Srinagar, Mar 29 (UNI) Asia's large Indira Gandhi Memorial garden with 12 lakh tulips has advanced tourist season in the valley by two months.
As the tourist season starts in May every year and there was not much for the tourists to enjoy here in March and April, the Tulip garden has filled the gap, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in his welcome address said.
The garden located at the foot of the Zabarwan Hill overlooking the famous Dal Lake was envisioned by Mr Azad two and a half year ago and developed it to advance the tourist season in Kashmir by two months.
Mr Azad said by laying this garden tourists could now come and enjoy tulip bloom two months ahead of the beginning of the normal tourist season.
He asked the Tourism Department officials to publicise the Tulip Garden throughout the country to attract maximum number of tourists.
Mr Azad further said lighting arrangements had been made to also allow night viewing of tulip bloom.
The tourists cannot now confine themselves in their hotel and houseboat rooms at night, but can visit this garden.
Giving an idea of the development of the Tulip Garden, Mr Azad said in December 2005, 30,000 tulip bubs were sown in the garden and extended to 3 lakh bulbs in December 2006.
He said the garden was further extended by sowing 12 lakh bulbs last winter, making it the Asia's largest tulip garden.
The Chief Minister also said there was plan for further extension to 20 lakh bulbs next year.
The garden, he said, had been developed in terraces, three of which had already been laid while two more would be laid next year.
He said while he would not like to compare the garden with Shalimar and Nishat Gardens but the Tulip Garden would be double the size of the Mughal Gardens by next year.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir and tourists visiting the Valley would be benefited by this facility, he said.
The Chief Minister also presented a picture of the Tulip Garden and a papier machie table to Mrs Sonia Gandhi and a shawl to the Defence Minister as souvenirs.
UNI BAS QAB PY BD1858