Montana Group of House Boats & Mantana Tours and Travels has a very long and rich history. As early as in 1890, during the British occupation, Abdul Rahman started his service of renting out Houseboats in Kashmir. With hard work, he managed to gain five houseboats, which were situated at the Dal Lake nearby Srinagar. Kashmir had always been a holiday location for people from India. Kashmir was during a long period a centre of the Sanskrit culture and rich in literature, sculpture, music, dance, painting, Handicraft and architecture. Abdul Rahman hoped his houseboats would provide a good stay for them who wanted to enjoy culture and the beautiful nature of Kashmir.
His son, Ahmadoo (Karnai) Ratta, took over the business 1918. In his days, during the British occupation, Kashmir was a large principality, already famous for his hospitality. Ahmadoo Ratta took the rental business to a higher level. He changed the houseboats into floating palaces and he took care that his guests were treated like kings. From all over the world, the rich and famous visited his houseboats and, after the second worldwar, the High officials of the United Nations were regular guests.
After Ahmadoo passed in 1972, his three sons, Gulam Mohammed, Gulam Nabi and Abdul Rahman, took over the business which was called "Montana Houseboats". They also had their share of famous people, especially since the Bollywood movie industry had discovered Kashmir as a good location for their movies. Actors like Prithvi Rajkapoor, Raj Kapoor, Deelip kumar, Ashabhosle and Mufat Lal stayed at the houseboats.
In 1976, the three brothers started a small travel agency in Kashmir, Mantana Tours and Travels and Travels, to provide the growing quantity of Indian tourist a good summer or winter holiday in the mountains. Beside places to stay (in houseboats or elsewere), they offered trips and tours through the mountains and religious trips to the many temples, shrines, nature in the area of Srinagar.
Sadly, the second brother died in 1987. This was a big loss to the family, since Gulam Nabi was the one who cheered everybody up when needed. His passing was also the beginning of a more difficult period. The struggle for Kashmir between Pakistan, India and China since 1947, finally started to have effect on tourism. Especially on the international tourism, since a negative advice for travelling into Kashmir was given.
The two remaining brothers now had more time to concentrate on Suffism. In the hard days they were a big support, not only to their own family but also to their neighbours, friends and the people who asked them for support. The youngest brother, Abdul Rahman, also known as "Tiger", passed away in 1988, leaving the eldest brother Gulam Mohammed the task to point out the successors of the business.
In 2003, Pakistan and India came to a ceasefire. They agreed to solve their dispute over Kashmir in a peaceful way and Pakistan reopened his airspace for Indian flights. A new period of peace came and with that, new chances for The Family Ratta.
In 2004, Gulam Mohamed Ratta the elder son also passed away and left the task to Manzoor Ahmed Ratta to support the business of their great grandfather.
Manzoor Ahmed Ratta
Manzoor Ahmed Ratta, son of Abdul Rahman Ratta, came to live in Delhi, India, in 1985, to provide support for his family that stayed in Kashmir. For years he had been working in the heat of Delhi. But he couldn't forget the history of his family and in 2000 he decided to Restart a travel agency in Kashmir and Open up Branch office in New Delhi. His first goal was to revive the tourism in Kashmir. But with all his knowledge of India, he understood he could offer a good trip through India, too.
Nowadays Montana and his well trained staff are taking good care of the Guest. The Houseboats Montana has made a best name in Kashmir and around the world. It is Famous for Good Food, Good Facilities and Good Services and Montana tours and travels has made a big name in travel Industry and Manzoor Ahamed is owner of Montana groups of houseboats and Montana tours and travels.
The houseboats have regained the luxurious glory that the (great-) grandfathers originally created. The office in Delhi has grown rapidly. With more then 500 clients in 2009, Manzoor has employed eight enthousiastic collegues and a team of fiftheen private chauffeurs in Delhi, to help him take care of the tourist that trust their journey through India to Mantana Tours and Travels. Mantana Tours and Travels has gained good contracts with the best hotels through India, to be certified of the best rooms against the best prices. By travelling to Belgium, Holland, Dubai and South Africa, Manzoor created good contacts with foreign travel agencies.