March 16, 2016 11:39 pm

Tulip Garden abuzz with tourist excitement

SRINAGAR: Asia’s largest Tulip Garden located at Siraj Bagh in Srinagar which was thrown open on Tuesday, has become a huge attraction and is visited by hundreds of nature-lovers including local people and domestic as well as foreign tourists every day since its opening. The garden is thronged by people in huge number as it provides a feast of colours with its 1.3 million exotic tulips.

Many of the tourists could be seen trying to capture the magnificent view in their cameras and cell phones.

“I have not seen anything as beautiful as this,” said Naina Magotra, a tourist from Jammu as she captured a picture of the beautiful garden with her husband. “I will come here with my daughters next week when the garden will be in full bloom.”

 The mesmerizing garden was thrown open to visitors and tourists about two weeks ahead of schedule as the Valley experienced relatively warm weather resulting in early bloom of tulips.

The garden with its colourful tulips makes one’s heart dance with joy. Looking at rows and rows of blooming tulips, one feels as if nature has scattered all its colours here”, said Zuhra Mudasir, a visitor.

Spread over an area of about 15 hectares, the garden is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan range overlooking the picturesque Dal Lake. More than 70 varieties of tulips adorn and add colour to the landscape situated at an altitude of 5,600 feet.

“The garden has become a favourite of mine. I make it a point to visit here as soon as it is thrown open”, says Najla Andrabi, a local resident.

In 2014, the garden was declared as the second best tulip garden in the world by the World Tulip Summit Society. It has been described as a floral heaven by cultivators as the tulips spread a rainbow of red, orange, purple, white, pink, parrot and yellow colours on the precincts when in full bloom. About 500 gardeners and labourers have worked hard over the past few weeks to give finishing touches to what has become a major tourist attraction in Kashmir’s main city.

Local residents are equally enthused by the beauty of the garden next door. "The garden has started coming to life with white, red, orange and purple varieties of tulips already in bloom. The full bloom is only about a week away," an official of Kashmir’s Department of Parks, Gardens and Floriculture (PG&F Kashmir) said.

He also said that the department has imported around 420,000 tulip bulbs this season, mainly from Holland.

With the arrival of spring, the gardens and fruit orchards in the Valley are in full bloom. Director tourism (Kashmir) Mahmood A. Shah said, “The Tulip Garden with its alluring colours will be a major attraction for the tourists.”

Meanwhile, many nature lovers and stakeholders in Kashmir’s tourism industry have expressed dismay over reports that the PG&F Kashmir is planning to convert the exclusive Tulip Garden into an all-season garden by planting other flower varieties like Lilium, Dahlia, Peony, Hydrangea, and Ranunculus besides fruit trees like Pome, berry and nuts along with tulips. 

“The garden should be kept exclusively for tulips. Planting other flowers will only rob it of its beauty. There is something very pleasing about seeing rows and rows of tulips. Other gardens, no matter how many flower varieties they may have can’t compete with its beauty”, says Syed Uzair Shabir, a nature enthusiast.


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