With a new high-tech cold storage facility for safekeeping of delicate tulip bulbs, Srinagar’s world-famous Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden is ready for next season’s bloom.
Situated on the foothills of the Zabarwan Range with an overview of Dal Lake, the garden is Asia’s largest tulip garden and was opened in 2007 with the aim to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir Valley.
“We get several tourists every year and work very hard to take care of the flowers so that they are ready to bloom on the onset of the spring season,” said Nissar Ahmad, an employee at the garden adding that the new two-floor cold storage would increase the efficiency of producing and caring for the flowers.
A festival is organised every March to exhibit the tulips to tourists from across the world during the spring season.
According to Mohamad Sultan Dar, another worker at the garden, previous cold storage lacked space and modern facilities.
“We are very excited to work with the new cold storage provided by the Central government. It will help us take better care of the flowers and we now have ample space to store the bulbs for the next season. On the ground floor, we separate the seeds and set aside the bigger bulbs. They are then taken to the first floor and stored in the new high-tech cold chamber so that they are ready and healthy for next season,” he told.

According to Sheikh Altaf, the newly installed cold store will play a vital role in controlling the temperature according to the requirements of the flower, which is very important to protect bulbs from infection, maintain the moisture level and preserve the overall quality of bulbs.
The other facilities, as per Altaf, include an air conditioning system, high-speed fans, serial wise racks, and a modern temperature control room monitored by the electrical wing of the floriculture department.
“It was high time we got some new equipment to preserve the bulbs. Now that Jammu and Kashmir have the Union Territory status, we have received ample funds for the maintenance of the garden. Our previous cold store was ancient and had many faulty parts, so it is exhilarating to have this equipment. We have stored over four lakh bulbs here so far, and are experimenting on a small sample with the temperature control system to see what will best suit the delicate flowers,” Altaf said.
Other flowers like hyacinths, daffodils, and ranunculus are also grown here.
August 5, 2020, marked the one-year anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.