It is a dream afloat on water. It is a reality, writ on fringes of a dream.
On a secluded bank of the mesmerizing
Only eight kilometers from the city center, Lal Chowk, Clermont nestles quietly in the Naseem Bagh- the garden of breezes. It has played host to some of the most famous people to have visited
The photos of the guests in the reception room seem to shrink me as I begin to recognize them. My eyes are flickering across the frames searching for that one photo. Instead, I find Joan Fontain, the famous Hollywood actress, smiling seductively. A little away Neil Armstrong stares with his moony eyes. I find American ex-Vice President Nelson Rockefeller standing besides Mr. Butt, the owner of the houseboat. And finally, I see him. George Harrison, the Beatle, hung on the wall.
The guest book reveals even more names imprinted in history- Yehudi Menuhin, Ravi Shankar, Dilip Kumar and P.G Wodehouse, the humorist writer. The recent addition is Peter Jennings and Micheal Palin.
“All these people came to stay in our houseboat because of the service we provide. The way we care for the guests and give them attention is what they like” says Mr. G.N Butt. “We have been working hard to keep our guests comfortable ever since Clermont was established.
The history of houseboats in
Butt Clermont was established in 1940 by a handicrafts businessman, Ghulam Mohammad Bhat. "My father was regularly going to
Bhat returned to
The Butt’s Clermont Group consists of five houseboats. Each houseboat has bedrooms with attached bathrooms, a living room and a dining room. One of them is a special honeymoon houseboat.
The boats are luxurious and aesthetic. Intricately carved cedar woodwork, magnificently stitched crewelwork on the curtains and tinted chandeliers set the rooms completely apart. The Kashmiri silk carpets grace the flooring.
Adding to the beauty of the houseboat is the touch of Kashmiri Cuisine. One can order from the entire range of Kashmiri delicacies. And the aroma of the famous Kashmiri Kehwa at the Clermont’s is something not to be missed. The cooks can even make foreign dishes with an equal skill.
Three shikaras, canopied longboats await the guests to take them into the vast expanses of the