An Urban Retreat at the Godavari Botanical Gardens
I recently visited the Godavari Botanical Gardens, tucked away in the southern hills of Kathmandu. It took me less than an hour to get there, but it feels like a different world. The hustle and bustle of Kathmandu can be a little bit overwhelming, especially for people like me who are not used to it. A visit to the botanical gardens is a great way to escape the city for a day and relax in a beautiful atmosphere.
The garden is named after the Godavari Spring that can be found just a few hundred meters away from the main gate. The little creek flows through the garden, edged by ferns and bushes. Everyone in the garden was in such a good mood, children were playing around, fighting with sticks, jumping into the water. These are things that I really miss in Kathmandu.
There are over 500 different plants to be seen in the gardens, as well as an astonishing number of butterflies. If you’re seeking information on the flora and fauna, the staff are happy to tell you it. There is a whole section dedicated to bee-keeping, which is really interesting.
The whole place is really clean, although the toilets need some renovations. The entry fee to the garden is around 200 NPR, which is good value. I saw dogs inside of the garden. Furthermore, it should be possible to visit the garden in a wheelchair.
Apart from the ecology, the Godavari Botanical Gardens are a great place to relax, have a picnic and enjoy nature. You can easily spend a whole day here. There are even some places to buy food, at the end of the garden. It is nothing fancy, but good dal bhat.
Near to the garden is the ICIMOD office (the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development). It is not open to the public, but you can apply to visit with a group. If you get the chance, I highly recommend to give it a try. The centre showcases various agricultural techniques, as well as a lot of ingenious, sustainable technologies like solar cooking, vermiculture, charcoal pressing and many more. The whole place is really impressive. The entrance to ICIMOD is on the same road that ends at the entrance to Godavari. Walk uphill from the entry for about 300m and you will see the gate with a sign on the left hand.
If you are looking for some quietness, peace and nature, Godvari Botanical Garden is the place to go.
For a longer excursion in the area, you can walk up the highest hill of the Kathmandu Valley, Phulchoki.
Article by Lukas Steingässer.