Spring, also known as springtime, is one of the four seasons which succeeds winter and precedes summer. It also refers to rebirth, renewal, rejuvenation and regrowth.
The change in temperatures towards warm causes new plants to grow; “Spring forth” giving the season its name.In Kashmir valley it is a very sought-after season after the dull and monotonous winter months with its intense cold. In Kashmiri it is called “Sonth”.
The Persian new year “Navroz” which is also the beginning of spring was on 21st March and the Kashmiri Pandit new year will follows it on 2nd of April this year.
“Wande chali sheen gali bayi yee bahar” - Winter will go, the snow will melt, and the spring will return - is the line saying from Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor, Shaiyre Kashmir. It indicates new hope in a philosophical way.
Nature is in the prime of its youth during this period, and the valley is painted with glamorous colours and blossoms on trees. Almond blossom is the first one to appear and declares the onset of the spring. The Badamwari on the foothills of Hari Parbat, in Shahr e Khas is a very large area with almond trees that blossom with the arrival of spring.
It is a historical place which has been in existence even before the 14th century but was revived by the Mughal emperor Jehangir. It also has been a symbol of Kashmiri culture, unity, harmony and identity - when Hindu, Muslim and Sikh friends used to celebrate it together.
A few weeks after this the valley gets full of a variety of beautiful flowers like yemburzal (Narcissus) and sumbal (Hyacithus). The blossoms from different fruit trees like cherry, apricot, plum, peach, apple and pear are a wonderful sight and fill the air with fragrance.
Around the same time the mustard fields present a spectacular view of bright yellow colour underneath a blue sky on the outskirts of the city of Srinagar.
The barren trees of winter start getting lush green leaves, while the bare winter ground gets covered with green grass which gives it a soothing and a glistening sight with wild flowers mingled in it.
The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, which is the largest tulip garden of Asia, is in full bloom towards the beginning of April and is one of the must visited places of Srinagar.
It is situated on the foot hills of Zabarwan mountain, a multi-terraced garden known for more than 40 varieties of tulips. The garden also has various other flowers like daffodils, hyacinths, roses and several other ornamental plants.
There is a water channel running through the terraces which adds to the beauty of the place. It is a perfect place for people to spend their moments of intimacy.
The place is very picturesque for those interested in photography to get memorable clicks. There are outlets for handicrafts and cuisine on the sides of the garden for visitors to shop and enjoy.
Spring also is the time when birds are seen chirping and singing on the tree tops coming out of their winter hideouts. Early morning is the best time listening to their melody.
They can be seen rebuilding their nests. The snow on mountains starts melting and water level in the springs, streams and rivers starts rising, giving the typical murmuring musical sounds, and thus adding to the beauty of this season.
It is also time for the migratory birds, the avian visitors, to go back to their summer destinations of Siberia, China, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
These birds from the family of ducks, geese and coots after spending glorious time in the winter can be seen in flocks flying with their leader in front. It is usually the oldest bird of the flock which knows the route and the direction.
Salim Ali, an internationally famous ornithologist called Kashmir as the “heaven on earth for migratory birds”. These birds can be seen departing over the large water bodies like Dal and Wular lake.
The tourism sector in the valley has seen a boom this year. According to official figures around 4.5 lac tourists have arrived in Kashmir between November 2021 and February 2022, a figure more than double during the same period last year.
The rapid decline in COVID is one of the important reasons. In the month of March, the number is speculated to exceed 1.5 lacks. It is a booming business for hotels, houseboats and supportive industry like handicrafts.
Spring or Sonth is one of the most sought-after seasons in the valley. The splendour of the blossom is initiated by the almond trees. The historic Badamwari in the Shahr e khas is a historic place to enjoy it.
This is followed by other fruit trees blossoming sequentially, a beauty to watch. The bright yellow mustard fields and other flowers like daffodils and tulips are simply majestic.
The air is full of aroma. The rivulets and springs again spring to life with birds coming out of their winter hideouts making new nests on tree tops which have once again become green. Their chirping is a melody.
The tourists this year are coming in record numbers and have given a fillip to hotel, houseboat and supportive industries like handicrafts. This was badly needed by our people.
Prof Upendra Kaul Founder Director, Gauri Kaul foundation. Recipient of Dr B C Roy Award and Padma Shri.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.