SRINAGAR — Asia’s largest tulip garden, which overlooks the famed Dal Lake here, opened to the public, kicking off the new tourism season in Kashmir on Thursday.

Baseer Ahmad Khan (IAS officer), currently an adviser to the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, also paid a visit to the garden. Among other officers, Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Athar Aamir Khan also accompanied Baseer Khan.

On the occasion, Lieutenant Governor’s Advisor said that the government has started a new project to add to the beauty of the 35 acre sprawling Tulip garden in Srinagar at the cost of Rs. 10 Crore to offer more to the visitors.

“That’s the phase-2 of the Tulip garden. There will be a cherry garden and other attractive trees and flowers in the backside of the garden that will be an added attraction,” Advisor Khan said and urged visitors to follow the Do’s and Don’ts displayed outside the garden for following the SoPs in spirit.

Advisor Khan said that the garden presents a breath-taking view for tourists and other visitors. “J&K UT is famous for its beauty across the globe. Tulip garden adds to the beauty of Kashmir. Earlier, tourists visiting Kashmir were confined to Mughal Gardens only, but now Tulip garden is their first preference. You can see on the very first day of opening of Tulip garden, there are a lot of domestic and foreign tourists present,” he said.

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He said that the garden has been officially thrown open for the visitors and tourists from today onwards. “On April 3, LG Manoj Sinha sir will officially inaugurate the Tulip festival wherein we will showcase Kashmir’s rich culture, cuisine, art, and handcrafts etc. That will help attract more tourists and also help promote J&K UT’s rich traditions and culture,” Advisor Khan said.

He said at present there is only 25 per cent Tulip bloom and till April 3, the garden will be in full bloom. “There will be cultural programs also. That way, we will be presenting a bouquet of love, art and culture to the people visiting the garden besides the tulip bloom,” Khan said.

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About Prime Minister Narendera Modi’s Tweet about Kashmir’s hospitality, Advisor Khan said: “Valley people are hospitable and their hospitality is famous across the globe. We urge tourists to come and enjoy the hospitality of Kashmiri people while exploring the beauty of Kashmir.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used social media to encourage people to visit the Tulip Garden and witness the warm hospitality of the locals.

In the foothills of the snow-capped Zabarwan Range, the garden is spread out over 30 hectares. The garden is home to 15 lakh tulips in 62 varieties this year. The Floriculture Department plants tulip bulbs in stages such that the flowers last a month or longer in the greenhouse.

The aim of establishing Asia’s largest tulip garden was to provide tourists with another option and to extend the tourism season, which previously began in May each year.

Meanwhile, an official said that “no visitor would be allowed into the garden without wearing a face mask, and thermal scanners and sanitizers would be available”, but the scenes inside the garden were contrary.

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