I really recommend to any traveler who go to India, be sure to know Kashmir in Srinagar. And the best option there is a house boat with Goosani family. They will help you in everything and can share incredible experiences in the midst of peace in front of the Kashmir Himalayas. I want to come back.
First and foremost...this place is beautiful. The Golden Hind is located on The Best possible location on Dal Lake. It's private, which is a rarity, as most parts of the lake are packed tightly with houseboat after houseboat. This leaves one with a very limited view. The Golden Hind, on the other hand, might as well be on an island. Your view is almost 360 degrees of the lake and its abundant natural beauty.
There are mountains on all sides...Lilies and Lotus flowers in full bloom everywhere you look...Birds of every make...Locals slowly paddling by on their Shikaras...The sounds of prayer from several small mosques filling the air several times a day...
It's a magical place. Sincerely.
Besides being located in one of the most beautiful locations on earth, what truly made my experience on The Golden Hind so special was The Goosani family. The boat is owned and operated by Gulam Goosani, his wife Mogli, and his three sons Mubarik, Mustafa and Manzura. Every day I was there Gulam went out of his way to make sure I was comfortable and had everything I needed. He is a true old-school Kashmiri gentleman and a bit of a bon vivant. He’s been a houseboat owner for over forty years and he knows how to do it right. He is full of Kashmiri history and I spent many nights listening to stories about his life, his travels and the many guests he has developed relationships with over the years. The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi stayed in The Golden Hind every summer for many years in the 1960s. True story.
Gulam is also an experienced Trekker and he and his son Mubarak guided my partner and I on a fantastic week-long hike into The Himalayas. We camped between two high altitude lakes in a place called Ganga Bal. This place...it’s just too amazing to try to describe. If you get a chance to do a trek with him I highly highly recommend doing so. We were completely taken care of from morning to night and were free to play and soak in the wonder of the landscape. And the food….freshwater trout prepared for us whenever we wanted. Oh man. Such a time.
The Golden Hind is the smaller (and more humble) of the two houseboats owned by The Goosani Family. It is an older boat, and compared to its younger sister The Kashmir Treat, it’s a much simpler accommodation. Perfect for Westerners in my opinion. I stayed here for a month and grew to really love the boat. Every morning I would go out front to the covered bow to meditate and do yoga with the water and mountains all around me. When I was ready Gulam would send me breakfast which usually included an omelet, fresh fruit or vegetables, porridge, Kashmiri bread and honey. Breakfast is included in the price of the stay.
The Golden Hind is cheap. My partner and I had the boat to ourselves for around $10 a day.
This is the place to go if you want to feel like you have the beauty of Kashmir all to yourself. It’s quiet, private, and you’re well taken care of.