Gulon mein rang bhare…

Tulips bloom in Srinagar and the Tulip Garden has been thrown open to public. The government expects a tourist influx higher than last year. Surely, the Valley is in for
good times indeed.

Mian Tufail

THINK of the tulips in Srinagar, the mind instantly goes toThat beautiful song from Yash Chopra’s Silsila…

Dekha ek khwaab to yeh silsile huye,
door tak nigaah mein hain gul khile huye…

It’s that kind of musical & lyrical vision that our Tulip Garden brings to so many minds!
With the advent of Spring in Jammu and Kashmir, the tulips in the iconic Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, Srinagar start to bloom. The gorgeous view of the tulips at the feet of Zabarwan Hills brings such a pretty respite after the harsh period of winters. They bring new hopes and dreams for both the people and the government. Inaugurated in 2007 at the picturesque site hemmed in by the hills, nestled right next to Badamwari, the Tulip
Garden attracts both domestic and foreign tourists. It’s Asia’s largest tulip garden with 1.6 billion bulbs and 68 varieties ready to bloom for the short period of 20-25 days to mesmerise visitors.

Tulips beckon tourists
Last week, on March 19, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated the garden and threw it open to its visitors. Various musical shows were witnessed on the opening day to mark the inauguration. On the occasion, LG Manoj Sinha invited people from all over the world to visit Jammu and Kashmir and experience the serene beauty of 16 lakh tulips blooming in the iconic city of Srinagar.

The LG also directed the Vice Chancellor of Sher-e- Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) to make arrangements for growing
tulip planting material in J&K rather than relying on imports.

The LG also hoped that the influx of tourists will be larger this year. “Last year, an unprecedented 3.60 lakh tourists visited the Tulip Garden and I believe the number will
further increase this year,” the LG said in his speech. Meanwhile, a gardener taking care of the Tulip Garden, says, “This time, due to high temperature in the first leg of March, the tulips have bloomed a little early. But there are other varieties that will start to bloom after March 25. The garden can be opened as and when tulips blossom. We have made full arrangements for the visitors. In fact, the floriculture department has worked tirelessly to make this season a success”.

Happy to help
Anticipating that the boom of tourists will cross previous year’s mark, the Traffic Police, Srinagar have issued an advisory for motorists, allowing regulation of only one-
way traffic from March 19–26 to contain the traffic. “Asia’s largest Tulip Garden is being thrown open to the public on March 19, 2023 and it is expected that a large number of tourists and local populace will throng to the Tulip Garden and other gardens in its vicinity. Due to the expected rush of people, there are chances of congestion, and for the convenience of people and to avoid slow movement, one-way traffic shall be regulated
initially w.e.f. 19-03-2023 till 26-03-2023,” the advisory reads. Pertinently, some videos have been circulated online wherein some inhabitants of the area have been seen
complaining about the traffic mess due to long queues of vehicles heading towards the garden. They are reported to have feared that if an ambulance were to go through,
there would be no space for it to reach a hospital. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Bhiduri has, however, countered the allegations and said that there will be a few days of traffic hassles in Srinagar due to the opening of the Tulip Garden and in case of any
medical emergency, the administration will take care.




Tulips and other good things

Meanwhile, speaking at the jam-packed opening event at the Tulip Garden, LG Manoj Sinha stressed, “The Prime Minister has always shown us the path towards working for the common man and not just for the selected few. I want to tell those who have amassed wealth for their generations through wrongful means that the time has changed. Today, the government is working towards the welfare of its people and safeguarding the interest of the common man”. He also talked about how the government land belonged to the government only and not to any individual. The State land retrieved from illegal occupants would be utilised for public utility – building schools, hospitals, playfields, industries and burial grounds, added the LG. He further mentioned how “in just January and February,
4.70 lakh tourists visited J&K and the figures exclude Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims. Last year, 1,28,000,000 tourists had visited J&K, the highest in the past man  decades”. Meanwhile, a Pulwama resident named Aijaz Ahmad who visited the Tulip Garden, told KC: “This is my second visit. I am here along with my family. Tulips have a short life span and we planned to visit early since the holy month of Ramzan is approaching. I am seeing a number of
tourists here and I pray that the garden witnesses a huge tourism boom”.
It may be noted that after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35(A), the LG administration is working tirelessly to make Jammu and Kashmir a hub of tourism. Various initiatives aimed at the same have been taken up, including winter carnivals, the Pahalgam fest, invitation
to Bollywood to shoot in Kashmir and other fests and programmes to showcase the potential of tourism in J&K.



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