Spring has officially arrived in Srinagar, bringing with it flowers and sunny skies for people who are flocking to the city’s Tulip Garden and Almond Clove.The blossoms come as a relief after a long winter and several conflicts.Jammu and Kashmir’s Floriculture Minister, Javed Mustafa Mir, and Tourism Minister, Tasaduq Hussain Mufti, formally opened the Tulip Garden on Sunday. Soon after, scores of visitors were taking selfies amidst the 12.25 lakh tulip bulbs, spread over 200 kanals of land (about 4,500 sq. ft each).To help them post the images on social media right from the spot, the government is providing free Wi-Fi services in the garden, said an official.Almond bloomsThousands of Valley residents have come to Srinagar’s Badam Waer (Almond Clove) over the past one week. The J&K Bank, which maintains the garden, said there were a record 5,600 visitors on Sunday, against less than 50 in February. “At least 16,000 people bought tickets in five days, and 40% were children,” said a senior J&K bank official.The 14th-century Almond Clove, spread over 300 kanals, is in Srinagar’s old city, full of stimulating colours: white, violet, purple and yellow. The natural hues signal the end of the harsh winter, which has happened earlier than usual this year.For the families that are visiting, there is no better time to spread some sheets on the ground and soak in the afternoon sun.“The winter kept us indoors for four months. This year, violence everyday and the deaths of civilians and local militants only added to the gloom. The Clove and the people’s presence reflects a deep yearning to live normally, despite the turbulent times,” said Salih Peerzada, a lawyer.Change of moodThe spreading light and the rush of colour is seen by mental health specialists as helpful for a change of mood. “Bright spring light and change of colours bring people out. They stimulate release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that contributes to well-being and positive mood,” said Dr. Arshad Hussain, professor at Government Psychiatric Diseases Hospital.