Kashmir has fewer monuments, which can be described as our cultural representations. House boat is undeniably one of them because it is not just part of our tourism infrastructure but has a greater cultural significance attached to it. In Kashmir, the famed house boat are housed on Dal Lake and Jhelum river in heart of Srinagar city.
Tourists, foreigners as well as domestic, have never concealed their amazement when they first time see and experience living in the house boat. Given this importance, the decline in the number of house boats should be a cause of concern for civil society as well as the government. Various factors are responsible for the decline of house boats. For one the government in late seventies attempted to create new business elite by allotting big estates alongside the Dal Lake. Over a period of time a number of huge hotels come up on the lakeshore. One cannot deny the requirement of adequate infrastructure for the development of tourism sector but the fact is the developmental plans should have taken into consideration the importance of Kashmir’s cultural symbols. Not only did the successive governments invested lot of attention and money into promoting hotels but also neglected the house boats. This policy turnaround made house boats unpopular among the tourists. Not only this, the house boats owners inflicted huge losses because constructing a house boat is a costly affair, just one house boat can cost millions of dollars. Presently, the scenario looks grimmer but if right steps are taken to rectify past wrongs we can safeguard our cultural impressions. The government especially the tourism department needs to take steps, which can help in increasing the number of the house boats. The government must provide subsidy on the timber used for the construction of the house boat. Furthermore, the tourism department should frame policies, which would promote both hotels and house boats simultaneously without discrimination.