A place where one can relax and get away from the regular chaos of life. Balaju Garden or Baisdhara is located below Nagarjun Hill nearly 5 kilometers north-west from Kathmandu valley, and it is considered to be one of the most famous leisure spots in the valley. It has a very calming and peaceful ambiance along with various other attractions, which can lure the tourists to flock into this spot and spend some time. It would not be wrong if we say that this place has a mixed balance of both natural and artificial beauty.
History of Balaju Garden
The history of this place dates back from the mid 18th century when a Malla king ordered to built 22 stone water sprouts. Located in the heart of balaju, this place “Baisdhara” got its name from those twenty-two water sprouts where “bais” means twenty-two and “dhara” means the taps. All of the taps are beautifully crafted with water monsters ie crocodiles with curled tanks, ferocious teeth, stretching eyes and tongue aflame. It is said that the artist had never seen a crocodile, yet he managed to make such a detailed replica out of his imagination.
Along with them, there is a replica of the Budhanilkantha within this park, so it can be cited as one of the famous destinations for devotional tourists. It is located near the Shitala Mai temple, where there lies a large holy pool of untouched water in which the stone image of Lord Vishnu reclines on the bed of snakes, which is similar to Budhanilkantha, yet it fails to be as perfect and peaceful as the original.
Legend says that once a Malla king had transported the holy water of Budhanilkantha to this palace, this made the lord furious. As a result, on that very night the king had a dream in which Lord Vishnu’s blue throat appeared, and the Lord warned the kind that the king and even his coming generations would die if they ever saw the reclining image of the god a Budhanilkantha, due to which the King installed his own copy of Budhanilkantha at Balaju
Other tourist attraction
Apart from the twenty-two taps and the replica of Budhanilkantha, there is few other attraction, which can tempt tourists to visit this place. There is a beautiful garden installed within this park, below the forest of Ranibari. The garden is well decorated with the flowerbeds and ponds in the shape of clubs, diamonds, fish, heart, and spades. Two ponds have various varieties of big and small fishes, which attracts a lot of children. At one end of the park, there is a large Olympic sized swimming pool, which is a great source of pleasure for the visitors. This is a place for those who are seeking solitude and peace. The perfect blend of nature and artificial art provides calmness to a person at different levels.
A lot of devotees from the valley and from the neighboring valley flock down to this place in order to celebrate the one day religious fair where they sing, dance and get themselves drowned into the majestic ambiance of the place forgetting all the worries and problems of their daily life.
It is said that this fair was started by the last Malla King of Kathmandu. This fair falls under the last full moon day of the year, this day holds a special significance as it is believed that on this day the sun and the moon come together at a special place, which increases the religious value of the place. It is believed that the water from the water sprouts have the divine power to heal various skin diseases, along with that it is said if someone takes a bath from the water sprouts and the visits the Bala Budhanilkantha (the replica of Budhanilkantha) receives the heavenly power.
Current scenario of Balaju Garden
This place is really beautiful, but it feels under the pray of negligence and therefore is getting deteriorated gradually. The water in the fish ponds are critically low, which means that they get dried up within a course of time, and the management has to refill them continuously. The drying of the water has started to hamper the aqua life, as the water is low the fishes, tortoises have started to die due to the lack of oxygen along with that the water from the sprouts has also started drying.
There was a time when people used to take bath from the sprouts now hardly a drop of water comes out from those taps until the authorities fill water in it. And the Olympic sized, which once attracted tourists now stands without water.
Similarly, the Bala Budhanilkantha, which was situated in the middle of a pool filled will sacred water is now in a pool with no water. This shows the serious issue of lack of water in the valley, due to which the beauty of such historical places is getting reduced day by day.
The Balaju garden is located in the foot of the forest of Ranibari, but nowadays due to increasing urbanization, the forest is getting smaller and the concrete jungle is increasing. Once Balaju used to be the most beautiful and renowned place for tourist, and nowadays it is suffering from issues like urbanization, lack of water etc.