Spring – The season of new beginnings

Spring is the season during which the natural world revives and reinvigorates after the colder winter months and during it dormant plants begin to grow again, new seedlings sprout out of the ground and hibernating animals awake.

What most people call spring relies on the astronomical definition of the word. Defined by the angle of Earth’s tilt toward the sun, astronomical spring relies on equinoxes and solstices to define it. Spring is generally considered the period between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

Equinoxes are days during the year when day and night are almost equal. There are two equinoxes each calendar year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring, or vernal, equinox occurs around March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere and around Sept. 22 in the Southern Hemisphere.

Spring is one of two times when the Earth’s axis is not pointed toward or away from the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, the North Pole is tipped at its greatest angle toward the sun during the summer solstice, which occurs around June 21. In the Southern Hemisphere, around December 21, it is the South Pole’s turn to be nearer.

As such, in the Northern Hemisphere, astronomical spring runs from March 21 to June 21, while in the Southern Hemisphere it encompasses September 21 to Dec. 21, though the dates may shift slightly from year to year.

The air may lose its winter chill before the middle of March or September, though. Weather forecasters define meteorological spring as a three-month period based on rising temperatures. North of the equator, meteorological spring takes place in March, April and May, while in the south it is characterized by the months of September, October and November.

In the hemisphere that is tilted closer to the sun, temperatures become warmer. Warmer temperatures means the ground, which may have frozen over the winter months, grows softer and more yielding to plants. Spring is often marked by increased rainfall, which helps to water the infant seeds taking root in the ground.

Animals that spent the winter in hibernation come out of their dens, while those that traveled to warmer regions return. Many animals give birth in the spring. Winter coats are shed by those that sported them, and some animals may change coloration to blend in with their new surroundings.

The rising rainfall of spring may bring with it an increase in flooding as melting snow overwhelms rivers. Spring may also boast storms, as warm air from the equator combines with still-cool air farther north or south.

One of the first signs that spring has sprung are the presence of tree buds. A plant’s buds act as a shield for the delicate flowers inside. Flowers of different shapes, sizes and forms come with individual and distinct protection. Throughout winter these buds remain closed and dormant, surviving the cold until their time comes to thrive in the spring, making a vibrant emergence from their compact casing. While it’s usually easy to distinguish a species from its distinct flowers, buds can have more subtle differences. This visual guide to the more common tree buds should help you identify them.

Spring in Kashmir is beautiful beyond words. It enthralls the visitors and locals alike and heralds the end of the harsh bitter winter. For many decades, the appearance of the almond blossoms in Badamwari meant that the spring was finally there in Kashmir and the sighting was celebrated with much joy. Delicately beautiful, an almond flower with its pale pink petals, resembles a painted umbrella when fully bloomed and it is symbolically connected with Kashmir’s social celebrations.

Every year on the onset of the spring season in Kashmir valley, the tourist season starts with the opening of Badamwari and Tulip Gardens in Srinagar city giving an open invitation to all kinds of tourists and visitors of India and abroad to come to Kashmir to spend vacations with your family and friends to enjoy the real scenic beauty, culture, heritage and enriched known Kashmiri hospitality are the famous elites of Kashmir Valley.

Srinagar is clearly the heart of Kashmir Valley. With the Himalayan Mountain Range forming a picturesque backdrop, the sparkling Dal Lake and the rows of colourful houseboats and shikaras on it, Srinagar offers its visitors a visual treat. Some of the top popular tourist attractions & things to do in Srinagar are Mughal Gardens, Hari Parbat, Chashme Shahi Garden and Pari Mahal.

The early bloom of flowers on Almond trees in the sprawling historic Badamwari garden in Srinagar has become a source of attraction for nature lovers and tourists. Situated on foothills of Koh-e-Maran, the 300 Kanals garden was dotted with trees, flowers, and cascades providing a soothing experience to the visitors in Kashmir valley.

Believed to be existing before the 14th century ruler, Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, this comparatively lesser-known garden in Srinagar boasts streams and fountains that enhance the beauty of this 300 kanals park that is ideal for family picnics or enjoying the beauty of nature. There is also a dome-shaped structure that is named after Warris Shah, an Afghan Ruler.

In the ancient days, the people of Kashmir celebrated the harvest festival in the spring months. The Badamwari Garden is in full bloom during the spring season. The aura of the garden has fragrant airs and beautiful white flowers.

One can spend a wonderful time at the Badamwari garden and can stroll along the walkways and watch the beautiful flowers. An evening at the garden is really refreshing and one can feel awesome enjoying the scenic beauty of the garden. Flocks of tourists can be seen at the garden that comes to watch the splendid garden.

A fully flowering almond tree is a sight to behold too and the old residents of the Kashmir Valley recollect their prettiness with misty eyes. It is because a blooming almond tree meant the beginning of Navreh in Kashmir and in olden times, the Kashmiri Pandits celebrated it as their New Year festival. Those used to be the days when peace, prosperity, and communal harmony existed in the valley and people irrespective of their religion, visited the garden to enjoy the blooming almond trees on Navreh.

According to historians, families of Kashmiri Pandits celebrating Navreh used to gather at Badamwari after visiting the Hari Parbhat shrine to seek goddess Sharika’s blessings and people carried delicious wazwan items (traditional Kashmiri food) in their picnic hampers. Folk singers wandered about singing songs of spring to people who gathered under the blooming almond trees to enjoy the end of winter. Hot kahwa (Kashmiri tea) gurgled from traditional samovars and opened willow baskets emanated the aroma of nader-monja (lotus stem fritters) and Parathas  (deep-fried flatbread).

Though its history remains obscure, the older generation of Kashmiris finds it impossible to forget the Badamwari festival in spring. A beautiful forgotten event of the ‘good old days’, the appearance of almond blossoms at Badamwari was inextricably linked with the happiness of the people of Srinagar, especially those living in the Shehr-e-Khas area. Since Srinagar during those days had only one picnic spot, every year the spring festival used to be held at Badamwari. The festival used to be a mega cultural event in which many renowned singers performed for the public and Badamwari’s gorgeous venue added to the charm of the celebrations.

For centuries the Badam Wari was the first to reverberate with life with the onset of the spring season in Jammu and Kashmir. Till 1980, the people of Srinagar would assemble there to announce the arrival of the spring season – after braving the vagaries of a harsh winter – with music and mirth.

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