The Jammu and Kashmir government is all set to host a five-day long tulip festival in Srinagar.
Director Tourism, Kashmir, Dr GN Ittoo, told Greater Kashmir that the department has kicked off several activities to increase tourist footfall in Kashmir.
Around 85,000 domestic tourists visited Kashmir this year so far including about 17000 in January, 26000 in February and 42000 in March, he said. "We are expecting the numbers to rise," he said.
"We have strict directions to ensure COVID protocol during the festival; also on the directions of the Lt Governor we are planning to provide a vibrant platform to the local artists during the festival."
He said the department has ensured that all arrangements are in place for the festival to be organised to celebrate the arrival of the spring season and to promote tourism sector in Kashmir.
According to officials, the tulip festival, beginning from April 3, would be inaugurated by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
A host of activities, including cultural shows and musical evenings, will be held during the festival. Several national-level and the local artists including Mumbai-based Kashmiri singer, Vibah Saraf will perform during the festival.
The officials at the department of Tourism said that around 25 stalls would be set up to display and promote the rich tradition, culture, cuisine and craft of the Kashmir. The festival is organised by the department of floriculture in collaboration with the department of tourism.
Principal Secretary to Lieutenant Governor, Nitishwar Kumar, who has been personally taking meetings to review the preparations for the festival, said that the event would display the diverse culture of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Principal Secretary said that the festival would mark the formal opening of the tulip garden for tourists from all over the world, and called for its large-scale promotion using various online and offline means of publicity.
Meanwhile, officials told Greater Kashmir that besides holding tulip festival in Srinagar, the Jammu and Kashmir government is also mulling to revamp the floriculture with several ambitious projects including upgradation of nurseries and establishment of rose and rock gardens in Kashmir region.
"There is no source of amusement to the people here; and gardens, if developed on modern lines, can come up as a great alternative," Commissioner Secretary Floriculture, Parks and Gardens, Shiekh Fayaz told Greater Kashmir.
"We have initiated many proposals to give new lease of life to the floriculture department. Also we are working on several other festivals that are on cards," he added.
The Commissioner Secretary said that the government was also planning to set up a rock garden in district Ganderbal and a rose garden in Srinagar, which according to the officials would be adjacent to the tulip garden. "The rose garden will be one of the beautiful gardens in Srinagar that you can explore," he said.
He said that for the first-of-its-kind rock garden, the district administration Ganderbal has identified a spot. "A piece of 32-kanal government land has been identified near Kichpara village in Kangan along Srinagar-Leh highway for the purpose," he said. The garden will be envisioned to be a space where people can educate themselves, and enjoy recreational activities in the vicinity of river Sindh.