Manzoor Ahmad, 40, a gardener at Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar wakes up with the first dawn of the light and ensures that he reaches the garden on time. “I leave by 7:00 am and reach the garden by 10:30,” says Ahmad who hails from south Kashmir's Tral town.
Ahmad is among 82 gardeners who are making their best efforts on a daily basis so that the garden looks refreshing. “Our day starts in the morning and ends in the evening. Our priority has always been to make this garden look more beautiful so as to welcome more visitors,” he said.
Located at the foothills of the Zabarwan Range with an overview of Dal Lake, Asia's largest tulip garden was thrown open on March 25. Over 15 lakh (1.5 million) tulips consisting of 63 varieties of multi-colored ones have bloomed in Kashmir's Tulip Garden mesmerizing thousands of tourists and locals. This year an additional 200,000 tulip bulbs have been added to the 30-hectare of garden. Last year, around 1.3 million tulips bloomed amid the lockdown imposed to check the COVID-19 spread. The garden was opened in 2007 with the aim to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir valley.
As Ahmad enters the garden the work mode begins for him. “We go for digging the soil, removing grass around the flower, fertilization, and many other things. This has become our daily routine now,” he said.
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