What people say

 

Dr. & Mrs. Robert N. Davie, Jr. 2611 West Bay Isle Drive, SE St.
Petersburg, FL 33705-3358 4 August 2007

Gulam Rasool
California Houseboats
Srinagar - 190001, Kashmir (India)

Dear Gulam,

Sharon and I want to thank you for the wonderful experience we had in Kashmir this summer. We do not see how it could have been any better, and we must attribute this directly to you. You treated us just like family. Everyone made us feel so welcome and did all they could to make our stay perfect.
As you know, I came to Srinagar back in 1980 when stationed at the American Embassy in New Delhi and stayed on one of your houseboats. That 1980 experience is what brought me back, and this summer exceeded all our expectations. Sometimes when you have great memories of a place, you are disappointed when you visit a second time. Well, that was not the case this time; it was even better than my memories. We are ready to come again and are encouraging others to come as well.

I also want to thank you for our experiences at Paradise Crafts. The five silk carpets arrived the day after we returned and they are absolutely beautiful. The custom-made tables arrived yesterday. They are absolutely beautiful as well. You are incredibly efficient and more than fair in your prices. We must give you our highest recommendation. Having actually lived in India and visited many times, I do not know anyone I would rather give my business to than you. Honesty and integrity can be hard to fine.
Your suggestion to drive the Srinagar-Leh highway, spending the night at Kargil, was great advice. It is a trip that we will always remember; it may well be the most beautiful drive on earth. Abdul and Javid were instrumental in making this such a memorable and enjoyable experience. Please pass on our thanks to them.

It was a special pleasure to come to your home and meet your family. They are wonderful people, and we wish them the best. We have not forgotten our promise to send you the pictures when I get them organized. As I am going through them, I am again amazed at how beautiful Kashmir is, clearly the most beautiful part of India we have visited.

Sharon and I consider you a very special friend and part of our extended family. We hope you will visit us here in the United States soon. You can certainly count on us returning to see you in Kashmir.

Joanna Castle: Tour organizer and leader.

After an absence of 17 years I returned to India and my beloved Kashmir.  Traveling in India is much easier than ever before.
I had been told traveling in Kashmir was dangerous, unsettled and as many negatives imaginable from a multitude of people.  I was still determined to see for myself. What a wonderful surprise it was to see that it was ALL untrue. I brought 14 people in 2006 and another 12 in 2007 and not at anytime did my group or myself feel unsafe or experience any unpleasantness.
The area is even more beautiful than I remembered. My old friend Gulam Rasool remembered me and was as hospitable as ever. 
The California houseboats on Dal lake still enchanting, and the carpets at Paradise Crafts at Nishat are still the best in the world.
I am planning to come every year to this beautiful place and Highly recommend it.
Please contact me if you have any questions about your visit to Kashmir.
joanna@jaywalk.com   http://www.joannacastle.com/
Joanna Castle
304 Main Road
Kalk Bay
CapeTown, South Africa

Mike & Denise Ferris, Australian tour operators ( http://www.ferriswheels.com.au/ )

Don't believe everything you read on Government Travel Advisory webpages!!

The Australian government, along with many others of the developed world, advises strongly against venturing anywhere near Kashmir. Despite the violent terrorist activities in New York, London, Madrid, Bali etc. these places are all still considered "safe" destinations, yet poor old Kashmir is still out in the cold because of ill-informed public servant mentality, misconceptions, and paranoia. Governments are obliged of course, to steer the safest perceived course for their citizens and the easiest option is simply to say, "No, don't go there."

We have been taking tours through Kashmir for over 10 years now, sometimes three groups per year and typically of 15 - 20 participants. Furthermore, we have done this on motorcycles, which might be considered more "dangerous" than more conventional modes of transport. We have met with no troubles whatsoever and all our clients have voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the Kashmir inclusion as part of our Himalayan Heights Motorcycle Safari.

We are writing this in support of our colleague Gulam Rasool in Srinagar, who as well as holding the Asian record for trout fly-fishing (17 ½ pounds, I think??) and a single-digit golf handicap, also happens to know his business extremely well. His business is carpets, and his Kashmiri carpets are splendid pieces of living art. A visit to his Paradise Crafts factory and showroom on the shores of beautiful Dal Lake is itself a highlight, with his informative presentation of the techniques of carpet weaving. And yes, we do have several of his carpets now in our own home! Gulam Rasool also runs the California Houseboats and The Kashmir Paradise Tours, and of course no trip to Kashmir would be complete without a stay on California Houseboats on the serene waters of the lake.
We highly recommend a trip to Kashmir, and a visit to Paradise Crafts. Please feel free to contact us personally for any further clarification.

