Mega chinar park to be Kashmir’s next picture-perfect spot

Published on Aug 10, 2022 12:36 AM IST

As J&K government is developing a mega Chinar park in the summer capital Srinagar, spread over 20 hectares of land, one can expect a riot of colours from the nature’s palette

The proposed park will be named as ChinarZaar (The Valley of Chinars), located on the foothills of the Zabarwan mountains and the plantation of 75 Chinar trees will mark the beginning of this park on the eve of August 15, the 75th year of independence of the country. (Image for representational purpose)
The proposed park will be named as ChinarZaar (The Valley of Chinars), located on the foothills of the Zabarwan mountains and the plantation of 75 Chinar trees will mark the beginning of this park on the eve of August 15, the 75th year of independence of the country. (Image for representational purpose)
By, Srinagar

Kashmir is set to add yet another picture-perfect spot to its host of existing attractions, which will become a major tourist destination in days to come. This time around, it is neither the tulips nor Mughal gardens, but beauty and bounty of the good-old mighty Chinar trees, that will mesmerise visitors.

As J&K government is developing a mega Chinar park in the summer capital Srinagar, spread over 20 hectares of land, one can expect a riot of colours from the nature’s palette.

The proposed park will be named as ChinarZaar (The Valley of Chinars), located on the foothills of the Zabarwan mountains and the plantation of 75 Chinar trees will mark the beginning of this park on the eve of August 15, the 75th year of independence of the country.

“The ChinarZaar shall be spread over nearly 400 kanals of land and shall be developed as an exclusive green zone to attract more tourists and local visitors. As many as 75 chinar trees are being planted by August 15 to celebrate 75 years of the independence,” Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad said after visiting the area.

Asad asked the officers to start plantation of Chinar saplings by using tree guards to protect them from as a short term measure and said the Chinar tree saplings would be planted by August 15 on the eve of 75 years of independence under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahaotsav.

“Chinar tree is the legacy of Kashmir and is a living heritage and has a deep cultural value in the history of Kashmir. The development of the largest Chinar Park at upper Nishat will further enhance the scenic beauty and environment in the area, and would also become focal attraction for tourists, at the same time uplifting socio-economic condition of the local population.”

Chinar-the state tree of J&K called by the name the oriental plane or Platanus orientalis var. cashmiriana - is the only species of family Platanaceae found in our country and growing in Kashmir valley.

Though the number of Chinar, locally called Boueen, has dwindled in Kashmir over the decades from an estimated 42,000 to below 20,000 owing to different natural and manmade factors including urbanisation, the officials launched the tagging project to exactly count the number of trees across the Himalayan valley, their size, health status and then their geo-tagging, and aimed to conserve and monitor this heritage tree.

Divisional Forest Officer, Research Division, Mohammad Lateef recently told HT that the census and geo-tagging, which was started last year, is going on and it will be completed by the end of March next year. “Our team enumerated some 10,000 Chinars last year and geo-tagged them. This year also the process is going on,” he said adding that Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal and Anantnag have more numbers than rest of the districts.

A Chinar heritage register with information on location, height, girth, canopy, health condition and ecological threat of these trees is being prepared by their geo-tagging by the forest research institute (J&K FRI). The information is fed to a computer which keeps a record of this information and can be accessed whenever required.

Officials said that it was believed that the oldest and biggest Chinar in Kashmir dates back to some 700 years which is standing at Chetturgul Chaadoora in Cental Kashmir’s Budgam district. The tree, believed to be planted by Sufi Saint Syed Qasim Shah, grew to be 14.78 metres tall with a basal growth of about 19m. However fresh survey shows more older Chinars in the Valley.

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