Preparation are in full swing for the tulip festival which is to be conducted in the last week of March by Jammu and Kashmir’s floriculture department.Considered Asia’s largest tulip garden, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Kashmir is located in the foothills of the Zabarwan hills range and attract thousands of tourists from different parts of the world every year.
Last year in the month of March when the department of floriculture fully prepared the garden to welcome visitors, the government announced a lockdown in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kashmir tourism was affected due to the pandemic induced lockdown. The government officials are fully hopeful now that at the end of March when the garden will be opened for visitors, the Tulip festival will give a new look to the garden, a visual treat to the visitors.
The gardeners and labourers are very busy at work with some installing a green net, some repairing lights at the festival, some spraying fertilisers while others are cleaning water channels.
The floriculture department officials said that they have increased the quantities and varieties of tulip bulbs in this year’s festival.
Mohammad Shafi Head Gardener said, “Now it is mainly cleanliness drive and preparations for the tulip garden which is going on here. Last year the tulip garden was not functional. By God’s grace, it is going to happen this year in the last week of March.”
“The preparations are going at a fast pace. Many labourers have got employment because of this festival,” he added.
Dr Inam Incharge Tulip Garden, “One year went by without any show. We are hoping that more domestic and foreign tourists will visit us. We have a large number of queries this year regarding the tulip festival this year.”
“Preparations are on the last lap. We will properly follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The number of ticket counters has been increased this year to properly follow social distancing norms,” he added.
Abdul Rehman another Gardener said, “We have put in a lot of hard work. Kashmir is suffering because of the pandemic. I hope our efforts will pay this year.”Javeed Ahmad a labourer said, “We are all in trouble because of the pandemic. The show will be very beautiful this year. We are now preparing the soil bed, adding fertilisers, creating and cleaning water channels.”