Over 200 varieties of brightly-coloured flowers, including a yellow rose variant named after late former President Pranab Mukherjee, will be in full bloom to enchant visitors as the iconic Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan are set to open for public from Saturday with strict Covid norms in place.
The Gardens, open from February 13 to March 21 (save on Mondays, when it will be closed for maintenance), will, this year, have 70 varieties of seasonal flowers, 20 varieties of dahlias, and 138 varieties of roses, including “President Pranab” which was released in 2017.
However, one notable absence will be that of the graceful and vibrant-hued tulips, which are imported from the Netherlands, due to the Covid restrictions.
P.N. Joshi, in-charge of the Horticulture Department, said: “We have worked hard to maintain the garden in Covid times and the attraction will be roses and Japanese flower double stock.”
There is a medicinal herb garden which has 40 varieties of plants, including ‘giloy’ which is said to be beneficial for Covid.
The President’s Secretariat opened the Gardens for the media on Thursday, while President Ram Nath Kovind will view it on Friday before it is opened for public from Saturday.
On the entry process this year, Deputy Press Secretary Keerti Tiwari said: “This time, only online bookings will be accepted and only 700 people will be allowed per day in seven time slots of 100 people each.”
Those who want to visit the Gardens will have to book online and reach the venue prior to the allotted time slots which will be seven per day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m..
While last year, at least 4 lakh people visited the Gardens with around 60,000 visitors on weekends, this year the number of visitors will be far lower, an official said.
The visitors will be allowed entry from Gate No. 35 from the North Avenue side and will have to return within an hour. Only five persons can be together in the Gardens, where proper arrangements of sanitisers and drinking water have been made, maintaining all the social distancing protocols.