The April tulip festival brings colourful spring to Kashmir valleySharath Ahuja
This is a story worth telling. There was once a flower that wandered around the world, but was unable to find itself a home, the flower bulb wandered about in Persia, China, and Turkey, until it finally landed up in the beautiful valley of Kashmir, thanks to unknown benefactors, who planted it there.
The flower enjoyed the climate and the soil and the inhabitants tended it with love and affection. In turn, it rewarded them a bountiful bloom of one of nature's most beautiful of flowers. This is the story of the flower - the magnificent tulip.
Come April, and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, situated in the foothills of the Zabarwan range in Srinagar, overlooking the Dal Lake, plays host to Asia's largest Tulip Flower Show.
This year, the annual tulip show was held between April 1 to April 15, 2017. Unseasonal snowfall and incessant rain, in the first week of April in Srinagar did not dampen the spirits of tens of thousands of tourists, tulip aficionados, connoisseurs, fans, devotees, and tulip lovers from around the world who came to Srinagar to celebrate the onset of spring and to see the world's most beautiful flower.
The tulip garden, which is built on a sloping ground in a terraced fashion, has seven terraces. It was inaugurated in 2008 and is spread across 30 hectares.
The 2017 edition of the Annual Tulip Festival showcased about 48 varieties of tulips and had several lakhs of flowers in bloom, in a rainbow of colors. They range from simple whites to blushing pinks, from fiery reds to golden yellows, from hybrids with double colors to the very rare and exotic near black tulip, the Night Queen.
The Srinagar Tulip Garden and Festival was previously adjudged (in 2014), as the second best tulip garden in the world by the World Summit Tulip Society.
Along with the spectacular flower show, which attracted tens of hundreds of tourists, the organisers - the Department of Horticulture/Floriculture, Government of Jammu and Kashmir - had put up stalls to showcase and sell local handicrafts. The added attraction this year was a live band that featured local Kashmiri artistes, who entertained the audience with both folk and rock music.
The tulip festival is an annual celebration that aims to showcase the range of flowers in the garden as a part of tourism efforts by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. It is organised every year, during the onset of spring season in Kashmir valley.
To everyone who could not make it to this year's tulip fiesta in Srinagar, mark your dates for the next one. The spectacular festival will be back next year during the onset of spring in the Kashmir Valley, most probably in the month of April 2018.