Almond Blooms- The Crowning Glory Of Spring in Kashmir

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Srinagar:Ever wondered why spring is known as the ‘season of rejuvenation’? In spring especially in the month of March, the moist earth gives birth to new life. Flowers, grassand trees, everything is in full bloom. Everywhere one looks, signs of new life are clearly visible.

The most pleasing of all are probably the pink and white almond blooms.

During spring the whole valley of Kashmir gets decorated by the little pink and white flowers of the almond trees.

After months of bone-chilling cold, when locals are hurdled under blankets inside their houses, the arrival of spring  gives them a reason to celebrate life. Outings are planned, songs are sung, sweets are distributed to welcome this season. The whole valley makes merry.

“In my childhood, we used to visit the famous spring festival held in the old Badamwari Park. There was singing and dancing. People would compete with each other as to who could eat more ‘singhade’ (water caltrop),” says Noor ul Islam, a local resident from Kashmir.

The old Badamwari he refers to is the one which lost its sheen like many other culturally important places of the valley, due to the government’s negligence. However thanks to the efforts of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, who restored it, people of Kashmir especially our younger generation still get to visit the Park and enjoy the almond blooms.

Locals as well as tourists throng this place in spring to see these blooms, which are a sight to behold. “Spring attracts a lot of tourists and most of them are very excited to see the almond trees full of flowers”, says Imtiyaz Ahmad, a tour operator.  A tourist from Mumbai, Sharmista Patil says, “We are taking back beautiful memories of the white and pink almond flowers with us. This place deserves to be called Paradise on Earth.”

“I want to keep coming back here again and again,” she said.

Kashmir is known as the fruit Bowl of India. Around 60% of its total area is under fruit cultivation. Kashmiri almond is known for its taste and sweetness all over the world.

The estimated area under Almond production is 17247 (ha) and produces about 10,000 (MTS) of almonds per year. However these trees which in spring bring glory to Kashmir and after ripening provide sweet delicious dryfruit are under serious threat. With the prize fluctuations and reduced produce, more and more people are converting their almond orchids into apple orchids.

“Earlier in spring we just had to climb our little hill and we would be surrounded by almond trees. Our kids would plan outings there and click photographs. But today we have to visit Badamwari in Srinagar to see any almond blooms. All the almond orchids have been replaced by apple orchids,” says Tasleem Andrabi, a villager from Pulwama.

It is imperative to take steps to save the almond trees because spring without almond blooms is simply unimaginable. Spring is spring, the season of joy, only because of these mesmerising blooms.

 

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