Srinagar, Mar 25: Asia’s largest tulip garden, which has about 12.5 lakh tulips of 50 varieties in its lap on the banks of world famous Dal Lake in the summer capital, Srinagar, was thrown open for gawking visitors from Sunday, marking the beginning of new tourism season in the Valley.
The Tulip garden in the backdrop of mighty Zabarwan range of mountains, was thrown open for public, including tourists and locals, on Sunday by Minister for Floriculture Javid Mustafa Mir.
However, many tulip varieties are yet to bloom in the garden, which was opened about a week early then last year due to pleasant weather. Tourists, both local and foreigners, besides local people in long queues were seen waiting for their turn to enter the Tulip garden and enjoy the beauty of blooming tulips on a sunny Sunday.
“I have come here during this time of the year specially to see the Tulip and almond blooms. In my last visit to the valley during summer last year, I was told by many local people that I should visit when the Tulip garden and almond orchards are in full bloom and I am glad that I came here as the beauty of this place is to die for,” Charu Thakur, a resident of Delhi, said.
“There are 50 varieties of tulips in the garden this year and a total of 12.5 lakh bulbs, adding colour to the landscape at 5,600 feet altitude,” officials said.
Meanwhile, more green space has been created and several new fountains have been installed in the garden, where visitors can enjoy free Wi-Fi access, in addition to many other new facilities. A water channel could also be seen running through the terraces, adding to the beauty of the garden.
The tulip garden has also attracted filmmakers as shooting of various Bollywood films have taken place here in the last 10 years. Earlier known as Siraj Bagh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden was opened in 2008 by the then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The idea of the garden spread over 30 hectares was conceived to advance the tourism season in the Valley by about two months. The average life span of the tulip flower is three to four weeks, but heavy rains or too much of heat can destroy it.
Last year, a mega 15-day Tulip festival, part of ‘Bahaar-e-Kashmir’ (spring in Kashmir) event was organized by tourism department. But, this year, the events in the garden are being managed by the Floriculture department.