SRINAGAR Asia’s largest tulip garden overlooking the famous Dal Lake here in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir was Sunday thrown open to public, marking the beginning of new tourism season in the valley.
The garden witnessed an impressive footfall of locals and tourists on the first day of its opening this year.
“The tulip garden was thrown open for public today and we expect a very good number of visitors this year,” Director Floriculture Abdul Hafiz Shah told PTI.
Formerly known as Siraj Bagh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden was opened in 2008 by then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The idea of the garden, spread over 30 hectares in the foothills of snow-clad Zabarwan range, was conceived to advance the tourism season in the valley by two months.
The average life span of tulip flower is three to four weeks, but heavy rains or too much of heat can destroy them.
The Floriculture Department plants tulip bulbs in a phased manner so that the flowers remain in the garden for a month or more.
This year the department has planted nearly 12 lakh bulbs of different varieties.
“We have around 12 lakh tulip bulbs this year, out of which four lakh fresh bulbs have been imported,” the Director said.
Shah said the garden houses 51 varieties of tulips this year.
“Then there are 12 varieties of hyacinths and some more varieties of other flowers,” he said.
He said the garden achieved a bloom of about 20-25 per cent on the day of its opening.
The official said the opening day was a “good beginning” as footfall of visitors — both locals as well as tourists — was impressive. (PTI)