Every year, over 60 million tulip bulbs travel from Holland to hunker down in the cold earth of Siraj Bagh in Srinagar. Come spring, as the first rays of the April sun stretch out over the Zabarwan Range and thaw the shimmering surface of the Dal Lake, the first blooms burst through the soil and unfurl into a carpet of blossoms nearly 5 hectares across. It’s the largest tulip garden in all of Asia.
When to go
The garden, also known as the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, opens its gates on the 29th of March. The dates of the actual festival vary depending on the estimated time of blooming, which usually falls between 5th and 10th of April and lasts for a little under three weeks. Lose yourself in the flowerbeds that have lit up generations of Hindi film backgrounds, swaying in the cool Kashmiri breeze as couples pranced wantonly in the sun. Neat rows of yellows, reds, pinks and variegated varieties stretch out as far as the eye can see.
Stay for the show
Since all these efforts are made mostly to promote Kashmir’s tourism, the Festival is completed by a huge song and dance bonanza showcasing Kashmiri folk culture and more importantly–Kashimiri food. Pick up some elegantly embroidered jackets and delicately painted lac boxes to take home, or deck yourself out in full Kashmiri kit for a photo op.
Catch a flight straight into Srinagar or a train to Jammu. All the major North Indian cities are well connected to Srinagar by road.