Srinagar, Mar 13: Almond trees are in full blossom due to early summer-like weather conditions in Kashmir valley, where very less snow was experienced this winter as compared to previous years.
However, for the past few years, farmers are cutting almond trees and replacing them with apple and other fruits trees, claiming that they are not getting proper returns.
“Blossoming almond tree is not a new thing as in the past also this has happened when temperature was above normal,” experts said, adding it will not have any impact on the almond crops provided the weather will remain pleasant. However, they said if there is any dip in the temperature or snowfall, the almond crops will be badly affected.
“There was very less snowfall this winter, when the temperature also remained almost above normal during the day though the minimum temperature was sub-zero in Kashmir valley. For the past few weeks, the mercury remained above normal in the valley with the result we could see blossoming on almond trees,” the experts said.
Since the weather is good, they said there could be good almond crops this year provided the weather remains pleasant.
The farmers alleged that they are not getting proper support from the government with the result they are forced to shift to other crops. “We are not getting proper returns against almond crops,” said Abdul Salam Dar, a resident of south Kashmir. He said every year hundreds of almond trees are being axed and replaced by apple and other fruit trees which bring them good returns.
Meanwhile, people, including tourists, are visiting orchards to enjoy almond blossom in different parts of the valley, particularly in south and central Kashmir. Tourists could be seen posing and taking photographs in these orchards and arranging parties. In summer capital, Srinagar, people are visiting famous “Badamwari” in the down town city at Rainawari. However, majority land of the Badamwari has been converted into concert. The government has constructed a number of facilities for tourists and locals visiting there round the year, particularly during blossoming season.
“The white and pink flowers on the almond trees present an enchanting sight to see. This is the first time that I’m experiencing such a thing. The experience is just amazing. Everyone should come at least once in his life to Kashmir in this season to see the almond blossoms,” a tourist Nitish Kumar, a resident Delhi, said at Badamwari.
Another tourist Kanika Mehta, who kept clicking selfies with the almond blossoms, said that she that every season in Kashmir has something extraordinary to offer. “Watching blossoms on the almond trees in the backdrop of Hari Parbat is spectacular. I have been clicking pictures the moment I entered the garden and it seems that I can’t get enough of it,” she said.
The almond in Kashmir is synonymous with romance. Ancient Indian literature depicts heroines as someone having dark almond shaped eyes which symbolize beauty and appeal. The Mughals were great patrons of art and lovers of cuisines. As a matter of fact the almond was introduced into Indian cookery by the Mughals. They also contributed a lot to the increase in the use of the almond motif in textiles, weaving and sculpture.
There’s a history to almond blossoms in the valley which is fondly remembered by locals. The legend goes that Emperor Akbar desired to experience the spectacle of new blossoms though when he was scheduled to arrive in the Valley it was rightly perceived that the trees would not be in bloom. So, the locals came up with an idea to covered almond trees with snow at the roots for a long time, disallowing the trees to blossom. When the Emperor was scheduled to reach Kashmir, the snow was removed and the trees blossomed.