Type of Accommodation
Sukoon is a newly renovated luxury houseboat.
Sukoon is located in Srinagar on Dal Lake and is reached by a 10 minute Shikara ride across the lake, it offers a wonderful alternative to hotel accommodation whilst on a holiday to Kashmir.
Sukoon (meaning ‘tranquillity’ or ‘relaxation’) is also a Sufi term referring to an elevated state of mind that combines peace, wisdom and contentment. It is this that the owners of Sukoon aim to achieve for their guests by bringing the traditional concept of a residential houseboat into the modern era, whilst losing none of the charm of these boats’ historical past.
Now owned by 2 brothers Sukoon was originally built in 1979 by their father, the well-known environmentalist, M. Yusuf Chapri. He named it Neil Armstrong as he was a great fan of the astronaut, and exchanged letters with him over the years (these will be on show on the houseboat). The boat was inaugurated by Heinrich Harrer (author of Seven years in Tibet) and welcomed various prominent ‘mountain men’ during its former heyday including Robert Filming and Sherpa Tenzin.
Traditionally guests spend time on a houseboat relaxing or gently cruising the waterways on Shikaras (Kashmir’s alternative to a gondola, a low, canopied boat) – which is a very peaceful and relaxing pastime, known as water trekking. It was the Maharaja of Kashmir who first allowed nineteenth century British visitors to build and live in houseboats on the lake, having not allowed them to purchase land to build on.
Each of the 5 spacious rooms has a large window with lake views and a spacious ensuite with both a separate shower and bath tub. Where possible, original furnishings have been kept and restored including the glass chandeliers and the cedar wood panelling with its intricate carving. Furnishings throughout are in keeping with the traditional style but combined with a few more contemporary additions for a modern and comfortable feel.
The bedrooms take up the rear of the boat with the front reserved for a bright and airy sitting room and a cosy dining area. The front veranda or the stunning roof terrace are perfect spots to relax and take in the beautiful scenery surrounding you.
All meals can be taken on board - in the dining room or roof terrace (weather permitting) and are served by a team of friendly staff from both Kashmir and Kerala.
Sukoon has its own Shikhara and motorboat which is at guest's disposal for lake crossings. Shikhara rides and longer water treks can be arranged at extra cost.
Why we like it
The Sukoon houseboat offers a level of luxury as yet unseen on Dal Lake. With far reaching views to the imposing Himalaya from the stunning roof terrace it is a wonderful option for those looking for a relaxing three or four days downtime during their holiday in India. The sundeck really does offer the most magnificent vantage point and we would argue that there is no better setting from which to start your day as breakfast is served here. In fact all meals on board are memorable, proudly served by the head chef, Deepak, originally from the award winning Neeleshwar Hermitage in Kerala, you are in safe hands.
Making a difference
In keeping with the owners strong focus on environmental issues, Sukoon is fitted with a Bio tank, so no waste is discharged in the lake. They have a no plastic policy, so do not serve water from plastic bottles. The boat has a highly efficient reverse osmosis system for water purification. Only re-cycled wood has been used in the renovation of the boat. Their motorboat is solar powered and in the near future the houseboat will also run on solar power.
A stay on the Sukoon can be booked as a standalone holiday to Kashmir or as a few days apart of a longer trip to India. A really lovely idea is to combine Srinagar with Ladakh. Please talk to Joe, our Indian specialists for further information and ideas on any part of your holiday to India, on 01285 880 980.