Srinagar, Mar 29: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today inaugurated and dedicated to people one of the world's largest tulip gardens at the foot of the Zabarwan Hill, overlooking the famous Dal Lake here.
However, Ms Gandhi and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, other VIPs and officials purchased tickets to enter the garden, where about 12 lakh tulip bulbs in more than 60 colours were greeting the guests. Earlier, it was announced that the garden will be thrown open for public in the first week of next month. The authorities had announced that entry to the garden will be through tickets as adults will have to pay Rs 50 and children Rs 20.
''The tickets will be beautifully printed which could be retained by visitors as souvenirs.'' Ms Gandhi went round the garden, appreciating the work done by a workforce, who completed the task in record time.
Mr Azad, who was personally monitoring the progress on the garden, visited it more than ten times in the recent past.
A workforce of about 400 labourers and gardeners completed the task by working round the clock in three shifts to give final touches to the Asia's largest garden before opening its beautifully built gate plaza for visitors.
As many as 12 lakh tulip bulbs were ready in the garden, which would be one of the major attractions for the tourists in the summer capital.
The authorities have plans to develop it as an all season garden.
Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who visited the garden whenever was in the city, directed the authorities for leveling various sections of the tulip garden and maintaining the ornamental trees.
In all, 60 varieties of early, mid, late and very late blooming tulips will spread a rainbow of red, orange, purple, white, pink, parrot and yellow colours on the garden.
A UNI correspondent saw the garden with white, red, orange and purple varieties of tulips already in bloom.
The garden will have four fountains, gate plaza, cemented paths, landscaping and a guest house.