As Summer Arrives, Asia’s Largest Tulip Garden Is All Set To Bloom

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Asem Mohiuddin

After the cold winter as the spring is approaching fast the J&K government is geared up and preparing the Valley’s famous tulip garden and hopefully this garden that is attracting domestic, foreign and local tourists will be opened either in first or second week of March depending upon the weather. The J-K Floriculture has also decided to introduce other flowers in the garden and efforts will be made to make this garden an ‘all time season garden’.

 “This is the world’s biggest tulip garden which has more than 15 lakh tulips.  Since its emergence, the government has been working very hard to sustain its beauty and to keep it open for the tourists throughout the year,” says a senior officer of the Floriculture department that is maintaining this garden. “We are trying to keep this garden open for the entire year as other gardens in Valley remain open”.

Since its opening the government has been trying to give new shape and order to this garden and over the year’s government has even enhanced the work of plantation of new tulips in the garden.

“To enhance the serenity of garden, the authorities have decided to import several new breeds of tulips which include Zenteteschia, Mascari, Hyacinth and Tasfodill.’’

Another senior officer said that they are importing several new breeds of tulips this year. ‘’We want that the tourist rush should sustain throughout the year,” We have monopoly in country. We have to give an additional care to the garden” he said adding that the popularity of the garden has increased a lot since pat two years. ‘’It receives a huge rush of tourists – foreign as well as domestic. Analyzing the demands we have decided to open garden for the entire year. Even some films were shot in the Tulip garden that has increased its publicity. In spring every tourist who visits Kashmir, he tries to visit this place.’’

During that peak tulip season, the garden appears serene, with 60 varieties of early, mid, late and very late blooming tulips that looks like a rainbow. But these tulips sustain for a very short period of two to three weeks as a result the serenity slowly fades away. To meet this problem, the J&K government has decided to introduce flowers in the garden apart from the tulips.

“We are working very hard to turn it into all weather gardens. We will also introduce some flowers in the garden which will give a boost to its beauty,” the officer said adding that they have already introduced new patterns and designs in the garden.

Since its inauguration in 2008 lakhs of tourists have already visited the garden and every year more than two lakh people visit this place.

Named after former Prime Minister Indra Gandhi and spread over 700 kanals of land this garden was inaugurated by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2008 that time it was considered as Asia’s largest tulip garden. After the addition of lakhs of tulip bulbs in the coming years this garden went to become bigger than the gardens of Holland and other European countries. Now it has a distinction of being among the world’s biggest gardens.

“This is the only place in the world where more than 15 lakh tulips of different varieties blossom at one place,” said an officer. Even to preserve the tulip varieties –two big cold stores with Central assistance were constructed at the tulip garden.

In Kashmir tulips grew wild from past one thousand years, however, tulips were grown here in the pre partition days on the muddy roofs tops of the houses in the city, but with the passage of time tulips got restricted only to the flower beds of few gardens either owned by government or some nature lovers.

But, in 2007 former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad took special interest in the developing a separate tulip garden in Kashmir and turned a big garden Siraj bagh into separate tulip garden. And for this lakhs of tulips bulbs were imported from Holland and other European countries.

To further enhance the serenity of this garden, the government also imported several new breeds of tulips which include Zenteteschia, Mascari, Hyacinth and Tasfodill.  “Initially we imported several new breeds of tulips now we are growing bulbs here and even we have distributed lakhs of tulips among local growers for commercial purposes as Kashmir has a vast scope for commercial flowering.”

Now Kashmiri flower growers can compete with the flower growers of Holland and China now and can easily beat them in domestic and international market. “While a bunch of tulip spikes from Holland and China is being sold for rupees 800–900 in metros. But, the same bunch from Kashmir will cost only rupees 400 and quality wise Kashmiri tulips are better.”  He said last year limited number of tulip spikes and other ornamental flowers were exported from the Valley. “We are now planning to increase the commercial flower business by exporting timely varieties of ornamental flowers.”

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