Tourists to Jammu and Kashmir now have another attraction - a floating post office on the Dal Lake in Srinagar, the first in the country. It was inaugurated on August 2011.
India has the largest postal network in the world with over 1, 55,015 post offices. A single post office on an average serves a population of 7,175 people. The floating post office is definitely a new feather on the cap.
Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology(IT), and Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, inaugurated the floating post office on Monday.
"This innovation by India Post will be a boon for the tourists visiting the lake," Pilot said in a statement. Pilot also launched two special postal covers on the Dal Lake.
"It is a befitting tribute to the lake, which is one of the most famous and often quoted symbols of Kashmir, and often referred to as the crown of Kashmir," he said.
Pilot later launched a special mail van service from Srinagar to Shopian district.
Besides offering normal services, the place will also have a philately museum and a shop that will sell postage stamps and other products. A real charmer, the floating post office-cum-philately museum fits itself into a largish boat and is moored right on the Boulevard. You can step into it for free and admire the lovely magnified representations of Indian stamps through the decades. You can even pick up picture postcards. A pack of 8 postcards would cost you something around INR 100.
"This is the first such post office in India. It has been made as a tourist focus post office on a huge house boat and will provide a unique and tourist-friendly service to the people of Kashmir and to tourists from across the world," John Samuel, the state's chief post master, told.
Samuel also said that the special feature of this post office is that letters posted from here will carry a special design which will have the picturesque sceneries of Dal Lake and Srinagar city.
"These pictures will reach wherever these letters will be posted and will promote Kashmir as a tourist destination across the world," he said.
The postal department currently has 1,693 post offices in Jammu and Kashmir.