Spread over an area of about 12 hectares, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is located close to the world-famous Dal Lake in Siraj Bagh, Srinagar. The garden was earlier known as ‘Model Floriculture Centre’ and presently is Asia’s largest tulip garden. The garden is the effort of Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, the ex-Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and was established to boost floriculture and eco-tourism in Kashmir Valley.
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden is situated at the foothills of Zabarwan Range. Overlooking the iconic Dal Lake, the garden is opened in 2007. It is encircled by Nishat Bagh and Chashma Shahi. Garden from three sides. Adorned by 70 varieties of tulips, the garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Srinagar. To add more magnetism to the garden, several rose beds are also cultivated.
A smooth cruising drive of a mere 9 kilometers from the Srinagar along the soothing Dal Lake towards the south brings us to the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden. This garden cradles in the gentle slopes of the mighty Zabarwan hills. It is flanked by a manicured lush green golf course in the north and the pristine Dal Lake almost washes its entrance to the west. Antiquity and an ambience of timeless regality are bestowed by the nearby Chashme Shahi and Pari Mahal complexes to this Tulip Garden.
An entry into this garden is akin to savoring paradise as God intended it to be. The eye gets riveted to the numerous PARALLEL running rows of more than a MILLION multi-colored tulip flowers. The garden is full of red, orange, yellow, purple and mauve tulips to name a few. Apart from them there are numerous multi-colored hybrid flowers too. Nature has liberally run riot with the color combinations of these hybrid flowers.
The flowers too have their own distinctly varied shapes. Some are hemispherical like turbans, others are elongated, many have scattered petals or simply loose and upward flowing petals and sepals that look like erupting flames. However, each hybrid variety is grown in its unique flower bed which is about 1 meter wide and 80 meters long.
Tulip garden has been created by carving out seven terraces on a gentle sloping ground; a move in any direction leaves us spell bound by the multi tier flowers. A gentle uphill climb brings us to the delightful fruit trees that dot the rim of this garden. The slender branches of these trees are covered with different coloured buds and flowers. Since these trees at this time have not yet re-grown their leaves after the winter; the abundant luscious flowers look divine when viewed against a dazzling blue sky.
Beyond the trees, further upslope, the Pari Mahal benignly smiles at the tulip scapes, much like an aging queen smilingly admires her feminine progeny coming of age. Gazing downhill the eye runs along the striped mosaic of tulips, created by compactly laid complimentary and contrasting colored flowers that appear to reach all the way down to the shore of the Dal Lake. The lake itself sports beautiful floating fountains. In addition to tulips the other bulbs material grown in the garden include Hyacinths, Narcissus, Daffodils, Muscaria and Iris.