On our 2017 expedition to far west Nepal we spent much of our time following a pilgrimage trail. This trail beginning in Martadi and ending at Budinanda Tal was way marked with stone gates (Tal is Nepalese for Lake). These gates are found on mountain tops and in the villages you pass through on the way. When passing through the gates it is custom to pick mountain flowers and place them on top and ring the bell 3 times. I loved these gates, they marked progress as we trekked and were all different from one another. They were often refuge to plants that grew on the mountain ridges and gave a sense that we were somewhere that was spiritually very important to many people.
Our Nepalese Garden in Edinburgh has been developing over the last 3 years, the prayer flags give it a great Nepalese feel but we wanted a structure that would improve the sense of place further. A gate seemed perfect. We were kindly given the funds by the Friends small project fund and the build was completed by three experts from the East of Scotland branch of the Dry Stone Wallers Association. We are extremly gratefull for the time Richard Love, Alan Fox and Dave Taylor gave to build the gate. The craftsmanship in the construction is exceptional and far exceeded our expectations. The build was technically chalenging due to the curves of the pillars and the 840Kg weight of the stone that bridges the gap.
The bell was brought back from Kathmandu by Dr. Bhasker Adhikari who had just returned to Edinburgh from field work looking at the impact and control of invasive species in Nepal. At the official opening of the Nepalese Gate, the bell was hung by Sanjeev Kumar Rai, Director General of the Department of Plant Resources (DPR), the national body responsible for plant biodiversity in Nepal, and RBGE’s main partner for the Flora of Nepal programme.
The new gate provides a striking feature at the edge of the Nepalese Garden and symbolises the strong working relationship between RBGE and the South Asian country.
Bellow are Images of the gates that inspired the structure.