A book café on the banks of the Dal Lake; a must when in Srinagar

book store, kashmir, Srinagar, Dal Lake, library, Gulshar Book store, India, Traveler, limca book of records
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Gulshan Books, popularly known as the Dal Lake café in Srinagar, has recently been featured in the Limca Book of Records, for its range of 80,000 books!

A fifth generation in this business, Aijaz Ahmed always wanted to open a café cum reading room for the people of Srinagar. Hence, when he got space on the second storey of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Corporation building, it was a dream true.
Set on the banks of the idyllic Dal Lake, with the magnificent Zabarwan hills in the backdrop; this is the perfect haven for book lovers. The library can be reached by a shikhara from the banks of the Dal lake as it is on the Nehru park island. With around 80,000 books, mostly on Kashmir history, English classics and international affairs, this book store is delightful.

Ahmed feels that the reading trends in Kashmir are steadily changing. People are becoming conscious about the positives of books and also in preserving Kashmiri heritage. He hopes that the location would bring people to the bookshop and to the reading room and it would also expose tourists to books on Kashmir and its literature.
“In this Dal Lake area, I don’t think anyone has ever opened a bookshop, though the lake has remained a focal point in almost every book that is written on Kashmir, whether by foreigners or local authors,” Ahmad said.

“I know tourists are not in habit of buying books. Only 10 per cent of them buy books. We are providing easy access to books to the 10 per cent who matter,” he said.
Apart from inculcating reading habits, he also wants to motivate budding authors and writers to come forward and take up writing as a career option.

Ahmad says his great grandfather had opened a bookshop on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road some 100 years ago. “I am the fifth generation in the book business and I believe that the people will again start buying books and in Kashmir, this habit is picking up, though slowly,” he added.

Perfect for a lazy afternoon! Don’t miss it on your next trip.


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