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In PHOTOS: Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

Last updated on: April 6, 2011 09:26 IST

Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

Kashmir's famous tulip garden on the shores of the world famous Dal Lake is yet again in bloom with the advent of spring.

The sprawling eight hectare dazzling spectacle of multi-hued tulips was thrown open to general public by the state Floriculture Minister Javed Dar.

The garden is in full blossom right now with tulips of various colours, making it quite a feast for the eyes.

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS of the beautiful garden...

Additional Inputs: Agencies


Photographs: Umar Ganie
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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Interacting with the media, the minister said that this year two more terraces have been added to the garden, which has more than 15 lakh tulip bulbs and 70 flower varieties spread over eight hectares.

"As of now it is the biggest garden among all the gardens developed and maintained by the floriculture department," he said.

Christened 'Indira Gandhi tulip garden' the idea of creating yet another tourist pleasure garden was conceived and executed by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad during his tenure as the state chief minister.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Modelled on the lines of the famed tulip garden of Netherlands, Kashmir's tulip garden -- located at the foothills of the picturesque Zabarwan mountain range and sandwiched between the Moghul gardens of Cheshmashahi and Nishat -- has lived up to the expectations by advancing the tourist season in Kashmir Valley by about two months.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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The garden has over the period of four year become a major spring attraction for tourists as well as the locals.

Early tourist season has shown its positive spiral effect on other allied sectors like handicrafts, hotel industry, transport, photography and houseboat industry.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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"I have really been waiting for a very long time to come to Kashmir. It has been very difficult in the past, as you know. So, finally getting a chance to be in India and also to have an opportunity to come to Kashmir, everything had to fit very well and it did," said Ben Wilkensen, an American tourist.

Tipped as Asia's biggest tulip garden, it prides itself not only with the variety of tulips and their hues, but on the numbers as well.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Javed Ahmad, the garden incharge, says that as many as 10-15 lakh tulip bulbs imported from Netherlands have been planted and about 30 to 40 per cent are presently in bloom in the garden.

He said that the garden has also expanded in size covering an area of eight hectares now.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Various other attractions, including rose plants and other flower varieties, have also been added to the garden to make a round-the-year attraction.

Besides serving the tourism purpose, the garden is also aimed at creating employment opportunities and promote commercial floriculture in the Valley which has a huge and ever expanding potential.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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A commercial floriculture division (Model Floriculture Centre) has also been established in the garden.

Minister Javed Dar said that towards creation of employment opportunities, the entry ticketing system, food point, photography in this garden have been outsourced and presently about 150 labourers are earning their livelihood from this garden.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Floriculture Director Sarwar Naqash said his department earned a revenue of Rs 29.86 lakh till 2010.

"The garden will remain open on all the days of the week between 9 am to 7 pm for the visitors," he said, cautioning the visitors against bringing any non-biodegradable items inside.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Tulip, which has its origin in Persia (Iran), was introduced in Europe in 17th century, where it had been developed in different varieties.

Siraj Bagh, which has become home to tulips in Kashmir, has a unique and feasible topography with a plane area in the centre that suits different varieties of flowers.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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Siraj Bagh has slopes suited for different varieties of fruit plants and hilly slopes with wilderness suitable for wild flora and bushes

Belonging to the Liliaceae family, Tulips are best suited for dry soil of mountain areas and require small amount of water but on regular basis.



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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The plantation of tulips begins from September, before the start of winter season, which inhibits its growth.

Tulips are bulbous underground monocotyledon plant. The bulb is remade each year and reproduces either sexually (from seed after pollination) or vegetatively (bulbils).



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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The mesmerising effect of the garden's splendour was visible at the faces of the tourists as they entered the garden where rows of tulips were in full bloom and wove a tapestry of colours while the hills provided an ideal background.

"You cannot find any of these products in other parts of India. I have not seen something like this," said Peter Mathew, a tourist from Chile. 



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Kashmir's scintillating tulip garden

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"The variety and the colour are very good. The art collection, the shawls and also the climate is very good," said Minakshi, an Indian tourist. 

"I delayed my departure to Mumbai by a day to have a glimpse of the garden. I am thrilled to see it," said Ravinder Shah a tourist from Mumbai. 

So when are you packing your bags for Kashmir?



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