Garden of Dreams
The people of Thamel have been waiting patiently for six long years for the restored Garden of Dreams to be unveiled. It is not only a part of the history of the city, but is a significant heritage site in Nepal. After the huge success of the Patan Museum restoration, the same architect was commissioned to oversee the intricate developments of the Garden of Dreams. The big day arrived on 8 October 2010, and now thousands of visitors will be able to enjoy the magnificence and beauty that was created centuries ago and has been restored for present and future generations to appreciate.
Prime Minister Bir SJB Rana commissioned the construction of the Kaiser Mahal in the year 1895, and today the palace is used as headquarters for the Ministry of Education. His son eventually inherited the palace, and Chandra SJB Rana created the garden as a wedding gift to his son, Kaiser SJB Rana. Kaiser was mesmerised by the gardens and soon added his own vision and ideas, which included wooded areas, large landscaped lawns, a duck pond and cultivated areas. The Garden of Dreams also began to sprout other features, such as pavilions, birdhouses, verandas and balustrades. After his death in 1965, the garden and library fell into disrepair after his family donated it to the government.
Overgrown with weeds and marred by structural damage, environmentalists took note of this once celebrated garden in 1998 and requests to restore the garden to its orginal magnificence started to flood in to the government departments and international organisations. The restoration project was not an easy feat, as plans had to be devised to replace rotten wooden structures without losing the history and integrity of the garden. By looking at orginal documentation and plans of the gardens, architects and workers were able to bring positive changes and enhancements to the Garden of Dreams. Cast iron pillars began to replace wooden pillars, a rotunda was constructed to replace the one that had fallen apart over the years and breathtaking fountains were added to bring life to cold stone slabs. Ponds and bodies of water were brought in with picturesque illumination for the evenings, together with a small amphitheatre. Even though most of the restoration work was completed by 2007, it has only now reached its full potential. Over and above the waterfalls and structural wonders, the garden is blanketed in exotic plants, rare water plants and areas where visitors can lie back on the grass, relax and take in the peacefulness and tranquility of the gardens.
The gardens will be used for private functions and small cultural events, as caretakers do not want the gardens overrun by music concerts or events that will break the unique atmosphere of the Garden of Dreams. It is truely a breathtaking attraction in Thamel, and anyone who visits Nepal should not miss out on the opportunity to enjoy this spectacular site.