After the tranquillity and crisp air of the Himalayas, returning to Kathmandu can be a shock to the system. The constant noise, traffic and smoggy air can feel overwhelming, making one search for an area of reprieve. Enter through the red brick walls of the rather appropriately named Garden of Dreams, and you can find a temporary solace from Kathmandu’s metropolitan excesses.
Originally built as the private residential gardens for Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana in early 1920, and designed by the famous architect Kishore Narshingh, in what was then a modern Edwardian theme. Despite gardens of similar style cropping up around Nepal and India, Rana’s collection of pavilions, fountains, exotic plants and walkways quickly became renowned throughout the region as one of the finest examples of its kind.
After Rana’s death however, the Garden of Dreams closed, and for six decades the grounds were left unkempt. The structures that were once called the finest of gardens in the country and the subtropical plants and ponds that inhabited the garden became overgrown from vines and weeds, and the once-constant stream of important visitors disappeared.
In an effort to restore one of Kathmandu’s most unique destinations, the Ministry of Education in Nepal, with support from the Austrian Development Aid, completely renovated and restored the largest and arguably most impressive section of Rana’s Garden of Dreams for the public to enjoy in 2000. In 2007 renovations were finished, and the Garden of Dreams was opened, and has been growing in visitors ever since.
Today people flock here for peace and solitude away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu’s hectic walkways and traffic. On any given day, you’ll find many young Nepalese couples taking romantic strolls and afternoon breaks here in the many nooks and hidden corners of the garden’s pavilions and gazebos.
To find a unique piece of Nepal’s heritage and culture, away, from the shrines and representations of Buddhism and Hinduism often recommended to tourists, the Garden of Dreams is well worth a visit to rest and revive.
For more information about the Garden of Dreams, including visiting hours and admission fee, please see their website here.