Asia's largest tulip garden is in full bloom with rows of tulips of all hues adding fairy tale-like splendour to the cascading slopes of the Zabarwan foothills. Mukhtar Ahmad reports
Kashmir at long last is enjoying the warmth and glow of the spring sunshine as the dark grey clouds have yielded to azure blue skies since Sunday morning.
The extended rainy period that brought with it the second heaviest precipitation in 32-years, and threatened the valley with floods is over for now. The floods took a toll of around 30 lives across the state and caused panic with massive land erosions hitting many highland areas.
The cheer that two days of sunshine brought with it, received a resplendent impetus on Monday as Kashmir valley’s famous tulip garden in the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain range opened for public.
The opening of the garden, billed as Asia's largest tulip garden, is in full bloom with rows of tulips of all hues adding fairy tale splendour to the cascading slopes of the Zabarwan foothills.
The inauguration was full of fanfare with the state Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed throwing open the garden on Monday morning.
The garden, located on the banks of the world famous Dal Lake, the brainchild of former chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad has been a hit with tourists and locals alike.
The garden, according to a senior floriculture officer boasts of over a million tulips this year imported from Netherlands. “This year we have three varieties of tulips in the garden. We now have the early variety in full bloom to be followed by the mid variety and the late variety. Weather permitting, the bloom can last a month and will be a major tourist attraction like previous years,” the official said.
He said, “We hope the opening of the garden will attract tourists both domestic as well as foreign after the recent rains and floods. Many people are thronging the garden to have a look at the tulips in bloom,” said the officer.
In addition to the tulips, the other flowers grown in the garden include Hyacinths, Narcissus, Daffodils, Muscuria and Iris.
While throwing open the garden Mufti said, “Kashmir is crime-free and as peaceful as any other state in the country.”
This year around ten lakh tulips have been planted in the garden comprising of 53 varieties in total, spread over an area of 15 hectares.
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com