After a dry winter spell with snow only in the upper reaches of the valley, the incessant rains did bring with them a change in the air. A cold breeze and dullness in the skies is now replaced with the bright beaming sun. The colors of Sonth (spring) are the truest in the month of March and April when the sky alternates between the blue and gray. One day it is raining and the next you know, you are bathing in the subtle heat of the sun. Brief showers and sunny days, that is how March remains!
Nevertheless Sonth in Kashmir is a beauty that no eye can overlook. The first signs of spring are the daffodils and narcissus (yemberzal) that break the winter earth to rise in a lovely glory. Little yellow bulbs in eye soothing green come up first on the silent graves. The fragrance of narcissus fills the air with a delightful breeze.
After that it is color sprouting from every bud in every tree! The first one is the badum phulay (almond blossoms) that grace the orchards in subtle pink and white. The Badamwaer (almond orchard) in Srinagar is a major attraction of spring in Kashmir that presents a mesmerizing sight. Within a week’s time it is color blossoms all around. White pear blossoms, pink cherry blossoms followed by peaches, plums and apricots. The earth springs to a new life in a wonderful color spree. The bronze creepers turn to a lively green with a fruity fragrance all around. This is the onset of the beautiful spring in Kashmir that comes with a promise of a happy summer.
The beauty of spring is further enhanced when Asia’s largest Tulip Garden is thrown open to all. It is a color riot with tulips in every color popping out. Tourists from all around come to Kashmir just to see acres of earth covered in the gule lala.
Mustard fields lavishly boast their blooming yellow and green. Ah! Their mere sight provides a breathtaking view set against the majestic mountains at their backdrop.
When it is spring, who can forget the beautiful terraced lawns of the Mughal garden in Kashmir? Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, Chashma Shahi and Harwan for that lay carpeted in the colorful flowered charm.
Kashmir Spring festivals include:
Navroz is celebrated on 21st March as the first day of spring in Kashmir.
Tulip Festival springs forth from March to Mid week of April. 20-25 days when tulips are in full bloom.
Cherry Festival in the second week of May is celebrated with varieties of cherries on sale.
Ending on the most popular folk songs, an age old folk melody that celebrates the arrival of spring at the time when flowers are in full bloom.