Amidst the chaos of Kathmandu, the Garden of Dreams (located just two minutes walk from Thamel Chowk), opens up into a haven of peace and tranquility. A dream project of Field Marshal Kaiser SJB Rana, the neo-classical garden was built in the 1920s. Kaiser Shamsher erected six impressive freestanding pavilions, each dedicated to one of the six seasons of Nepal. These pavilions provide the Garden’s architectural framework and complement the arrangements of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Unfortunately, of the original four acres and six pavilions (named after the six Nepali seasons), only 1.2 acres and three pavilions remain.
After Kaiser Shamsher’s demise in 1964, the garden and its pavilions suffered neglect and ruin. It was not until 1998, when Nepal celebrated the visit Nepal year, that the garden’s structural disfigurement caught the sight of some of the national and international environmentalists, and heritage conservations. The Austrian Development Aid and the Ministry of Education, HMG Nepal joined hands to restore the garden to its former glory. The restoration work was carried on by the team who restored the Patan Palace Museum. The work went on for over six-years and cost the project about 1 million USD. In October 2006 the Garden of Dreams was opened for visitors.
Built along the lines of an Edwardian garden, the design of the garden has much in common with formal European gardens: paved perimeter paths, interposed by pavilions, trellises, and various planting areas, surround a sunken flower garden with a large pond at its center. It has an exquisite ensemble of fountains, pergolas, balustrades, urns, and statues.
The Garden of Dreams now serves as a prime site for cultural events and exhibitions as well as offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. The entrance fee for Nepalese and tourist is NPR 80 and NPR160 respectively. There is also a provision for different types of memberships and group visitors.
[Photo Credits: Sabeen Raj Shrestha]
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