Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) has carved out a ‘flower valley’ in its high-altitude meadow land by planting thousands of seedlings to create a riot of colours in its green landscape.
Done under a project in the ever-enchanting Patnitop tourism circuit, the move is aimed at spurring tourism, biodiversity and socio-economic development at the famous health resort.
“We are carving out a flower valley in meadowland of Patnitop to add another attraction to tourism destination,” a senior officer said.
The organisation teamed up with experts from different domains and Panchayati Raj Institutions to herald the project flower valley in our jurisdiction, chief executive officer (CEO) Thakur Sher Singh said.
“Flowers are big business. Millions of them are sold, processed into oils, dyes, edibles, beverages, medicines, cosmetics, incense sticks, powders, and various other value-added products. When they bloom, their ephemeral beauty attracts admirers,” he said.
“Throughout their natural life cycle, and even beyond, they are source of beauty and business,” he said.
In the initial phase of the project, more than 90,000 seedlings of flowering plants, mostly lavender, have been planted over an area of 12.50 acres, he added.
Seventy thousand lavenders procured from the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir have been planted at multiple locations of the PDA jurisdiction in September and October.
Other flowering plants, including varieties of cosmos and marigolds, nearly 20,000 in number, have been planted as per their appropriate seasons in the years 2021 and 2022, he said.
Nathtop has become a destination for tourists to stop and click pictures as some of these seedlings planted around the ancient Mani Mahesh temple burst into flowers.
“The visitors are stopping by to capture their stunning sight and scent. The temple has supported the initiative by giving its land”, he said.
“However, full bloom is expected to most likely occur in the months of March-April, 2023. Around the same time of the year, Sanasar Lake witnesses the annual Tulip Festival, celebrating the brief appearance of colourful Tulip bulbs,” officials said.
Given the highly conducive climate and soil of this region, various kinds of flowers, especially perennial flowers, will be planted at different locations under the project flower valley in the coming times.
“A little patience and woods, meadows and mountain slopes will be dotted with blossoms and blooms. It will be a floral, rather a botanical spectacle, adding to the avenues of attraction for the tourists in the Patnitop Tourism Circuit. It will expand the itineraries, as well as the stay of the tourists,” the CEO said.
“Furthermore, it will provide plenty of opportunities for new, young and innovative entrepreneurs to start flower-based initiatives and provide gainful employment to the locals,” he said.
“From flower farming to flower selling to flower processing, locals can venture into the huge flower industry however they like,” he added.
Explaining the calculations, the officer said 70,000 flowering plants produce approximately 156 litres of oil per year, which is sold at a rate of Rs 1,500 per litre, generating an annual revenue of Rs 23,40,000.
In addition, these plants produce approximately 4,50,000 seedlings in a year which when sold at a rate of Rs 5 per seedling, will bring a revenue of Rs 22,50,000.
The annual revenue of Rs 45,90,000 will be generated from oil extraction and selling seeds. The project will come to fruition in at least three years.
In twelve years, the number will rise to Rs 5,50,80,000
“Patnitop Tourism Circuit has always been a tourist’s favourite, but in real sense, it is now that is being explored, developed and promoted, and the socio-economic benefits of tourism are starting to reach the local rural population,” Parkash Chand, BDC Chairman Chenani said.