With snow-covered Himalayas in the backdrop, ‘Queen of Night’, a deep maroon distinctive tulip blossomed in the garden of Mostyamanu and Pashupatinath temple in Chandak hilltop area in Pithoragarh this year. But petals of this stunning heirloom shed earlier this month without finding a visitor.
Bulbs of pure white Royal Virgin, snowy white Tulip Hakuum and cream colour Purissima tulip grown in the same premises too met the same fate, following a nation-wide lockdown imposed in view of the Covid-19 outbreak, although no positive case has so far been detected in the ‘green zone’ district.
But the growth of 25000 bulbs from various varieties of Tulip in an area of 1000-square metre area with larger survival period has given hopes to the state government that has planned to expand the Tulip garden to an area of 50-hectare.
Once developed as per lay out plan, this tulip garden of Pithoragarh—a district that is also called ‘Mini- Kashmir of Uttarakhand” for its beauty, will be bigger than existing one in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. Officials said that Forest department is likely to transfer land to Tourism department for project soon and work at ground will be started after monsoon season.
People come to know about existence of first Tulip garden of the state when Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat tweeted photographs of another tulip garden– developed by Forest Department on a comparatively shorter patch in its Munsyari Nature Education and Eco Park Center. These tweet found more than 16000 visitors within few hours.
But in another tweet “without” photographs, CM wrote that a Tulip garden is being developed in an area of 50-hectare near Mostyamanu temple. State government officials said that tulip bulbs had been planted there as trial project first time this year on February 4 and 5. Flowers appeared first on March 4.
“Flowers existed there for more than one-and-a-half month. That is a long period. Results could have been better had the bulbs planed a bit earlier. But result is overwhelming and a good indication for future,” said Ram Swaroop Verma, district horticulture officer, Pithoragarh.
When Verma inspected the garden on May 7, he found plants on flower beads without petals. “Because of lockdown, even locals could not see these tulips that were grown here first time. Tourists from outside also could not come,” he said and added that new bulbs are generating in the same plants.
Deepak Purohit, Additional Development Officer, Raj Bhawan said that that Tulip grows in cold climatic conditions. “Started a bit late but tulips in Pithoragarh gave overwhelming results. Tulips in Rajbhawan in Dehradun sustains for 25-30 days but it can sustain survive upto two months in Pithoragarh because of climatic conditions. Same climatic conditions are on Kashmir where people in large number go to see this flower.”
Apart from Pithoragarh, first time 1000 tulip bulbs were grown each in Chief Minister Residence and Secretariat, 3500 in Chamoli district and 250 in Haridwar. Tulips are being grown in Raj Bhawan since 2013.
Pithoragarh district tourism officer Amit Lohni said development of Tulip garden in Chandak area is part of ’13-districts-13 destinations” project. “Tourists could not come to see this tulip garden developed first time with a plan of expansion at large area.” According to Lohni, in an average 2.5 lakh tourists visit Pithoragrh annually to tour the religious places and enjoy the scenic beauty.
Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj said that Covid-19 outbreak has affected the tourism projects but department will showcase the tulip garden through films and scripts. Tulip Garden is being developed in the name of late Prakash Pant, former minister and three-term MLA from Pithoragarh.