Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar anticipates a significant increase in the number of visitors this season
By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Asia’s largest tulip garden, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, situated in Kashmir between Dal Lake and the Zabarwan hills, is fully bloomed and set to open for tourists from Sunday (19).
The garden will showcase 1.5 million tulips in different colours along with other spring flowers such as hyacinths, daffodils, muscari, and cyclamens. The gardeners have worked year-round to maintain the quality of bulbs and expand the garden.
“Preparations like gardening, engineering, fungicide treatment, nutrient spraying, and minor repair which we do before the tulip show are going on,” Inam-ul-Rehman, in charge of the tulip garden, told PTI.
He added, “Every year we expand this garden and new varieties are here. This year we have extended the fountain channel…. It should set an example of gardening professionalism across the globe”.
According to Rehman, there will be a colourful display of tulips this year, including yellow, red, crimson, purple, and white. The garden’s ambiance, complemented by the shadow of Zabarwan mountains, is a significant factor in attracting visitors, he said.
While Mushtaq Ahmad Mir, the garden’s supervisor, mentioned that the preparations for the upcoming Sunday (19) opening are in full swing.
Mir anticipates a significant increase in the number of visitors this season, and as a result, the work is being carried out day and night. There has been a substantial number of inquiries from outside Kashmir regarding the garden’s opening, according to him.
He further added that last year was a success with two lakh visitors, and he hopes for an even better turnout this time.
The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, previously called Siraj Bagh, was inaugurated in 2008 by the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad to boost tourism during the valley’s off-season.
Despite the tulip bloom lasting for only three to five weeks, the ground staff works diligently throughout the year to maintain the quality of the bulbs.
Mir said the garden is prepared year-round, including disease checks and harvesting from May to June. Soil is dug up and fertilizers added in October, with tulip bulbs sown in November. Gardeners stay busy with these tasks throughout the year.
Mohammad Maqbool one of the gardeners added that tulips bloom only at low temperatures.
“Tulips are very delicate flowers. They cannot survive in hot temperatures and bloom only in low temperatures,” he said.
According to Ghulam Hassan, the head gardener, the garden spans over 1,050 kanals (52.5 hectares) and started with 50,000 tulips, which has now increased to 15 lakh flowers.
Hassan wants more and more people to visit the garden. “We request the people here and outsiders to visit this garden. On March 19, it will be thrown open to the public,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)