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Why Anyone Should Not Miss Visiting Kashmir In Spring Season?

Floating flower markets

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Why Anyone Should Not Miss Visiting Kashmir In Spring Season?
Why Anyone Should Not Miss Visiting Kashmir In Spring Season? Pixabay

Visiting Kashmir during spring-summer is like a beautiful dream come true. This is the time when all the flowers are in full bloom, making the valley look like a paradise. Tulip plants rule the roster while cherry, peach and pear trees brim with flowers, after shedding all leaves. Flowers of wild perennial trees colour the gardens with their beautiful booms. We are fortunate (after braving those wide eyed exclamations coming from some well wishers) to descend in the picturesque valley during this year’s bloom time.

Tulip Garden, Srinagar

The taxi driver who picked us from Srinagar airport gave good news that Tulip garden had just opened for tourists the day before, a week early this year. After checking in and finishing lunch at the traditional houseboat on Nigeen Lake, we headed straight to the tulip Garden.

As we entered through the gates, it was an awesome sight to witness rows and rows of tulip plants running through the garden. Were they real? They looked like sights from picture postcards. Many of the 50 varieties of attractive tubular flowers with different colours and hues had started blooming, as though to soothe the eyes before the harsh sunrays of summer. Less snow during winter had hastened temperature rise to herald early summer. Never mind global warming and change in weather, nature’s cycle was intact to offer vivid sights to locals and tourists alike. These colourful sights have made Asia’s biggest Tulip garden, a major tourist draw of Kashmir. We learnt that the floral attraction had 1.5 million visitors in April 2017, ahead of the regular tourist season that
begins in May.

Charming flower garden in Kashmir
Charming flower garden in Kashmir. Pixabay

Tulips originated in Central Asia.

The taxi driver who picked us from Srinagar airport gave good news that Tulip garden had just opened for tourists the day before, a week early this year. After checking in and finishing lunch at the traditional houseboat on Nigeen Lake, we headed straight to the tulip Garden.

As we entered through the gates, it was an awesome sight to witness rows and rows of tulip plants running through the garden. Were they real? They looked like sights from picture postcards. Many of the 50 varieties of attractive tubular flowers with different colours and hues had started blooming, as though to soothe the eyes before the harsh sunrays of summer. Less snow during winter had hastened temperature rise to herald early summer. Never mind global warming and change in weather, nature’s cycle was intact to offer vivid sights to locals and tourists alike. These colourful sights have made Asia’s biggest Tulip garden, a major tourist draw of Kashmir. We learnt that the floral attraction had 1.5 million visitors in April 2017, ahead of the regular tourist season that
begins in May.

Tulips originated in Central Asia.

Don’t we all identify tulips with Netherlands? But surprisingly, tulips are originally wildflowers growing in Central Asia. They were first cultivated by Turks as early as 1000 AD. Tulips were imported into Holland in the 16th century. Holland sure dominates in the production of tulips with 86% share of the world market. Rich and bright coloured, tulips represent largest ornamental perennial crop of the world. Conducive climates were utilised to start the Tulip Garden in Kashmir a decade ago and it was adjudged as the second best Tulip destination of the world in 2015.

Tulips obviously dominate the 18 hectare or 360 kanals garden dedicated to floriculture with 1.25 million blooms aesthetically spread on seven hectares. These are complemented with Hyacinths, Narcissus, Daffodils, Muscara and Iris. Fruit trees like Himalayan cherry, peach and plum trees in the garden also bloom during the same time to add beauty. Alternate green patches next to long rows of tulip beds were good for us to pause, click and be mesmerised with the sights.

Tending to tulips involves meticulous planning

The gardens maintained by Department of Floriculture, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, are tended by 100 gardeners through the year for that one month to 40 days of fascinating bloom. It involves hard work and meticulous planning to cultivate these bulbous plants. Once the blooms whither by end of the May, bulbs are carefully dug, packed, marked and stored in green houses at 15 degree temperature till November.

Bulbs are replanted again in winter, aesthetically with rows of contrasting colours, which bloom again by March end or early April. Tulip Garden is opened for visitors when there are at least 25% blooms.

More flower varieties

A gardener informed us that they keep adding aesthetic themes every season. Hyacinth theme garden is a new attraction here this year, along with a water channel with jet fountains that adds to beauty and cool. 20 more staff maintains fountains, water bodies and public utilities in the garden. Plans are on to create an ornamental cherry blossoms patch along tulips for future seasons.

It’s not just flowers of tulip garden that make Srinagar a paradise, but there are other beautiful springtime blooms across the valley.

The city close to Himalayan Mountains has abundance of gardens, lakes and bridges. Shalimar, Nishat, Mughal and Ceshmashahi are some of the royal gardens developed during the raj era and are beautifully maintained. A tree bearing big pink and white flowers in Shalimar garden had created a carpet of petals underneath. Countless chinar or maple trees, pines, deodars and Kashmiri willows, some of which are hundreds of years old, add green beauty to the city all along.

