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1989/90 - India Overland (Part 7 - Varanasi to Kathmandu)

The foothills of the Himalayas and the capital of Nepal.


View 1989 India on nzhamsta's travel map.

Tuesday 9 January - We had a free morning so I went with some of the others out to the train station to see the steam locomotives still in use. We took some tongs (horse and carriages) to visit the Golden Temple. The only view we could get was from the roof of someone's house next door. An afternoon drive towards Ghazipur and a camp in a plantation.

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A WG 2-8-2 class locomotive, engine number 8704.

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A WG 2-8-2 class locomotive, engine number 9873.

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The Golden Temple.

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Dave removing several months of facial fluff.

Wednesday 10 January - Another long drive heading towards Nepal. We stopped at Kushinagar to visit the site where Buddha is believed to passed away. Road side camp.

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The memorial to Buddha.

Thursday 11 January - An early and foggy start and we arrived border crossing (Raxaul / Birganj) at lunchtime. Typical border crossing bureaucracy with having to write all our details by hand into various ledgers and it took about four hours to get everyone processed and on our way. Last night of camping.

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The border post into Nepal.

Friday 12 January - The last day. We drove uphill for 120 km crossing the foothills of the Himalayas. Given that we were driving quite slowly we were able to roll back to canvas and sit on the cross bars to view the superb scenery. We stopped a couple of time to view the mountains and we thought we could see Mt Everest through the haze. From there it was all downhill to Kathmandu. We had a great final dinner in a restaurant whose sole supplier of cutlery was airlines. My knife and fork were branded with the Lufthansa logo. This ended the official EO trip.

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Climbing through the foothills.

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The local chai shop.

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The chai shop owners.

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A local house.

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A typical Indian or Nepalese truck.

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The Annapurna Massif.

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Riding on the roof whilst climbing for 120 km through the hills.

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Terraced hillsides on the road to Kathmandu.

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Eddie giving his last night dinner speech.

Saturday 13 January - This was a day of sightseeing around Kathmandu. Firstly to Durbar Square and the Tribhuvan Museum. The tower gave very good views over the city and valley. After lunch, Adam and I walked out to the Swayanbhunath Temple and climbed to 365 odd stairs to the top. More great views. We managed to get a bit lost coming back into town. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing a bit of shopping (another bag to put all the stuff in), getting it all packed away and catching up with the others for a final dinner and beer.

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A statue of Pratap Malia in Durbar Square.

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The north tower at the Tribhuvan Museum.

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A guard at Tribhuvan Museum.

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The view to the north from the museum tower.

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The view to the west from the museum tower.

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The Visnumati River.

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Swayanbhunath Temple.

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Swayanbhunath Temple.

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Kathmandu valley.

Sunday 14 January - A quick bit of shopping in the morning and then out to the airport for my flight to Singapore. We had a great view of the mountains from the left hand side of the plane.

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The Himalayas from the plane out.

Summary - This was my first overland trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had two different groups and the people were really interesting. The first group (13 of us) were novices at this sort of thing and everyone mucked in with cooking, cleaning etc. The second group had joined the trip from Africa and had 15 weeks of this sort of life already under their belts. They were more structured with them only doing what they were rostered to do.

The trip was well organised, the driving was safe, Eddie was great a leader and organiser, especially as he had never been to India before.

The south of India is greener and more scenic, but the north has the sights, so all parts are my favourite. The beer is also very good.

India is an amazing place. The contrasts between rich and poor are so marked. We were the centre of attention wherever we went and every time we stopped to camp, have lunch, do some shopping we were surrounded by onlookers. Bit like being a zoo sometimes. We were in parts of the country that do not get many foreign tourists so I suspect it is understandable. Also given that we were camping also added to the attraction. We always felt safe and no one had anything stolen and cannot remember any dealings with the police, except when getting directions or taking their photos.
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Posted by nzhamsta 13:00 Archived in Nepal

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