Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday flagged off a Shikara rally from Srinagar to revive the historic water transport to north Kashmir Ganderbal district.Sinha flagged off the Shikara rally from Zero Bridge in Srinagar city to Ganderbal coinciding with the Urs of Syed Qamar-ud-Din Bukhari being presently observed in Ganderbal town after 33 years.
The Shikara rally has cultural programme contingents, including the famous local singers, Abdul Rashid Hafiz and Gulzar Ahmad Ganai.These singers will celebrate the revival of both the annual Urs of the Sufi saint as well as the historic water transport from Srinagar city to Ganderbal.
In the past, dozens of houseboats would carry well-to-do families of Srinagar to Ganderbal to attend the Sufi saint's Urs.These houseboats would remain stationed for days by the banks of the Sindh Stream that flows through the middle of Ganderbal town.
In addition to the Urs celebrations, visitors and dignitaries from outside J&K would also camp in the houseboats for weeks to enjoy the salubrious climate of the waterfront and the pleasant shade of the Chinar trees that grow on the banks of the Sindh stream in Ganderbal.
Before 1947, one annual visitor, who would arrive with an entourage of houseboats to Ganderbal, was the Maharaja of Patiala, famous for his flock of pet dogs that accompanied him during his Ganderbal houseboat sojourn.
Darakshan Andrabi, chairperson of the Wakf board and Nuzhat Ishfaq, chairperson of district development committee (DDC) Ganderbal and other dignitaries were present during the flag off ceremony.