It is a much-cliched and often repeated fact that Kashmir is Heaven on Earth, or ‘jannat’ (jannah –Arabic for Paradise). But this in no way takes away from the truth of the matter. The state of Jammu & Kashmir has every right to be called Paradise, thanks to its natural beauty. And what’s more – come spring, and the whole valley comes alive with blooming flowers in every possible color. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar, every Spring (late March-early April) holds the Tulip Festival to allow visitors to feast their eyes on a whole silken carpet of tulips in various shades.
What happens at the Tulip Festival?
As the name suggests, you’re going to get to see a couple of millions of tulips in full bloom. Located at the foothills of the Zabarwan Range, and overlooking the Dal Lake, the location of Asia’s largest tulip garden couldn’t be better. Spread over 5 hectares of land, the garden is home to more than 60 varieties of tulips, with a few more types imported from Holland each year.
Apart from this, you can enjoy tons of cultural activities like traditional Kashmiri folk music and dance performances. Treat yourself to some tasty Kashmiri food, and wash it all down with a cup of flavorful Kahwa (a type of Kashmiri tea with hints of saffron, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, served with crushed almonds). Vendors selling handicrafts made in the Kashmir valley will yell their throats hoarse to attract your attention, so make it a point to check out these knick-knacks and pick up a souvenir or two.
Planning your trip
Spring is the best time to visit Kashmir - the snow has begun to thaw, the sun plays hide and seek and the weather, while chilly is comfortable. The Tulip Festival attracts not only Indian tourists, but also people from all over the world. So booking your trip to Srinagar well in advance will help. Srinagar is connected by air from major Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai, and also by road from Chandigarh, New Delhi, Leh and Jammu. The nearest railhead is Jammu, and if you’re travelling from Delhi, Kolkata, or Mumbai, you can also hop on a train. While you’re in town for the Tulip festival, also make sure you look up other places to visit in Srinagar. So this Spring, pack your bags and head to Paradise on Earth for this visual treat!