Dave, Alan and I agreed to spend Tuesday and Wednesday last week leading the construction of a Nepalese gate at the front of an area in the Botanics showing plants and flowers indigenous to Nepal. Nepalese gates are found in Western Nepal and consist of two roughly built pillars capped with a large lintel stone. Locals and travellers ring a bell attached to the lintel as they go through, presumably as part of a Buddhist ritual.
The original idea was for us to involve staff, volunteers and students, who work and/or study in the Botanics, in the construction. As you can see from the complexity of the gate’s design, this was no easy task for us, let alone complete novices, so we engaged several students and staff on the first day in emptying about 20 bags of Denfind stone, which they spread out in front of the construction site for us. It soon became obvious that the stone was mostly of middle sized pieces: nothing too big or small. It would have been useful to have had some larger flat pieces to spread the load on a solid foundation, as there was no hard core available.