Just days after Srinagar was pounded by heavy rain, a much-needed sight for sore eyes – 90 acres in full bloom in the city’s tulip garden, the largest in Asia.
The gardens are already attracting tourists, though they formally open for the public.
“Tulips in Srinagar beginning to bloom. It’s a 1 hr flight from Delhi so why wait!” tweeted former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who has been for days urging travellers not to shun the state, which is heavily dependent on tourists for its economy.
Last month, 19 people were killed in mudslides after days of incessant rains, bringing back horrific memories of just six months ago, when 300 people were killed in the worst floods in the region in over a century.
But skies have cleared now, and Srinagar is keen to move on, and show off its stunning beauty. “I can’t believe my eyes. It’s amazing and we feel very lucky to be here” says Dr Puja Chadha, a tourist from Mumbai.
Located in the foothills of the Zabarwan mountains, the garden has over 100 varieties of tulips in various hues. The garden was developed by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2007 when he was Chief Minister, with the intention of advancing the tourist season in Kashmir, and it seems to be working. Earlier, the historic Mughal Gardens used to be the first choice for tourists visiting the valley. Now, it’s the tulip garden that has become the place to visit.