Srinagar, known for its rich cultural heritage and picturesque landscapes, is set to embark on a transformative journey in early 2024 by introducing battery-powered boats as a part of a groundbreaking public transportation system. This ambitious project aims to rejuvenate ancient waterways, connecting the city’s cultural landmarks along the banks of the Jhelum River while providing a much-needed public transport solution for the residents living within the enchanting Dal Lake.
In an effort to fulfil this vision, a fleet of thirty-two battery-operated boats will traverse the five basins of Dal Lake, including Nehru Park, Nishat Bagh, Hazratbal, Nigeen, and Barari Nambal. The plan involves extensive dredging of waterways, particularly the Dalgate-Rainawari route, to restore access to historically significant destinations like the Shalimar Garden, which were previously accessible only via the lake.
An official from Srinagar Smart City Limited emphasised their commitment to implementing water transportation in Dal Lake and the Jhelum River, aiming to alleviate traffic congestion and offer a novel public transportation experience. The project is approaching the final stages of boat sample approval, with the first phase set to debut in the coming year, featuring two boat types: eight-seater and twenty-seater vessels.
These battery-powered boats are expected to serve as a convenient mode of transportation for both the residents of the Jhelum River and Dal Lake. Moreover, this initiative promises to breathe new life into Dal Lake’s backwaters, inviting tourists to embark on a unique journey reminiscent of the Mughal era when empresses and nobility frequented these waterways to access the legendary gardens nestled at the base of the Zabarwan hills.