Life can be hectic in Kathmandu sometimes. Away from the crowds, the unyielding noise and pollution of the city, taking a break and being surrounded by the soothing energy of nature is what anyone wishes to have once in a while. And to get it, in the form of beautiful plants, flowers and refreshing streams, one gets to regain a balance in soul that seemed to be faltering because of the stressful city life.
The National Botanical Garden is a small representation of that harmony we find in nature to bind our soul and revitalize the lost energy. This serene garden can be found on the foothills of Phulchowi in Godawari, southeast of Patan, 11 km from Lagankhel. For a small entry fee, one can wander around this blissful sanctuary without any worry and have a great time. It not only serves as a scientific research center but also an educational and recreational facility for general public, opened throughout the year. The National Botanical Garden is popularly known as Godawari Botanical Garden, for the obvious reason.
With an area of 82 hectares, the National Botanical Garden was founded in 1962 AD for preserving and collecting data of flora in the country. The garden now houses around 550 species of flowering and non-flowering plants, both exotic and local. Exhibiting 66 different kinds of ferns, 115 orchids, 77 cacti and succulents and around 200 various kinds of trees and shrubs, it is a safe haven for 290 species of birds, 250 species of butterflies and other small critters.
This is an easy access place for bird watchers who can find various beautiful and unique birds in the vicinity like spotted and black-backed fork tails, rufous-gorgeted, slaty-backed and rusty-tailed flycatchers, orange-breasted hodgson’s redstart and pygmy Asian barred owlets to name a few.
One can go around the garden enjoying the blooming flowers in red, pink, white, yellow and all sorts of colors with intricate designs on them. Strolling in the garden with cool breeze flowing in all direction can be like a therapy in itself. Some of the plants and trees are provided with information on them while others are not marked. Even then, one can still take great pleasure in seeing pretty flora that is soothing to eyes like the cool breeze enveloping the garden.
It’s best to avoid Godawari Botanical Garden like any other popular places in and around the valley during Saturdays and public holidays, if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful day out.
Godawari has a great picnic spot in the area which often gets crowded with locals celebrating and having a great time which somehow ends up filling the air in ear piercing, blasting sounds of music coming from several speakers.
During these times families and friends come here to enjoy the free time but it gets too loud and crowed which in turn drives the already elusive birds away from the area.
ICIMOD Knowledge Park is also situated in Godawari, so one can venture out there or visit the temple not too far away. One can either go for a hike (around 3 hours) or drive (around 1 hour) up to Phulchowki for a great view of the valley below or to Lakuri Bhanjyang, another popular hiking destination starting from Godawari.
The walks in the garden help clearing one’s mind and a chance to relax in the peaceful atmosphere. It’s not every day that one gets to feel calm, so, National Botanical Garden definitely helps in taking a short breather, giving the city life a break!