 It's spring in Kashmir Blooming almond trees on the way to Yusmarg from Srinagar
It’s spring in Kashmir Blooming almond trees on the way to Yusmarg from Srinagar. flickr

Flowers of fruits

On return to our houseboat on the quiet Nigeen Lake, it was a treat to sip hot kahwa (Kashmiri green tea) in the fruit orchard next to it. Houseboats are decoratively built with traditional intricacies and provide stationary accommodations on the lake. Beautiful pink peach blooms on trees lined the path leading to the garden. Thick white blooms in the corner were those of pears. Some of those will wither out and the strong ones would grow on to be juicy fruits.

A few pink, red and white tulips were in the centre of the garden, under the intriguing umbrella tree. The yellow flower lined stems of a wild plant looked very attractive against the green background. We saw them at many other places, some beautifully lining the fences and the roads leading up the hills of the valley.

Floating flower markets

A flower boat sailed towards us while we stood in the houseboat verandah, watching sunrise at the peaks beyond the other banks of the lake. The flower vendor docked his boat next to ours and asked if we would like to buy some flowers, seeds or bulbs. We later saw many such floating flower markets at the dal lake during a shikara ride.

We drove along the tulip garden for a lunch organised by the event organisers in the botanical garden next to it. The sights of the flower beds from afar showed more blooms than the day before.

We were tempted to go back to the garden again the next day to see enhanced blooms. The tulip festival was organised for 15 days during the peak bloom season, offers fun and frolic activities alongside food carts.

Also read: Jammu and Kashmir cabinet gets five fresh additions

Fact file:

  • Spring starts in early April or by end March, depending on climatic conditions Spring starts in early April or by end March, depending on climatic conditions.
  • Tulip garden is situated within the city of Srinagar, close to Dal Lake and remains open from 9 am to 7 pm during bloom time.
  • Srinagar airport is connected to many cities in India through direct and indirect flights.

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Kashmir Volunteers Feed Stray Dogs During Lockdown

The main source of food for the stray dogs are the eateries and hotels which are all shut due to lockdown

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Kashmir Volunteers have taken the responsibility of feeding stray dogs in the city. Pixabay

For the last two weeks a team of volunteers from Chatabal in downtown Srinagar have taken upon itself the responsibility of feeding stray dogs in the city.

The team, comprising students and businessmen, which has been running a medical camp in the downtown, started feeding the strays after seeing their deplorable condition. The strays’ main source of food the eateries and hotels had all shut due to lockdown.

ecuador
There are over 50,000 stray dogs in the city. Pixabay

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There are over 50,000 stray dogs in the city.

While people in Kashmir have been reaching out to the poor and the needy during the lockdown that coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, these volunteers are making a difference in their own right to strays. (IANS)

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Contemporary Bollywood Films Predicated in KASHMIR: The Subsisting Heaven on Earth

We should Indeed thank Bollywood who through its Beautiful films define the resplendence of Kashmir heaven! 

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Kashmir
For so many years, Kashmir has been a hub of shooting Bollywood Movies.

By Kashish Rai

 Kashmir which is known as the “Living Paradise on Earth”, Kashmir which has its own majestic beauty~ always purveys the panoramic and all embracing view of the beautiful nature. Nature has so lavishly endowed Kashmir with unequivocal benevolence which hardly finds a parallel in any land in this world.

For so many years, Kashmir has been a hub of shooting Bollywood Movies. Be it the couple romancing and singing in a boat amidst Dal Lake or in the resplendent views of  Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Char Chinar or Srinagar~ Kashmir has given the perfect mood to match the Aesthetics.

The times eventually changed when militancy became illustrious and the era from 2000s saw an inundation of films which were politically sensitive where Kashmir was made the intrinsic part of the scripts along with its backdrop.

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Today, I have brought a few bollywood films which have their plait confined to Kashmir and were shot amidst its scenic beauty. Hope you will enjoy!

  1. HAIDER (2014)

  • DIRECTOR: Vishal Bhardwaj

  • STARRING: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Narendra Jha, Kay Kay Menon.

Haider
Haider is a wonderful piece of art, it tells the pain of poetic narrations and complex sentiments along with deep fervours. Pinterest

 Haider is a fervent adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, and so far, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Magnum Opus! Bhardwaj had engrossingly adapted “Hamlet” to the rise of Kashmir Conflict in the formerly peaceful South-Western part of Jammu and Kashmir in the Era of 90s. The story is about grieving son’s search for his missing and adoring father. All the actors in the film have played their roles with par excellence. According to me, Haider is a wonderful piece of art, it tells the pain of poetic narrations and complex sentiments along with deep fervours.

