Nepali Times Asian Paints
Heritage
Garden of Dreams


SOPHIA TAMOT



ANUP PRAKASH

After much anticipation, the Garden of Dreams is finally opening its gates to the public on 8 October. For six years, extensive restoration work went on hidden behind the huge wall along Tridevi Marg in Thamel. Soon, the entrance gate opposite the SAARC Secretariat should be lined with visitors queuing to enter the historical garden.

A special zebra crossing now provides easy access to visitors crossing the street to enter the main gate. G?tz Hagm?ller, chief architect of the project and the man behind the Patan Museum restoration is excited that the big day is just around the corner. "We are sure the garden will be a huge success. In fact, we are worried that it might be so popular that it might turn into a fair ground," says Hagm?ller. A lot of thought has gone into setting the admission fees. "The cost of maintaining the garden will be very high, so we can't afford to have people mess it up," shrugs Hagm?ller.


MIN BAJRACHARYA

He is also very strict about the kind of activities that will be allowed inside the park. "No rock concerts. No weddings. No fashion shows," he says. Instead, the garden will accept bookings for cultural events and private functions at the three restored pavilions. The basic idea is to have the garden generate its own income through admission fees, rent collected from the Basanta Caf? and Kaiser Bar and from events.

Restored after 80 years, the $ 1 million project funded by Austrian Development Aid and implemented by Eco Himal covers 4070 meter; is a testament to the extraordinary vision and talent of one man-Field Marshall Kaiser Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana. If he were alive today, he would have been pleased with all the restoration work and the extensive innovations added to the garden.


ANUP PRAKASH

Stone slabs have been replaced with fountains. A moat has been constructed around the stage and a multipurpose amphitheatre, seating 300 people, built around it. Decaying wooden pillars of a pergola have been swapped with historical looking iron cast ones. A rotunda has been built, remodelled after one of the lost buildings in the garden. Numerous water bodies have been constructed, and the main pond has four copper lotuses that emit gas flames during the night. Night illumination has been carefully planned.


MIN BAJRACHARYA
Another innovative idea is the use of aluminium foil in the high ceilings of the pavilion to get a polished silver look. And not to worry, Hagm?ller says, it's durable because no dust collects there.

During restoration work, Hagm?ller and his team discovered a narrow space between two walls in the south that had been lying unused and covered by overgrown flora. He devised a way to make use of it by having a water cascade flows from one narrow end of the wall towards a slightly bigger area-creating the optical illusion of a long waterfall. An oriental feature, Hagm?ller says this is also a 'hidden garden,' which is a characteristic of many European historical gardens.


MIN BAJRACHARYA

One big advantage of the water cascade is that it masks the noise from the streets of Thamel. In the summer months, this area is also the coolest in the entire garden. So if you're headed for shade and a quiet corner, this is the spot you want.

One problem the garden did have was with the water supply. With so many water bodies and foliage to take care of, they needed something they could depend on. So the project team dugtwo ground wells, to provide the garden with water.


ANUP PRAKASH
Although most of the garden is complete, further restoration work and training of staff will continue up to September 2007.

These days, the team of over 100 staff, are extremely busy with preparations for the opening.

The project estimates that it will take about Rs 300,000 to maintain the garden and pay staff each month. More than half of that amount will hopefully come from the rent while the rest should be covered through admission fees.



Tickets

Single admission: Nepalis Rs 80, foreigners
Rs 160, children, disabled persons and senior citizens Rs 40

10 admissions: Locals Rs 400, foreigners Rs 800

Annual membership: RS 2000, including
10% discount on all restaurant bills and free parking

Corporate membership: RS 1000 for a minimum of 10 members, 10% discount on all restaurant bills

October 8, Sunday
6.30 PM hours | Ticket: Rs 500
CLASSICAL NEPALI CONCERT
Coordinated by Sangeeta Mishra of Kirateshor Mahadev Sangeet Ashram

October 11, Wednesday
6.30 PM | Ticket: Rs1500
THE JAZZ AFFAIR
By the Saskia Laroo Band (Netherlands) and Stupa (Nepal)

October 14, Saturday
10.30 AM - 10PM hours | Ticket: Rs 500
JAPANESE DAY
Display of Ikebana, Bonsai, Japanese dolls, Kendo, Kimonos
Chrysanthemum Festival, Tea Ceremony & Musical Concert

October 15, Sunday
6.30 hours
CHILDREN'S DAY
Music concert by children

October 17, Tuesday
7PM hours | Ticket: Rs 300
FIRE IN THE MONASTERY
A play in Nepali, Directed by Sunil Pokharel presented by Gurukul

October 18, Wednesday
6.30 hours | Ticket: Rs 500
FUSION NIGHT
By Trikaal, Salil on the Didgeridoo and An Fainne-Kathmandu's expatriate Irish Band

October 20, Friday
7PM hours | Ticket: RS 500
RAMAILO SANJH WITH HAVAAS IN CONCERT
Presented by Nepa~laya

FOR MORE DETAILS
Kaiser Mahal Garden of Dreams, Kathmandu | Tel.: 4425340
Email: kmahal@mos.com



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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