From Kong Bush and the magic of Tulip
Come October, Kariwa Street along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway turns into a picturesque canvas, giving a picturesque appearance with purple crocuses in full bloom.
Attracted by this spectacle, travelers often stop near Lethpora, Jalander, Chandara and adjoining areas to enjoy the captivating views.
Chandni is a young visitor from Mumbai, Maharashtra. She visited Pampore, the saffron capital of Kashmir, for the first time and was seen very excited about her visit to the saffron fields. “I saw real crocuses for the first time in my life,” she said, adding that it was a wonderful experience that she will carry with her for a long period of time. She suggested others to visit this place to smell the fragrance and feel joy by feeling the purple blossoms with their bare hands.
Rajni, another tourist from Mumbai describes the blossom as the best gift from nature, which visitors should enjoy. The visitor said she had landed in Kashmir specifically to see the purple wonder up close.
Irshad Ahmed, a saffron farmer from the area, said the saffron fields, which are in full bloom these days, attract a large number of tourists from various parts of the country, including Mumbai, Chennai, Kerala and New Delhi. He said that excited visitors wander through the saffron beds and capture beautiful moments by clicking selfies, photographs and video recordings.
He said: “Some people try their hand at picking fresh flowers and collecting them in wicker baskets to offer to farmers.”
Irshad believes that the Kariwa region has huge potential for agri-tourism. “The authorities can turn this area into an attractive tourist spot by developing model saffron gardens along the national highway,” he said, adding that these model saffron gardens will attract more tourists and will also boost the economy of local farmers by increasing their production.
Saffron, Saffron, locally called Kung Bush, is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches a height of 30 cm.
A typical plant consists of three parts: the corm, the stem, and the flower. Each saffron flower has three prominent parts, which include tepals, stigma, and stamens.
It is the red colored stigma and is the most valuable part sold as dry saffron. The corms of this heritage crop are planted during August and September, and the fresh flowers are harvested during October and November. After picking the flowers, the stigmas are separated and then sold in the market after being properly dried in the sun.
The flowering and harvest of this expensive spice attracts a large number of tourists to Pampur Kariwa, which is famous for growing one of the best types of saffron in the world, reviving hope and optimism among farmers.
Years ago, farmers used to celebrate the harvest of this heritage crop as an agricultural festival that would bring wealth and happiness to the hardworking farmers.
Pampur kariwa does not limit its appeal in the fall. In spring, a different symphony unfolds as wild tulips in shades of pink and white dance gracefully against a backdrop of mustard yellow. Wild lavender (Tulipa stellata) is a natural perennial herb that grows from bulbs.
Tulipa stellata is an herb related to crocus, creating a harmonious blend of colors in the landscape. This type of Asian tulip belongs to the Liliaceae family, and is native to India, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the western Himalayas.
Tulipa stellata’s star-shaped pink and white flowers stand up to 30cm high and stand out against a yellow background, creating an enchanting aura that captivates travelers and locals alike.