Mike & Denise Ferris, owner/operators of
Ferris Wheels Motorcycle Safaris, Sydney.
http://www.ferriswheels.com.au/
safari@ferriswheels.com.au

Sandeep & Sanyogita Dhore,  Thane (W) Mumbai (India)

It's my pleasure that you are giving me chance to share my feeling about you and your services in Kashmir.

It was amazing experience in Kashmir with California Houseboats & The Kashmir Paradise Tours.

At the morning time the sun rising experience is so good that I can not forget it in my life. Also the location of houseboats are perfect. You can not find any wastage near the houseboat. The inner side of houseboat i.e. living room, dinning room and our bedroom is fantastic. The carving is fantastic. The service in the houseboat is up to date and on time. Whatever you asked it will in front of you within a seconds.

People from Kashmir are very nice and cooperative. The Shikara guys, houseboat service men, our driver all were very co-operative. Service boys from houseboat will call for a Shikara on time, Shikara guys make a fantastic tour in Dal lake and I got a experience of driving Shikara twice.

While traveling for Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Gulmarg, and Srinagar city we have individual Sumo. I specially mention an individual sumo because I do not want so many people while traveling. Californian Houseboats people make this possible for me. The driver was very good and he tried his best to show us all good places. Driving is also cool.

Accommodation in the Houseboat... wow....I can not express this in the words. It's simply amazing.
Really Gulam Rasool sir, I can not express my feeling in the word.

Thanks & regards,
Sandeep & Sanyogita Dhore
E Mail: sandeepdh@hexaware.com

Srimanth Reddy Muddasani, Andhra Pradesh (India)

Dear Brother Gulam Rasool,

It is immense pleasure to me and my family that I have found a good brother in Srinagar, who is so co-operative, more flexible in all aspects. We never feel that Mr. Rasool is known to me in person only few days ago.

Now, we would like to share our Kashmir experience with other tourists.

I would like to tell one important thing to the entire tourists who ever visiting to Kashmir that, there is no need to worry or feel tension to visit Kashmir. There are many number of Army personnel are there who are sacrificing their personal life to safe guard beautiful Kashmir as well as the tourists like us. I personally met and asked many of the Army soldiers/ Officers and Commanders. They are informed me that there will not be any worry wherever we go in the entire valley. They are very co-operative.
Mainly, we should choose a good person/ tour operator to visit Kashmir.

In my personal experience, I confidently inform all the co-tourist that Mr. Rasool of California Houseboats is the best person and he will give the good deals in reasonable prices. More over he is a good human being too.

We have enjoyed a lot in Kashmir that I couldn't express with one word/ words. Kashmir is a really paradise on the earth. I appeal all the co-tourists that, they will enjoy more than any other tourist spot in India as well as in other Asian countries too.

Services provided by Mr. Rasool of California Houseboats are excellent. They have provided well maintained, neatly cleaned and decorated rooms in House boat along with one attendant in the House Boat. He will be at our disposal.

Food habits of Kashmirees are not different with South India. They will have Rice and other Curries. They will eat with little spicy and oil food. More particularly, Non-vegetarian dishes are good.
Transport provided by The Kashmir Paradise Tours (a division of California Houseboats) is excellent. They have provided new vehicles with good experienced and good manners drivers. They are very co-operative and they know where to halt and all other details. We have simply followed what ever they have informed.

Finally, I should say only one thing that, every tourist should visit Kashmir valley once in there life time. I am fully satisfied with the services rendered by Mr. Gulam Rasool and his team. I have a strong desire that I should visit once again to Kashmir through California Houseboats & The Kashmir Paradise Tours.

Thanking you,
Srimanth Reddy Muddasani
E Mail:  srimanth_7@rediffmail.com

Anubhav Dubey 
Branch in Charge- Commercial Vehicles

Dear Big Brother,

I hope this communication of mine finds you in the best of your health and mood.
While we were not able to meet you in person and convey our sincere thanks and regards for the excellent treatment you had given to us during our 4 day stay at Kashmir (as you were away somewhere), but we have kept those impressions in our heart which we keep on sharing with every near and dear one. The memories of those 04 days are the most cherished memories of our lives so far and myself and my wife both are thankful to you for the courtesy extended from your side during our trip to Paradise ! I cannot make you understand how special I had felt when your employee receiving us at Airport exclaimed 'My Boss has told me that his younger brother is coming with his wife from Kolkata'. My heartiest thanks for all and for the kind of person you are...

May God Bless you with the best of everything in all your future endeavours !!

Sir, One of my friends, who is getting married on 6th of Dec'08, will be visiting Kashmir for his Honemoon Trip. I request you to plan an itinerary from 12th to 16th with 04 nights and 05 days covering Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Gulmarg and send us the package details for taking it up further (they will be reaching on 12th Morning and will be leaving say on 16th at 1.00 PM). Any change in the schedule will be informed to you well in advance.

Warm Regards,
Anubhav Dubey