Located in the foothills of snow-clad Zabarwan mountain range, Asia’s largest tulip garden in Kashmir has witnessed a record number of visitors since its opening on March 25. According to official figures from Directorate of Forticulture, more than 2.15 lakh visitors has arrived in this iconic garden during the last 22 days. Along with tourists from different parts of the country, Tulip garden also attract local visitors every year.
“Last year, the garden was closed due to coronavirus lockdown which left many visitors disappointed but this year a huge rush was witnessed in the past 22 days,” said Farooq Ahmed Rather, Director of Forticulture Department, adding that out of 2.15 lakh visitors, 1,43,000 were locals while nearly 72,000 were tourists from different states.
Formerly known as Siraj Bagh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden was opened in 2008 by then chief minister of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The department had planted nearly 15 lakh tulip bulbs of 64 varieties this year for which preparation began in December. Most of these varieties were imported from countries like Holland.
Speaking on the surge in number of Covid-19 cases, Dr Inaam, in-charge of Tulip gardern said, “We had ensured that all Covid-19 protocols were being followed strictly despite the huge rush of visitors. Rapid testing facilities were kept available while visitors were constantly being asked to maintain social distancing.”
“Regular announcement is also being made on loud speakers asking people to wear mask and maintain social distance,” he added.
With an aim to make Tulip show 2021 a grand success, the Department of Tourism also conducted two-day long “Tulip festival” on April 3. Cultural and musical events were held in which Bollywood rapper and singer Badshah performed for the audience.