Srinagar, Mar 11 (ANI): If there be a paradise on the Earth, it is this, it is this, it is this... reads one of the verses coined by Firdaus, a poet in Mughal emperor Shahjahan's court, which praises the Kashmir Valley for its incomparable beauty.
Kashmir's beauty is particularly enhanced during the spring season.
The enchanting scenario is attributed to the thousands of almond trees that blossom and present a surreal blanket of white and pink in the majestic mountainous landscape.
For locals, these flowers indicate the arrival of spring, a season that attracts tourists from all parts of the country and abroad.
"These flowers indicate the departure of winter and the arrival of spring. The enchanting beauty of almond flowers attracts tourists from around the world," noted Muzzafar Ahmed, a resident of Srinagar.
Almond trees are among the first to bloom in the valley lending an aromatic air to the spring. The almonds from these gardens known locally as Badam Wae'r are known for their superior taste and high quality.
The kernels are used in confectionary items and desserts.
Tourists visiting the valley say that they are delighted to witness the almond flowers.
" We came across almond flowers for the first time as they are not found in Bengal. We heard that this part is the paradise of India. So we came here. Particularly almond flowers are very beautiful and we are enjoying very much," said Sujeet Bannerjee, a tourist from West Bengal.
Besides almonds, the other popular fruits of Kashmir are walnuts, pine nuts and pistachio.
Last year, nearly 500 thousand tourists travelled to the Kashmir valley to experience the spring as well as snowfall in the winter.
Kashmir was once a top Asian tourism destination, popular among honeymooners, skiers, trekkers, anglers, and attracted nearly a million tourists a year until 1989, when the cross-border tensions aggravated. By Parvez Butt (ANI)