In yet another sign of changing times for the good, the Jammu & Kashmir administration is planning a Floating Open Air Theatre on the famous Dal Lake where 150 people will be able to sit in ‘shikaras’ and watch movies or documentaries portraying the culture and heritage of Kashmir.
News18 has accessed a proposal document in this regard which says the project will come up in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model and may start functioning later this year. The unique project would involve floating electronic digital display screens with sound systems and a movable viewing platform with a minimum capacity of 150 persons for which arrangements will be done on the ‘shikaras’ or boats. In short, the ‘shikaras’ will act as the sitting and viewing decks. This will be a ticketed activity aimed at tourists as well as locals.
As reported by News18 last October, the J&K Administration is also planning to install a giant Ferris Wheel in the middle of Dal Lake on a small island, which could be termed the ‘Srinagar Eye’ — much like the London Eye. Such moves, if they go through, could become a huge draw for tourists and also send a significant message in Kashmir, with the Dal Lake becoming the new symbol of normalcy. Last year, Srinagar also got its first multiplex.
Dole Demb, a land mass inside the Dal Lake, is planned to be developed as an exclusive area for recreational activities, as per a proposal. This island is about 2.5 kilometres long. Dole Demb will be developed to promote ‘high-end tourism’ and will see large-scale development, but all in an environmentally conducive manner.
Safety, Natural Eco-System Protection
The movies or documentaries portraying the culture and heritage of Kashmir to be showcased at the Floating Open Air Theatre in Dal Lake would need to be approved by the administration. Events, cultural functions or entertainment shows on the open air theatre cum recreation stage are planned, as per the proposal seen by News18.
However, it has been specified that the operator shall not engage in any activity that causes noise or water pollution or any other form of pollution, or in any way disturbs the aquatic life or disturbs their natural eco-system of the Dal Lake. It has also been specified that the operator shall not engage in any activity that hampers business of local water dwellers and the residents in and around the water bodies or puts undue strain on their normal business activities. All the ‘shikaras’ would be equipped with safety gadgets like life jackets.
The Dal Lake is the biggest tourist attraction in Kashmir and a sight to behold with the mountain ridges which are reflected in its waters. It is most visited in the spring season and in the month of October. Tourists would be able to get a bird’s eye view of Srinagar city from the Ferris Wheel, including the famous hill of the Takht-i-Sulaiman, the hills of Hari Parbat, and the snow-capped mountains that encircle the Valley.
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