Srinagar, Nov 9: The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden at the foothills of Zabarwan hills, is attracting large number of people at present, this time to purchase tulip bulbs. ''We have decided to sell several thousand tulip bulbs in the Kashmir valley,'' said an official of the gardens and parks counter at Cheshmashahi. He said besides common people, security force personnel were also purchasing bulbs for their consumption. A correspondent who visited the counter saw hundreds of people from different parts of the valley purchasing tulip bulbs.
People were now taken keen interest in tulips after visiting the garden last year after it was inaugurated and dedicated to the people by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on March 29 last year. The garden overlooking the famed Dal Lake advanced the tourist season by a month and it remained a main attraction for thousands of tourists and Bollywood for about a month.
As many as 74,421 visitors from different parts of the country, abroad and locals visited the tulip garden and the department earned a revenue of Rs 27. 30 lakh from entry ticket.
The authorities had announced that entry to the garden would be through tickets as adults would have to pay Rs 50 and children Rs 20.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was brain behind the garden which had filled the gap as tourist season normally startes in May every year.
In December 2005, 30,000 tulip bulbs were sown in the garden and extended to three lakh bulbs in December 2006.
The garden was further extended by sowing 12 lakh bulbs making it the Asia's largest tulip garden.
In all, 60 varieties of early, mid, late and very late blooming tulips spread a rainbow of red, orange, purple, white, pink, parrot and yellow colours on the garden.
However, the plan for its further extension to 20 lakh bulbs in the next season would not get fulfilled because of sale and other difficulties, official sources said.
The garden was to be developed in terraces, three of which had already been laid, they said adding two more scheduled to be laid next year may get delayed.
They said within the next two years, the dream of 20 lakh bulbs would get fulfilled.