Nepal silently booms as a prime attraction for travelers in the region. A south Asian landlocked country tucked at the base of the Himalayas, Nepal lies between two Asian giants, China and India. The nation, geographically and culturally diverse is well known for the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, and Lumbini, birth place of Buddha.
The nation also offers a bevy of religious, spiritual and cultural experiences. Nepal tops many travelers lists of must visit place on earth. Popular travel guides have ranked Nepal very highly on their lists of must visit travel destinations around the world.
Traveler’s Choice of lonely planet rated Nepal sixteenth top travel destination of the world and in the list of adventurous destinations of the site Nepal was in the third position. Similarly, USA Today ranks Everest top seven in the list of Top Tourist Destinations in Asia whereas CNN Unseen Asia ranks Garden of Dreams of Thamel fifth in its list of Most attractive overlooked sites in Asia.
Similarly, on the trekking side lonely planet and Exodus UK rank Everest Base Camp Trek 4th and 3rd respectively in their lists of most wonderful treks in the world. One of the most popular trekking trials in the world Annapurna Circuit is ranked first and third respectively by Travel Channel and BootsnAll in their lists of Best Treks in the World.
An amazing Luxury tour, promising the best of Nepalese culture & adventure
Insightful tours to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu, thrilling helicopter rides to Annapurna Base Camp, exotic Pokhara and to the wilderness of Chitwan National Park; this trip promises a wonderful blend of culture and high adventure that Nepal has to offer.
Your trip begins with a sightseeing tour to Kathmandu’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites- Pashupatinath, Swoyambhunath, Boudhanath and the medieval palace of the Malla dynasty at Kathmandu Durbar Square.Your address at Kathmandu will be the serene and tranquil Gokarna Forest Resort, once the hunting grounds of Nepalese royalty.Your next destination is Pokhara, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Nepal. From Pokhara you take an exciting helicopter ride to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m), all the while enjoying a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks.
More thrill and adventure await you as you are flown to Chitwan National Park, one of Asia’s most famous national parks. Chitwan National Park is home to the endangered one-horned rhino and Royal bengal tiger.
Jungle activities include elephant safari and jeep safari , canoeing and a walk in the wilderness accompanied by a trained guide. By the end of your trip, you will have experienced the best that Nepal has to offer!
Trip Details – Kathmandu, Pokhara & Chitwan Luxury Tour
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]
The Garden of Dreams is situated within the premises of Kaiser Mahal (a palace, now the Ministry of Education) which was built in 1895 by the then Prime Minister Bir SJB Rana. The palace was later inherited by his son Chandra SJB Rana who later created the garden and presented to his son Kaiser SJB Rana as his wedding gift. Being a man of great essence, Kaiser Shumsher extensive landscape program for the garden included eastern lawn, wooded and cultivated areas, and a duck pond to name a few. It is learnt that he was an impassioned traveler especially to European Countries and the Garden of Dreams was an inspiration he received from the gardens in Europe.
Within the Garden wall Kaiser Shumsher created an exquisite ensemble of pavilions, fountains, decorative garden furniture, and European – inspired features such as verandas, pergolas, balustrades, urns, and birdhouses. He erected six impressive freestanding pavilions, each dedicated to one of the six seasons of Nepal namely- Basanta (spring), Grishma (summer), Barkha (monsoon), Sharad (early autumn), Hemanta (late autumn) and Shishir (winter).
However, after the death of Kaiser shumsher in 1965, his family bequeathed some portion of the Kaiser Mahal including his dream garden and Kaiser library to the government after which the garden remained in dilapidated from for several decades. Once the dream garden of Kaiser now covered with overgrown weeds. So, its structural disfigurement caught the sight of some of the national and international environmentalists, and heritage conservations during the visit Nepal Year 1998, when Nepal celebrated the year as the tourism year.
Originally, the garden was spread within the domain of 19 ropanies, which has now cringed to 10 ropanies only. Likewise, the three of the pavilions in the western part of the garden has been encroached by urban expansion, with the remains of some structural fragments but the central and eastern sections of the garden has remained intact.
These sections include the focal fountain pool, a myriad of original details, and fragments of the original planting scheme.
To create awareness about the heritage preservation within the metropolis, the plan to preserve the dream garden continued until 2001, when a million –dollar Garden of Dreams Project was born and was funded by Austrian Government in cooperation with the Ministry of Education & Sports and executed by Eco Himal.
After almost 6 years of restoration procedure, the garden is all set to cater to the public; however, there are some impending services and facilities, which will be continued until September 2007. “Even if the garden has lost half of its original size to the development of Thamel, three of its neo-classical pavilions as well as its central lotus pond and most of the other architectural and sculptural elements have survived their complete restoration now securing the legacy of Kaiser Shumsher’s creation for future generation.”
To maintain the standard, the renovated garden aims to become self- sustaining though entrance fees, café, bar along with other cultural programs, corporate events, private functions, etc. To uphold the architectural beauty of the garden, it has been decided that the garden will be a non-commercial garden i.e. free from advertisements, posters and banners.
NTB, as a member of the Garden considers that the garden will be an icon for cultivating interest in the people towards greenery and will help promote tourism activities in the valley.
A number of elements have been added by utilizing latent resources of its existing layout like an amphitheater has been created for open-air cultural programs and two of the historical pavilions have been converted to serve as a garden café and lounge bar. The ‘Ratounda’, another pavilion garden’s lost portion has been reconstructed as a new focal point and a range of new water bodies, fountains, pergolas, lush green garden, and varieties of flora complements on the elegance of the garden.
The Garden of Dreams- an oasis of peace and tranquility amid the hustling city of Kathmandu is open for public. The entrance fee for Nepalese and tourist is NPR 80 and NPR160 respectively and there is also a provision of different types of memberships and group visitors.
This article has been extracted from magazine, “Nepal Traveller, July-August 2007.”