The Karnai Family

our history

A family-run houseboat moored on Nageen Lake

The Lily of Nageen is a family-run houseboat moored on Nageen Lake, in Srinagar Kashmir. The Karnai family live next-door; and we have been hosting tourists for over fifty years. Ghulam Nabi Karnai is a second-generation houseboat owner. But—in a story that epitomizes the romance of the Kashmir Valley—he gave up his inheritance when he eloped with the woman he loved, taking only a roll of bedding with him. Building his own business from scratch taught Ghulam every aspect of the trade – from managing a houseboat, to leading treks, and tailor-making itineraries. Although the four Karnai children have travelled far from Kashmir, we have taken up our father’s tradition. Weathering the political tumult of the 1990s together, we eventually acquired the newest version of the Lily of Nageen in 2006.

Zahoor, the eldest son, splits his time between Japan and Kashmir, where his two adorable daughters are growing up. Daughter Samina is the backbone of the family and a spectacular cook. She manages day-to- day operations and oversees the kitchen, providing the guests with fresh, hot meals. Imtiyaz, the second son, is a gifted storyteller. He works in the Netherlands but spends several months in Kashmir each year. Youngest son Ajaz studied tourism at university and is most involved in bringing the family business into the digital world of web bookings and social media outreach.

But the most important form of outreach has been word-of- mouth recommendations, which have kept us going over the decades. Visitors have become life-long friends, and have in turn sent their friends to visit us.

With our roots firmly planted in the riverine soil of the Kashmir Valley, and our wide experience of living, working, and travelling in Europe and Asia, we are able to anticipate guests’ needs before they arise. We promise personal service, insider information, and a deep knowledge of Kashmir specifically, and India generally.


Beyond staying with us when you come to Srinagar, contact us for the best hotel and flight deals in India; large group stays; customized itineraries and trekking packages; comfortable transport for short or longer trips; recommendations for restaurants, bars and spas; tickets for cultural events and performances; and guidance in shopping for high-quality, fairly-priced crafts. We firmly believe vacations are meant for adventure, learning, comfort and relaxation—leave the planning to us and your worries at home.

We look forward to meeting you!


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