Srinagar, Mar 31 : Asia's largest tulip garden, which has about 12 lakh tulips of 51 varieties in its lap on the banks of world famous Dal Lake in the summer capital, Srinagar, was thrown open for gawking visitors from Sunday, marking the beginning of new tourism season in the Valley.
The Tulip garden in the backdrop of mighty Zabarwan range of mountains, was thrown open for public, including tourists and locals, on Sunday, where about 3000 people visited the garden on the first day.
However, many tulip varieties are yet to bloom in the garden, which was opened about a week late as compared to last year due to wet weather.
Tourists, both local and foreigners, besides local people in long queues were seen waiting for their turn to enter the Tulip garden and enjoy the beauty of blooming tulips on a sunny Sunday.
“I have come here during this time of the year especially to see the Tulips and almonds bloom. In my last visit to the valley during summer last year, I was told by many local people that I should visit when the Tulip garden and almond orchards are in full bloom… and I am glad that I came here as the beauty of this place is to die for,” Kanika Mehta, a resident of Delhi, told UNI.
“There are 51 varieties of tulips in the garden this year and a total of 12 lakh bulbs, adding colour to the landscape at 5,600 feet altitude,” officials said.
They said so far there is only 25 per cent bloom. However, they said due to requests by hundreds of tourists, the grander was thrown open for general public. “In the next about one week to 10 days, majority of the tulips would have bloomed,” they said, adding this time there was no opening function due to Model Code of Conduct (MCC) imposed in view of upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"Meanwhile, more green space has been created and several new fountains have been installed in the garden, where visitors can now enjoy illumination display during evenings. A water channel could also be seen running through the terraces, adding to the beauty of the garden. Ramp facility has also been provided at the Exit gate for differently-abled people,"added the officials.
The tulip garden has attracted filmmakers as shooting of various Bollywood films have taken place here in the last 10 years. Earlier known as Siraj Bagh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden was opened in 2008 by then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The idea of the garden spread over 30 hectares was conceived to advance the tourism season in the Valley by about two months. The average life span of the tulip flower is three to four weeks, but heavy rains or too much of heat can destroy it.