, hilltop forts and temples, lies Sukoon Houseboat. Sensitively restored it seamlessly blends the old-world charm of a traditional houseboat with modern comforts.


The five bedrooms are plush, capturing the elegance and romance of a nostalgic houseboat opulence. The rooms are named after the famed Mughal gardens of Srinagar and are spacious with comfortable king beds, a desk and chair, and walnut chests that double as luggage racks. The en-suite bathrooms are spacious and sport a tub and stand alone shower, while the fifth room at the end of a long corridor – Shalimar Bagh, is a spacious family suite that can accommodate four people.

Designed with original intricate carved wood panelling, ornate chandeliers, swirling fans, pine floors and colonial-style furniture, excellent cream linens coupled with the colourful silks that add to the room’s contemporary twist. The ceilings boast of khatamband panelling throughout, with large windows while the sundeck offers panoramic vistas of the Zabarwan mountains.


At Sukoon, a delectable collection of traditional Kashmiri, Indian and continental cuisine is served. You can choose to have a meal indoors at the multi-cuisine restaurant or dine on the Sun Deck – Fizaa. Offering 360-degree views of the lake and surrounding mountains, breakfast on the deck under the morning sun is the perfect way to start the day and sip on steaming cups of kahwa. High tea with delicious pakodas and sandwiches is set up on the deck at sunset. You can also enjoy a romantic private candlelight dinner under the moonlight with distant lights on the mountains reflected on the lake to form a perfect backdrop.


Take a colourful Shikara to explore the canals and hidden byways of the tranquil Dal Lake, that is a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to the Greylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Brahminy Duck and Common Teal.

Watch waterside shops and houses and their rhythm of life, take a stroll with the chef to buy vegetables from the early morning floating market that serves the city of Srinagar on the ancient barter system. Visit a local house run by charming families to learn the secrets of traditional family recipes and local dishes, or spend endless days and nights lazing around on the houseboat. During your stay here, you can book a culinary class with the chefs.

Take a look at the lovely letter the Chapri family received from Neil Armstrong’s team on his return to Earth when he was invited to visit Srinagar by them.

Visit the Mughal gardens, timeless mountain villages, the bazaars and mosques of Srinagar’s old town or stroll through the narrow streets, stop at the Zaina Kadal Market to soak up the ambience or drive up to the Shankaracharya temple after a traditional Kashmiri lunch.

Hike the Zabarwan hills, accompanied by a villager – the trail originating from a Sufi shrine near a small village and ending at a small cave where a Sufi saint is believed to have meditated for several years.

You could also choose to explore the Sukoon Safari Camp, set amidst greenery and fringed by deodar forests, where you can visit local trout farms to pick up fish for the evening meal, spend the night in luxury tents with food being cooked over crackling wood fires and watch the flames give tantalising glimpses of the stunning mountain panorama surrounding the camp.

Perfect For
discovering Kashmir Valley and experiencing their warm hospitality, rich culture, and pristine nature on a houseboat.

Operational Status

Sukoon Houseboat is operational from March to November

Why we love this place

Sukoon is an eco conscious houseboat in Srinagar as no waste is discharged into the lake. It is fitted with a bio-tank, making it a signpost of the future direction in sustainable tourism.

About your host

ABChapri Retreats provides a portfolio of unique, carefully curated itineraries for those who seek mindful and authentic experiences. Altaf Chapri Hussain, CEO at ABChapri Retreats, is a passionate traveller who believes experiences work well when blended harmoniously with local environment and community. He also believes that slow travel will help preserve natural habitats, enable travellers to become environmentally sensitive and pave the way toward sustainable travel.

Responsible/Sustainable Tourism

A holiday should relax and regenerate you, not frazzle you out. Slow down and see what is around you, with the balm of nature’s beauty taking the strain out of those tired brains and bodies’ – Altaf Chapri, Co-Founder/MD, ABChapri Retreats

Sukoon is the first houseboat in Kashmir to be fitted with a bio-tank, which means that no waste is discharged into the lake.
The houseboat follows a no-plastic policy; therefore, all plastic is banned onboard.
Drinking water is purified by reverse osmosis and is provided in glass bottles.

The houseboat uses local and organically produced materials wherever possible.

Our Recommendation

Indulge in a peaceful and romantic getaway at this traditional yet luxurious houseboat - Sukoon perfectly symbolises its Sufi meaning; an elevated state of mind combining peace, wisdom and contentment.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)