#KashmirTravelDiaries: A floating postoffice on the Dal lake
January 28, 2017
While roaming on the Dal Boulevard, I espied a gorgeous houseboat with the red and white signage of the Indian postal office. Curious I ventured forth to explore further and to my delight, it turned out to be the first and only Floating Post Office in India, gloriously standing tall in a charming backdrop of the snow-clad mountains.
Moored to one side of the lake bank, the charming wood carved houseboat seems spanking new with huge sign boards on one side declaring its importance.
Interestingly when I researched this a bit on the net, I found out that this PO existed since the British times but was simply known as the Nehru Park PO. Its only in 2011, at the behest of the then chief postal master John Samuels, this heritage PO was re-launched in its current Avatar and was done so by then CM Omar Abdullah and Minister of state for Communications & IT Sachin Pilot.
One of its unique features (as proclaimed on the signage) is to print your photographs onto postage stamps. I quickly flipped through my many clicks of my current trip and zeroed in on a few favourite ones of the snowy scape. ( Do you know of any such PO that would let you convert your travel/personal pics into stamps? )
Second interesting feature of this PO is a unique postal mark of picturesque scenes of Kashmir which is affixed on all letters posted here- this is done to promote the tourism.
So of course now I wanted to send myself and a few friends a letter . ( Did you know that the PO in the Butterfly Park in Bannergatta Zoo in Bangalore, Karnataka, India affixes a butterfly postal mark on letters posted there?)
Alas it was not to be as the working hours of the PO were a big mystery. I visited it twice but returned disappointed and promised myself to do so on my next visit here.
Other features of this PO are a philately museum and unique curios from Kashmir like picture postcards, etc; something I was really looking forward to buying from here to send out to my book loving friends.
It’s also a huge boon to the residents of Dak Lake who deposit their savings/earnings into various postal schemes (can you imagine living in a floating house on water and rowing out in your boat to the floating PO to deposit money?)
Do make it a point to visit this charming tourist attraction on your next visit to this gorgeous heaven on earth. I know I will!!
Have you ever come across any such unique PO in India or abroad?
Any quirks of a PO/Philately that you would like to share with me?