Kathmandu is a heavily populated city. Thamel - Kathmandu's tourist district too has crowded streets with shops & street vendors, heavy vehicular traffic and frequent traffic jams. All that can be quite overwhelming for a tourist making him or her wonder if Kathmandu has a peaceful place like a public park or something to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Thamel. Fortunately there is and that too nearly in Thamel itself. It is as if someone had foreseen the future of Thamel almost a century ago and had created a tranquil oasis for the weary souls. This wonderful place is called "Garden of Dreams". It is located opposite SAARC Building, on Kesharmahal (Tridevi) Marg at the border of Thamel, but with an entrance so nondescript that it is most likely to be missed unless one is really looking for it. This beautiful garden, earlier called "Kaiser Mahal" was created in the year 1920 by late Field Marshal Kaiser Shumsher Rana (1892 - 1964). The garden, inspired by Edwardian style, was designed and constructed under the supervision of two architects - Kishor Narsingh and Kumar Narsingh Rana who are also credited with the design and construction of Singha Durbar which is the official seat of the Government of Nepal and also known as the largest palace in Asia. Keep reading...
|Entrance to Garden of Dreams Thamel Kathmandu|
Kaiser Mahal was a private garden at that time. It had a collection of pavilions, fountains, verandas, birdhouses, urns, and decorative garden furniture. There were a total of six pavilions one for each of the six seasons of Nepal. Because of that, the garden was earlier renowned as the Garden of Six Seasons.
|Basanta Pavilion Garden of Dreams Thamel Kathmandu|
After the demise of Kaiser Shumsher Rana in 1964, the garden was handed over to the Government of Nepal. Following a few decades of neglect, the garden was restored as part of a project financed by the Austrian Government, but only in about half of the area of the original garden.
|Kaiser Mahal or Garden of Dreams Thamel Kathmandu|
Currently, the garden has three pavilions, an open air theatre, ponds, walkways, and restaurants, covering a total area of 7042 square meters. It is open everyday from 9.00am to 10.00pm, with last entry allowed up to 9.00pm. There is an entry fee of NPR 200 for foreigners. Free wifi is available in the garden.
|Garden of Dreams in Thamel Kathmandu|
Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Abundance
|Nike / Laxmi Statue in Garden of Dreams Thamel Kathmandu|
This originally was a statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory but was later re-dedicated to Hindu goddess Laxmi after Kaiser Shumsher Rana won one hundred thousand rupees from his father in a game, thus providing him the financial means to complete this garden in the early 1920's. The statue carries the physical power of Nike but the lotus in one hand and the spilling coins from the other are symbols of goddess Laxmi's purity and divine kindness. This statue was restored in 2005.
|Walkway inside Garden of Dreams Thamel Kathmandu|
There is a restaurant inside that serves breakfast, lunch, evening tea, and dinner at four different locations in the garden including a bar at Barkha Pavilion (Rainy season), and a beautiful tea salon at Basanta Pavilion (spring season). The third pavilion in the garden is called Grishma Pavilion (Summer season).
|Visitors inside Garden of Dreams Thamel Kathmandu|
Inside, one can see locals as well as tourists sitting or leisurely walking around as if no one wants to leave this paradise. The evening lighting too is a stunning sight and an incentive to stay in the garden until after dark.
|Night Lighting in Garden of Dreams Thamel Kathmandu|
There are more reasons to see this beautiful place than I have mentioned here. Just don't leave Kathmandu without visiting Kaiser Mahal.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|