Bloom boom: Footfall at Srinagar’s Tulip Garden crosses 1 lakh in a week
As per officials, the garden -- one of Asia’s biggest flower plots with 1.6 million bulbs in different stages of bloom -- is fast acquiring a ‘global appeal’ as the footfall has increased multifold this year
One lakh people, 70% of whom were tourists, visited the Srinagar’s iconic Tulip Garden in the first week of its opening on March 19 despite Ramadan and rainy weather.
As per officials, the garden -- one of Asia’s biggest flower plots with 1.6 million bulbs in different stages of bloom -- is fast acquiring a ‘global appeal’ as the footfall has increased multifold this year.
“The initial days of the opening saw a heavy rush of people. The arrivals stabilised with the beginning of Ramadan from March 23. However, domestic tourists are still pouring in,” said Inam ul Rehman, in-charge of Tulip Garden.
“Over one lakh people had visited the garden till Sunday. Seventy percent of them were tourists,” he added.
Besides 68 varieties of tulips, the visitors can also enjoy water features, including a high-rise fountain on the top of the terraced garden. The newly added specs augment the magnificent 30-hectare Tulip Garden at Siraj Bagh situated along the Dal Lake.
Rehman said they were surprised by the enthusiasm shown by visitors from outside. “The garden is emerging and marking its place on the bucket list of tourists. I receive hundreds of calls daily. People tell me that they are not getting bookings or accommodations for visiting the garden,” he added.
At least 60 gardeners are working round the clock at the garden to make sure that the bloom of the sea of flowers is properly taken care of. The garden is divided into 36 plots with 16-18 beds in each. There are three parks inside the compound as well.
“The proportion of visitors from outside is increasing. Over 7,000-8,000 domestic tourists are visiting the garden daily,” he added.
Rehman said at least 300 foreigners have also arrived in the past one week. “Ninety-nine of them visited on Sunday alone,” he said.
The garden had played an important part in wooing more tourists during the spring last year, particularly after the Covid-induced disruptions in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, the garden had seen 3.6 lakh visitors against 2.3 lakh in 2021.
Usually, the tulip bloom starts by late March. The average life of a tulip flower is 20 days and can stretch up to 25 with overall bloom getting extended by adding late-blooming varieties.
The temperature-sensitive flowers need mercury to stay above 15 degrees and below 25 degrees Celsius.
The bloom in the garden was affected by low temperatures and rainy days from March 24 to 26. “We have 80% blooming in the garden right now. Only late-blooming varieties have to flower now,” Rehman said.
Last year, over 26.7 lakh tourists had visited Kashmir, and the arrivals this year are also looking encouraging. February itself saw more than one lakh tourists thronging Kashmir, especially its three known destinations of Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonmarg.