Neo-classical beauty at the heart of Kathmandu

To most Kathmanduites, who rue the lack of well-maintained parks for a hang out with family and friends, Garden of Dreams could be a welcome respite if they happen to discover it.

Built in 1920 during the Rana regime by Kaiser Shumsher Rana, the garden was opened for public in 2007. The garden got international recognition recently after the May 14 issue of Time Magazine of the US listed it among 24 of the world´s best-kept secrets.

Describing the reason why he finds the garden among the most secret places, Journalist Karen Leigh of the magazine wrote in the publication “If you find yourself in the frenetic Themel (Thamel) tourist district of Kathmandu and overcome with a need for tranquility, leave the Nepalese Capital´s snarling traffic and persistent hawkers behind you and make for this lush green ward across the street from the former Royal Palace.”

Being managed under the semi-government development committee led by the Secretary of the Ministry of Education (MoE), the youth couples and the foreigners are the main visitors of the garden.

Mesmerized in a neo-classical structure influenced from Edwardian style, the garden of Edward VII in England, the love birds are careless of a third person while the maintainer deny any interaction with a third person whereas the gardeners deployed for the maintenance are also indifferent to any activities happening around.

“People come here stealing sometime from their busy life, we are not supposed to violate their privacy,” says Renu karki, 40 who has been working as a gardener here from the very beginning of the restoration work in 2000.

The workers were not trained to look after the place, but their involved from the very beginning has developed their expertise to decorate the flowers and shape the plants and grass, says Rita Magar, the gardener.

Around 200 visitors draw closer to the garden on daily basis whereas the number rises when the schools take the students to a short tour, according to Sanu Karmacharya, office assistant Management Office who is the second most accountale person for the management and administrative work in the office.

The unique pavilions named after the six seasons of Nepal had almostcollapsed when the government planned for the restoration. However, the three of them- Basanta, Grishma and Barsha Sadan (pavilion) have been face lifted.

The garden paths were overgrown, and the rich variety of subtropical flora was disappearing beneath a jumble of weeds over the years after the Rana Regime diminished. The garden remained in unknown status for the years but finally an idea of restoring the garden took a shape when the then government began a feasibility study restoring the garden in late 1990.

The support of Austrian Development Aid and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Government of Nepal, and national treasure was restored and can once again assume its rightful place among the great landscape monuments of the world. As a result, the garden that exists today at 12 ropani area though it is only the half of the total area it covered in Kaiser Shumser´s time.

This extra-ordinary structure is distinctive of the comprehensive interests of the remarkable Rana aristocrat that was dreamt by Kaiser Shumser during his visit to the garden of Edward VII. Thus he created the design linked to the collections of books about gardening, architecture, and literature in his impressive library.

“Today, the garden has its own Rs 30 million fund,” says Board Member of the Garden of Dreams´ Development Committee Subash Niraula. For maintaining the beauty, it was necessary to implement stricter rule and the committee does not allow more than 350 people at one time, he added.

The Kaisar Café

The Keishar Café Restaurant and Bar in the garden is best at serving continental food and drinks. The café is operated by Hotel Dwarikas since its establishment in 2007, according to the Development Committee Members.

According to the Niraula said that the hotel is responsible for the promotion of the garden worldwide. The contract with the cafe was renewed later with additional condition.

The contract mentions that the cafe would be responsible for the overall promotion of the garden.
If the Rana time infrastructures were demolished in the name of change, the new generation post 1950, would have missed many good things done even during the oligarchy of the Rana rule.

source: republica, 07 Sept 202013

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