NEPAL had always remained a combination of the mystic Himalayas home to the highest peaks of the World, the forbidden valleys, the rush of the mountain rivers, the adventure sports and of course challenges associated with all of them. No wonder there is always the clutter of the Westerners who travel the distance to take on the adventure that the country has to throw at them. A landlocked country but the beauty of it lies in the Mother Nature being majorly nestled in the Himalayas. Whatever little of it is not on the Himalayas is also covered by lovely forests inhabited by the fiercest animals to the cutest birds.
My first throwback to Nepal was when I was learning driving during my late school days and we had acquired (not bought) an Ambassador Mark II car and me with my parents and sister had embarked upon a drive to the Kingdom in that from Kolkata driven all along by my Maternal Uncle who himself was a champion rally driver. From then on to now I had once flown to Nepal but was for office work for a night only to Kathmandu.
So this time when the thought of Nepal came up, a whole lot of memories of a drive 3 decades back came back haunting me. But I was apprehensive as to what I might find now will have no bearing to what I had left behind. The memories I cherished so much all these years might fail to be recreated. After all it has been a whole lot of years in between and the transition for Nepal from Monarchy to Democracy and from Hindu Kingdom to a Secular State have been smooth and seamless with the occasional roughs in between.
The memories which held the strongest to the school going teenager in me was that of Pokhara’s Phewa Lake and that did not disappoint us this time.
But that was a lot later. Our first night halt was in Nagarkot the place which offers a vantage positional view of the Everest and its adjoining peaks.
The next halt would be the capital Kathmandu one of the most happening cities I have been too mixed with the ancient heritage history going along.
We then would embark upon Pokhara with the coveted Phewa Lake on display and Mt Machupuchare standing tall over the town.
We were not ready to let go of what Nepal had to offer other than the mountains. So we decided to intrude into the Chitawan National Forest the home of the one horned Rhino.
And once after entering India Varanasi was to be our last halt. So in the same journey we kept our dates with Baba Pashupatinath and Baba Bishwanath.
It was me Moushumi and Jijo..
And could not have a successful trip without school chum Partha along with Dipasree tagging along.
The XYLO was by now 8 years plus and the scars of the battles it has undertaken in the past was clearly showing. It had just returned within 30 days from another hard drive to West Sikkim with my School friends but was ready to get its first VISA as it was prepared for its maiden venture outside the boundaries of India.
The XYLO has all along in previous drives had been a lone ranger but this time around we had a group of friends who united and dished out the entire plan and itinerary. All of us were from a highway group called R.O.A.D and were high octane tarmac enthusiasts. Incidentally all are from this group TAI
also. They included Debashish with wife Suvasree and son Rohit, Sayak with Sukanya and daughter Pari, Nabendu with Indrani and son Jonty and daughter Ishani, Koushik with Rakhi and daughter Riddhi (thanks to her for this selfie/ groupfie).
Within the group Debashish had some fond memories of Nepal specially Kathmandu. Having studied in Kurseong he had a lot of friends from Nepal and was reasonably fluent in the local language. Moreover his honeymoon having been here his recollections were obviously more nostalgic than anyone else in the group. The pictures of flashback will be posted as and when the situation and location comes. Dipashree too had some roots back to the Darjeeling hills and could relate to the local language well.
Here are the men..
.. and here are the ladies..
..and here are the cars. The Fiat Linea of Sayak, The Ritz (Ritzy) of Koushik, The Breeaza of Nabendu, the Ertiga (Prince) of Debashish and the Xylo of me.
This is the route taken Kolkata to Kolkata.
The story coming up. Please Read on.. PS. Pictures uploaded in the entire log have been taken by all members of the group including the youngsters Rohit and Jonty and individual acknowledgement is not possible.