Dekha ek khwaab toh yeh silsilay huye, door tak nigahon mein hain gul khile huye…
To shoot the iconic romantic song featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha, Yash Chopra had to travel all the way to Keukenhof, near Lisse in the Netherlands. He can be credited for introducing millions of cinema-crazy Indians to the magic of tulips. It was the early ‘80s and nothing as mesmerising as the Keukenhof Gardens existed close by. Things would be different if Chopra was alive and wanted to recreate the same magic today.
I was on my way to Kashmir to attend a family wedding, with a quick stopover in Delhi before that. I invited India’s leading image guru and a close friend of mine, Dilip Cherian for coffee at my hotel in the evening. On getting to know I was headed to Kashmir the next day, he suggested visiting the Tulip Garden, no matter how hectic my trip was. He also fondly remembered how his friend Ghulam Nabi Azad, then the CM of Jammu & Kashmir and the key architect of the Tulip Garden, had invited him for the inauguration in 2007. The original thought behind the initiative was meant to provide a healing touch to tourism when the winter snow tourists begin to reduce.
Taking his recommendation and with the tulip season beginning on March 23, I was one of the first tourists to catch this rare seasonal spectacle of breathtaking blooms this year. Staying at the Taj Vivanta, just two kilometres away from the garden, was an added advantage.
Tourists from all over the world plan their trip to Japan during cherry blossom season and make their itinerary based on the Sakura season calendar that moves from the South to the North. Similarly, it’s now time to plan your visit to Kashmir during the tulip season, which starts during the third week of March and blooms to the maximum glory in the first three weeks of April.
Kashmir Tulip Festival — a sight to behold
Bursting with tourists, there can’t be a better time to visit Srinagar. Add Kashmir Tulip Festival 2022 as one additional reason to visit Kashmir during the spring. Located at the foothills of the Zabarwan Mountain Range in Srinagar, the Tulip Garden is Asia’s largest and is already a must-see destination located in the heart of Srinagar.
Earlier known as Siraj Bagh or Model Folriculture Center, the Tulip Garden in Srinagar is named after the former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi (Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden). The garden overlooks the famous Dal Lake and is located at a distance of eight kilometres from Lal Chowk and 18 kilometres from the Srinagar International Airport.
Spread across 30 hectares, the garden boasts of more than 1.5 million blooming tulips of close to 50 varieties. The Tulip Garden also hosts many other species of flowers like ranunculus, hyacinths, and daffodils and a very rare tree called the tulip tree, which also blooms at the same time. Tulips are considered to be the most delicate and sensitive flowers, and can grow in a particular climatic condition. The climate in the Kashmir Valley at the end of March is just perfect for these flowers to bloom as they signal the onset of spring in the region.
The garden has many sections and each section is designed to be unique. Every section hosts different varieties of tulips like strong gold, margaritas, candela, kung fu, early harvest, and many more.
Opening hours: The garden remains open from 7:00 am to 7:30 pm, seven days a week. The entry fee is Rs.50 per adult and Rs.25 per child. Most people visit the garden between 01:00 pm and 06:00 pm. Tulip Garden in Srinagar is open to the public from March 23, 2022.
- Don’t visit on Sundays and public holidays to avoid a crowd
- The best blooms happen between the first and the third weeks of April
- The best time to visit is between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm. The garden is less crowded and the sun is less harsh, so you can take better photographs
- Take a good camera with you—phone cameras may not do justice to the true colours of nature.
- The garden is open for about five weeks only.