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Asia’s biggest Tulip garden a major tourist draw of Kashmir

April 3, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Beautiful blooms of tulips in the garden situated in Zabarwan valley of Srinagar have advanced the tourist season of Kashmir by more than a month. It sure is a big boost to the valley that has returned to peace after a few low tourist seasons. Fifty varieties of attractive tubular flowers with different colours and hues actually bloomed a week ahead of time this year on 25 March to enthral tourists, including Travel Agents Association of India delegates (TAAI) who had convened in Srinagar from 27 to 30 March for their 64th Annual Convention. The floral attraction had 150,000, visitors in April 2017, ahead of the tourist season that begins in May.

In its tenth year of existence, Tulip Garden has emerged as the key attraction of Kashmir during its springtime bloom. Tulips dominate the 18 hectare land dedicated to floriculture with 1.25 million blooms aesthetically spread on 7 hectares.  These are complemented with other equally fascinating flowers that bloom at the same time. Rows of flower beds are alternated with green patches for visitors to pause, click and be mesmerized with the sights. Green covered Zabarwan Mountains, with further views of snow peaks provide a befitting backdrop to the garden.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, is a beautiful city situated close to Himalayan Mountains. Its lakes, bridges, gardens, mountains, snow capped peaks and friendly hospitable people have given it the sobriquet ‘Heaven on Earth’. Chinar or maple trees, pines, deodar and Kashmiri willows, some of which are hundreds of years old, are the commonly found trees in the garden city Srinagar. Hand woven carpets, handlooms, wood craft and dry fruits offer plenty of shopping options.

Tulip Garden is centrally located in Srinagar amidst popular Royal gardens and overlooks the huge Dal Lake along which the city and tourism revolve. Tulip is originally a wild flower of Central Asia first cultivated by Turks as early as 1000 AD. It was then imported by Holland in 16th century, which accounts for more than 80 percent production of the ornamental perennial crop. Congenial climate of Kashmir in India prompted Jammu and Kashmir Government to open Tulip Garden of Kashmir in 2008.

The gardens maintained by Department of Floriculture are tended by 100 gardeners through the year for that one month of fascinating bloom. It involves hard work and meticulous planning to cultivate tulips, whose blooms last for a month to forty days. Once the blooms whither by end May, the bulbs are carefully dug, packed, marked and stored in green houses at 15 degrees temperature till November. Bulbs are replanted again in winter, aesthetically with rows of contrasting colours, to bloom again by end March or early April. Tulip Garden is opened for visitors when there are at least 25 percent blooms.

Hyacinth theme garden is a new attraction here this year, along with a water channel that adds to beauty and cool. The garden also has Narcissus, Daffodils, Muscara and Iris.  Himalayan cherry, peach and plum trees in the gardens also bloom during the same time to add beauty. Plans are on for adding an ornamental cherry garden in the years to come. Cherry trees bloom alongside tulips during spring.

Tulips have taken over the fancy of Kashmiries and are finding their way in many private gardens of homes and hotels, offering awesome sights to tourists who are travelling to the valley especially to seek these rare beauties.

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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