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Get the cameras out: Delhi’s Tulip Festival opens



The rich, green lawns of Lutyens Delhi will be dotted in a spectrum of vibrant colours for nearly two weeks, starting Saturday, as the New Delhi Municipal Council rolls out the second edition of its Tulip Festival.

The event, first held last year, was attented by thousands of people, armed with cameras, cellphones, and notebooks. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Residents will be welcomed with white, yellow, red, pink, orange, purple, black and yellow-red tulips planted in parks, lawns, roundabouts, and along sidewalks as part of the 12-day long festival, which will draw to a close on February 21.

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The programme commences on the lawns of Shanti Path in Chanakyapuri and will include tulip walks, and photography and painting competitions, said NDMC officials.

The event, first held last year, was attented by thousands of people, armed with cameras, cellphones, and notebooks.

NDMC chairperson, Amit Yadav, who inspected the preparations on Friday, said NDMC has planted around 200,000 tulip bulbs in seven colours this year, with around 80,000 bulbs planted in the Shanti Path area alone.

Nearly 300,000 tulip bulbs were acquired from the Netherlands, of which 100,000 were given to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

The Dutch embassy also gifted the council around 40,000 bulbs, which have been planted on roundabouts. Last year, NDMC planted around 130,000 tulip bulbs.

“Some of these are early blooming varieties and the others are late blooming ones. The early ones, like white flowers, have bloomed. The pink ones are in the initial stage and a few orange ones will follow,” added Yadav. NDMC officials said that the cultivation of tulip bulbs started in mid-December.

Yadav said that as part of the festival, NDMC will organise a walk at Shanti Path on Saturday, with an exhibition based on the the history of the area, the history of tulips and information about their varieties.

Along with this, the council will also host a series of events on food, flowers and music separately. NDMC will also organise its first concert of the “Music in the Park” series in 2024 at Nehru Park at 3pm on Saturday, in association with SPIC MACAY.

It will feature a Hindustani flute recital by Pandit Nityanand Haldipur, accompanied by Mithilesh Kumar Jha on the tabla. The performances will also include a sitar recital by Ustad Shahid Parvez on Sitar, accompanied by Akram Khan on the tabla.

The council also plans to hold a “Tulip Indo-Dutch” event on February 16 at Nehru Park, a rose festival, a jazz festival and a food festival based on flowers next month. The schedule for walks and events is available on the NDMC’s website and its social media handles.

NDMC has invited people to click pictures of the tulips, and the civic body will judge the three best pictures every day and upload them on its social media handles. Eventually, the best overall photograph will also be awarded. “The winter was harsh this year in Delhi and these festivals will help people enjoy open spaces,” Yadav added.

He added that this year’s winter has not impacted the tulip plantation. “Around 30% of the bulbs have already bloomed and the rest are expected to bloom in phases in the next 10-15 days. Last year, the flowers withered within 10-15 days. This time we ensured that the plantation was done in phases so that some bulbs bloom early while others bloom later. It was a conscious decision to increase the blooming period in which people can enjoy these flowers,” he added.

Besides Shanti Path, tulips have also been planted at major parks, NDMC headquarters, Windsor Place roundabout, Vice President’s bungalow, 11 Murti, and the AIIMS intersection, among other areas. “The plantation has been carried out in such intervals that the lighter shades like white bloom first, followed by pink, orange, red and finally the black shades,” an NDMC official said, asking not to be named.

The official cited anonymously said that NDMC has preserved approximately 50% of tulip bulbs from the previous year’s harvest which may result in a nearly 50% reduction in production costs in the future. “We are experimenting with the harvested bulbs at Lodhi Garden and CSIR facility at Palampur,” the official added.

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