Preserving A Million Tulips In Asia’s Largest Tulip Garden In Kashmir

Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden in Srinagar, Jammu And Kashmir. (JyotiPN/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0))

SRINAGAR — Tulip gardeners in India’s far-northern Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir are hard at work to put away hundreds of thousands of flowers for the annual Tulip Festival next year.

“As of now, we are harvesting seeds of the ones we have sown,” said Nazir Ahmad, a gardener at Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden at Cheshmashahi in Srinagar

“We do the harvesting, threshing, winnowing, and storing activities to make these tulip bulbs bloom. We keep them protected till the next season. Again, we prepare flower beds for the next season, and this process continues over the year.”

Another gardener, Mohamad Shafi, shed light on the preservation side of things.

“You can see, as of now, we are doing post-harvesting of seeds,” said Shafi. 

“It is (a) very important step. We preserve the seeds in cold storage to avoid fungus. It is not an ordinary job and requires a lot of manpower. Officers also come here to keep a check on a regular basis.”

The officials highlighted the importance of protecting the garden and lauded the preparations done by the gardeners for the upcoming Tulip festival that is held annually in Srinagar. 

“Each Tulip bulb is graded on the basis of its size,” said Inam, the person in charge of the garden. 

“As of now, for protecting the tulip pods in chambers of cold storage. We are preparing for the next year’s Tulip festival.” 

Tulip Festival is an annual celebration that aims to showcase the range of flowers in the garden as part of tourism efforts by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. It is organized during the onset of spring in the Kashmir valley.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden—previously Model Floriculture Center—is a tulip garden in the summer capital Srinagar. It is the largest tulip garden on the Asian continent, spread over an area of about 30 hectares (74.13 acres). 

The garden is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan Range at 5,600 feet overlooking Kashmir’s iconic Dal Lake on one side, medieval terraced-garden Nishat Bagh on another side, and another 17th century Chashma Shahi Garden surrounds the Tulip garden. 

The garden was opened in 2007 by then-chief minister Gulam Nabi Azad with the aim to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir Valley. 

The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden houses close to 50 varieties of the flower, and more than a million tulips blossom every year across seven terraces. The best time to visit the site is between late March and early April. However, it is open all days of the week from 9 am to 7 pm.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Amrita Das and Krishna Kakani

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