Monday, June 24, 2024

One million tulips are on display at the tulip festival in Srinagar

The blooming tulips at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar

The blooming tulips at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar
| Photo Credit: ANI

The Rembrandt tulip is believed to have got its name from the striking flame-like flashes of colour over a base shade. One of the prettiest and most painterly among tulips, they are a tribute to legendary Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn and his birthplace, the city of Leiden, which has a tulip growing history that dates back to the early 16th century. This tulip variety, imported from The Netherlands, is one of the biggest draws at the ongoing tulip festival at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

The festival, which announces the arrival of spring, has been a major tourist attraction, since its launch in 2008. One of the largest in Asia, this garden — situated at the base of the Zabarwan range with a stunning view of the Dal lake — spread over an expanse of 30 hectares, has an iridescent display of tulips colour-coded and neatly divided into rows. This year, it opened to the public on March 19, and has already clocked a footfall of over a lakh, says Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad, Commissioner/ Secretary to the Government, Department of Floriculture, Parks and Gardens, Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, it received over 3,50,000 visitors. 

Peach-coloured tulips at the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden

Peach-coloured tulips at the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden
| Photo Credit:
Zairoon Abbas

Hosted by the Department of Floriculture, the festival is in its 15th year, growing in scale each year. This time, it has about a million flowers in 68 varieties. Over 30% of the tulip varieties are imported from the world’s tulip capital, the Netherlands, says Inam-ul-Rehman, in-charge of the tulip garden. Though the flowers have a relatively short life, say three-to-five weeks, they are planted in a staggered display with early and late blooming varieties. Though not all are fragrant, some tulips are mildly scented. This year, a central fountain in the garden is an added attraction, says Inam.

Colour-coded rows of tulips at the Tulip Garden

Colour-coded rows of tulips at the Tulip Garden
| Photo Credit:
Zairoon Abbas

Some of the popular varieties on show are Parrot tulip, Fringed tulip, Bi-colour Standard tulip, Double Blooms, Lily-flowering tulip, Fosteriana tulip and Triumph.  According to Zairoon Abbas, an official at the garden, it takes over 10 months to ready the garden in time for the blooming season that begins in March, when the temperature is between 14 and 22 degrees celsius. “While visitors can enjoy the beauty of the flowers, click selfies and even feel the leathery texture of their petals, we tell them not to pluck the flowers,” Zairoon adds. 

Tulips in Jammu

Owing to the popularity of the tulip garden in Srinagar, the Government is expanding it to Sanasar (comprising two small villages Sana and Sar) in Ramban district in Jammu. Though not as expansive as the one in Srinagar, this small garden, spread over two hectares, has an equally luminous variety of tulips on display. “Planted in December, over 20 varieties are already in bloom with more varieties set to bloom through April,” says Arjun Singh Parihar, Assistant Floriculture Officer, Udhampur/Ramban. “It has close to three lakh tulips in 25 varieties in 12 to 13 hues from rainbow colours to peach, purple, and those with double shades, ,” he adds. 

The tulip festival includes 68 different varieties of flowers

The tulip festival includes 68 different varieties of flowers
| Photo Credit:
Zairoon Abbas

Sanasar, about 20 kilometres from the popular tourist stop Patnitop, is a picturesque spot ideal for a tulip garden. “This new tulip garden is in the lap of the Sanasar bowl, with spectacular views of a golf course, meadows, and coniferous trees,” says Mussarat Islam, Deputy Commissioner of Ramban District, adding that it is also designed to draw the pilgrim crowd visiting the Mata Vaishnodevi Temple in Katra.

The festival at Srinagar is on through April and is open from 9am to 7pm. Entry fee is ₹59 for adults and ₹25 for children.

A sneak peak into the country’s biggest events and festivals before they happen. So, you want to travel more? Watch this space. 

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