Kashmir Gears Up To Welcome Tourists

2 March 2009
Bilal Butt

Srinagar: Kashmir is giving a facelift to the gardens of the valley, ahead of the tourist season. With the winters bidding a goodbye to the region, the floriculture department has started a massive upgradation of almost all the gardens. The Mughal gardens like Nishat and Shalimar as well as the famous tulip and the botanical gardens play an important role in promoting the state as a tourist destination. The floriculture department of state has for the first time launched a programme to give a face-lift to the gardens. New varieties of flowers are also being introduced to make 'all weather gardens'. 'Tulips bloom only for four to five weeks. We want to attract tourists throughout the year and make these gardens all weather gardens,' said G.S. Naqash, director, floriculture department, Kashmir. Hundreds have been engaged to work in the gardens. 'The aim is to complete all the work within one month. Many tourists visit the valley during this season. Like every year, we expect that thousands of tourists will throng the valley to witness the flowers in full bloom. So, we are working to make the garden look good. Our entire team is engaged in the tulip and the botanical garden,' said Ghulam Hassan, a gardener. Kashmir is considered the land of gardens. The most famous are the Mughal gardens with vast picturesque hillsides. The Mughal gardens of Shalimar, Nishat, Chashmashahi and others like Pari Mahal and Harwan are major tourist attractions. The city also boasts of one of Asia's largest tulip garden situated at the foothills of the Zabarwan Mountains on the banks of the Dal Lake spread over 12.5 acres of land and has 1.2 million tulips in full bloom.