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On The Road With Animesh Rai – Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal – Part 2

Landscape in Nepal.
Landscape in Nepal.

Nepal

Between Kanchanpur and Dhalkewar

My departure was delayed due to rain. In the afternoon, at a Dhaba, when I asked a customer why alcohol seemed to be sold readily in shops, he said that no licence was required so it was available even in places like pan shops. Later during the trip, at Budigaon, someone mentioned that licences were in fact required to sell alcohol.

Between Dhalkewar and Charibari in the Sindhuli District

After Bardibas, I opted to take the shortcut to Kathmandu. The scenery is great but it is an undulating road with many ascents and descents. I decided to stop early to save energy for the next day and to avoid being stranded in the middle of nowhere. There, I witnessed a street play (popular in villages) in the afternoon.

Between Chiyabari and Mulkot

It was a really steep climb halfway to Kurkoot thirty-one kilometres from Chiyabari. Again from there, there were many ups and downs. In Mulkot, while having tea I had a brief conversation with Ranju Yadav, a college going woman who sat in front of me to have a packet of chips during a brief halt there and who was on her way home in a van from Kathmandu to the eastern part of Nepal. She is doing a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and said that child marriage in Nepal was common.

Landscape in Nepal.
Landscape in Nepal.

Between Mulkot and Bhakundebesi

The route again undulated between steep climbs and descents. I arrived in Bhakundebesi early in the afternoon and called it a day.

Between Bhakundebesi and Simle via Kathmandu

I reached Kathmandu at 11:00 am. I sat in a restaurant with free WiFi to find a way out of the city. I didn’t like most of the parts that I saw : very polluted, with traffic jams and unsturdy roads.

Between Simle and Mugling

I arrived in Mugling at 2:00 pm. I was feeling too tired so I stopped. I spoke briefly with an Indian man who was taking a break from his bus journey. He asked me a few questions about my “trekking trip.” This town seemed to be a bit like Jakhalabandha in Assam where some restaurants were open all night long.

Between Mugling and Kawasoti

While I was having breakfast, a Nepali gentleman who was having tea asked me what was my “udeshya” or objective. Thirty kilometres or so of the distance were in the hills and then onto the Terai even though there were still ascents and descents.

A roundabout in Kathmandu, Nepal.
A roundabout in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Between Kawasoti and Butwal

The road went uphill for quite a bit. There are many buses that go from Butwal to Delhi and back and I later discovered that this was because a large number of visitors come to visit Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha located not very far from there.

Between Butwal and Chandrauta

I was down with the flu so I decided to rest in the afternoon. In the evening, I went for a stroll in town. At lunch time, the restaurant maître d’ mentioned that he had worked in India in Noida for a few years. This had become a recurring theme where at each place that I stopped people said the same thing : a person had worked in Noida as a security guard for fifteen years, someone else as a cook in Delhi, another one for fifty-five years in Jorhat, one person had visited Mount Abu etc., another Delhi and so on. So the link with India is real.

Between Chandrauta and Khaskhusma

From Lamahi after lunch, I wanted to travel another thirty kilometres or so but I had no choice but to cycle sixty kilometres as there was no place to stay before that. The place where I stayed was in the middle of the forest with no WiFi but it was very quiet and peaceful.

 

Between Khaskhusma and Budigaon

On the way, at a place where I stopped for tea and a milk cake, the owner of the shop did not charge me for it. He was an Indian from Simla and said that he was always happy to meet Indians. He had retired from service and had opened his sweet shop two weeks ago and it earned him six to seven thousand Nepali Rupees a week. In Budigaon, in the evening, two gentlemen joined me for a chat and much to my shock, they launched into a virulent diatribe against Muslims saying that they reproduced too often and that were it not for Muslims, India would have advanced by leaps and bounds by now. Needless to say, my objective here is merely to report what I heard and it seems that “peaceful” and Hindu Nepal is not immune to the display of bigoted sentiments towards other religions.

Between Budigaon and Attariya

After six kilometres or so, I was stopped at the Army check post and had to put my bike into a tourist van in order to cross the tiger danger zone for a distance of approximately fifteen kilometres upto Chisapani.

Landscape in Nepal.
Landscape in Nepal.

Nepal and Uttarakhand : between Attariya and Sitarganj

I crossed the border at 11:00 am at Gadda Chauki where I spent all my remaining Nepali rupees on food items. I had planned to take the bus to Delhi from Banbasa on the Indian side of the border, but while waiting for the bus which was not going to leave until 7:00 pm, I changed my mind and decided to cycle down to Noida instead and stopped in Sitarganj in Uttarakhand for the night.

Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh : between Sitarganj and Moradabad

Between Radhanpur and Rampur, the road was in a bad way with a lot of construction work going on. It was very frustrating as I had to get off my bike and walk quite a bit.

Uttar Pradesh : between Moradabad and Noida
The segment between Hapur and Ghaziabad was a nuisance due to road construction in numerous parts and the consequent traffic jams because of that coupled with the broken up road.

About ANIMESH RAI

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