The Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, Asia's largest tulip garden, ensconced between Dal Lake and the Zabarwan hills here opened for the public on Sunday.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the opening ceremony said that about 68 varieties of tulips will bloom in the garden this year.
Besides 15 lakh tulips of various colours and hues, the garden, also known as Siraj Bagh, has other spring flowers, such as hyacinths, daffodils, muscari and cyclamens, on display, said Inam-ul-Rehman, in-charge of the garden. "Every year we expand this garden and new varieties are displayed here. This year, we have extended the fountain channel," he said.
When the garden blooms fully, there will be a rainbow of tulips, he said. The Floriculture department plants the tulip bulbs in a phased manner so that the flowers remain in the garden for a month or more.
The LG said last year the garden witnessed 3.60 lakh visitors, which is the highest since it was opened. Expressing a hope that this year’s visitor footfall surpasses last year's numbers, Sinha said a new tulip garden will be opened in April in Sanasar area of the Jammu region in which 2.75 lakh tulips of 25 varieties will bloom.
Lauding the efforts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said whatever successes the administration has achieved in the last few years, the credit goes to the people.
Pune resident Vandana Rathi who visited the famous garden a day before her return flight said that it was one of the best moments of her trip to the Valley.
“It is a beautiful experience and one of the best moments of our visit to Kashmir, to have seen the tulip garden," Rathi said. Formerly known as Siraj Bagh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden was opened in 2008 by then chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Azad had conceived the idea to bridge the lean tourist arrival period between the winter and summer seasons in the Valley.