  1. FITOOR (2016)

  • DIRECTOR: Abhishek Kapoor

  • STARRING: Tabu, Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapoor

Fitoor
Fitoor is a very passionate film and the amazing visuals of Kashmir add different dimensions to the myriad aspects of this movie. Pinterest

Fitoor is based on a popular novel by Charles Dickens titled “The Great Expectation”. It is a soft and emotional love story. Its songs blend with the natural music of the Himalayan Mountains. The characters in the film possess a casual tenderness. It is a very passionate film and the amazing visuals of Kashmir add different dimensions to the myriad aspects of this movie. Surely watch it if you are a lover of romantic celluloids.

  1. LAILA MAJNU (2018)

  • DIRECTOR: Sajid Ali

  • STARRING: Avinash Tiwary, Tripti Dimri

Laila Majnu
Laila Majnu is a moving celluloid that is a retelling of an eternal Love Saga whose characters live in contemporary times, but the emotions are still the same. Pinterest

There are love stories that never die, and then there is Laila Majnu. It is a folklore about two passionate lovers who are never destined to meet. This film for me is a moving celluloid that is a retelling of an eternal Love Saga whose characters live in contemporary times, but the emotions are still the same. The performances by the two actors are exceptional that will make you feel the pain, longing, heartbreak and separation. The music in this film is a masterpiece, which suits the mood of every scene of the film. You will surely get allured by the bewitching scenic view of Kashmir as a whole! This film is surely a must watch.

  1. NOTEBOOK (2019)

  • DIRECTOR: Nitin Kakkar

  • STARRING: Zaheer Iqbal, Pranutan Bahl

Notebook
Notebook is a simple and mesmerizing story with brilliant cinematography. Pinterest

Notebook is one of the films which will take you along with them and you eventually feel teleported to heavenly Kashmir as backdrop. It is an unconventional love story where major issues of Jammu and Kashmir are subtly touched upon. It is so beautiful to see how simply a “Notebook” becomes the soul of the film, which also shows that children understand the language of love. It is a simple and mesmerizing story with brilliant cinematography. If you look for some old-world romance in today’s time~ then this film is surely made for you!

  1. SHIKARA (2020)

  • DIRECTOR: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

  • STARRING: Aadil Khan, Sadia

Shikara
The slide of the film begins with late 80s and it rolls down to 2018 to its culmination with lead characters ageing, along with the dismay and hopelessness over their original homeland. Pinterest

Shikara is a masterpiece which reflects the agony faced by Kashmiri Pandits because of the political turmoil in Kashmir in the 80s. It is based on real life incidents which will make you feel a lot through its words than the action. Premirely in every way, Shikara displays romance between two characters Shiv (Aadil Khan) and Shanti (Sadia) who, along with Immense grief of lost home share bliss of togetherness and hope. The slide of the film begins with late 80s and it rolls down to 2018 to its culmination with lead characters ageing, along with the dismay and hopelessness over their original homeland. Chopra has skillfully tied all of it with his passionate skills of a lucrative filmmaker. This film is a mastercraft! It is beautifully shot in Kashmir Paradise! You can surely feel the love and the pain as it comes. Altogether, This film is an alluring piece and again a must watch!

ALSO READ: Transparency Documentary Series Review: Unique and Talks About the Working of AAP

The magnificent Beauty of Kashmir and the tales associated with it is so amazing that makes everyone fall in love with it!

 We should Indeed thank Bollywood who through its Beautiful films define the resplendence of Kashmir heaven! 

 

 

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Top Makeup Trends for This Spring Season

Spring ready with makeup inspiration from bollywood celebs

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Makeup trends
Here's a peek into the top makeup trends to usher in the spring season. IANS

Get up to date with the latest makeup and fashion trends, cause it’s spring! While many of us stick to our go-to tricks for beauty, maybe it’s time to shirk the inhibitions and experiment.

Here’s a peek into the top makeup trends to usher in the season. Take cues from the fashionistas of Bollywood who show you that confidence can help you carry of any style.

1. Dramatic and exaggerated eyes

Dramatic eyes are here to stay; it doesn’t matter how you exaggerate the eyes, unique shapes and blended blocks are in vogue.

Makeup trends
Dramatic eyes can enhance your makeup look. IANS

2. Pops of Colour

If there’s one trend that you should try its a pop of colour. Bold shades, bright hues and jewel tones are all in fashion. Whether on the lips or the eyes, make an impact with a dose of colour.

3. Glowing and soft complexion

Illuminated skin can never go out of fashion. If you don’t have naturally dewy skin, there are plenty of products to get you there. Complexion boosters are the in product to invest in.

Makeup trends
Sheer and natural products will see you through the day. IANS

4. Sheer Makeup

Sheer and natural products will see you through the day. Opaque and ultra-matte makeup formulas are in demand and it’s all about light and airy options. The lighter the better, it keeps the look innocent and fresh.

Also Read- PhonePe Restored to Normalcy After Service Outage

5. Bronzed Goddess

The sun-kissed look is perfect for summer evenings and a bronzed goddess will turn heads at any event. Katrina Kaif has launched her own line of makeup which is worth a try. (IANS)