From Cape Town I flew to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Getting an Indian visa in South Africa was very costly. In Nepal, the entry requirements are much easier. All my luggage including bike arrived undisturbed. I had to get used to the traffic in Kathmandu. After a while I came through the whole mess.
Kathmandu is the largest metropolis in Nepal with 1.4 million inhabitants in the city and 5 million in the urban agglomeration in the Kathmandu Valley. It has a multi-ethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority. Historic sites in Kathmandu were destroyed on April 25, 2015 by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. At the hostel I got to know Jock from Scotland soon. He cycles a few months through Nepal and India. With our bicycles we made some trips to various sights of the city. Some of them are very impressive, like the Boudhanath Stupa or the Pashupatinath Temple.
The Pashupatinath Temple is a famous 5th century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (Pashupati). The Pashupatinath Temple on the bank of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. A major part of the temple was destroyed by Mughal invaders in the 14th century and is housed in the original temple facade from the 5th century. The present temple was built in the 19th century. Believers in Pashupatinath (mostly Hindu) are the only ones using the Bagmati River. The funeral with the ritual wash in the river and the dead body on a pile of wood.
After ten days I was finally able to pick up my Indian visa at the agency. Jock had a route through the mountains to the plain, which was very beautiful (via Daman to Hetauda). My first destination is Lumbini. After a few days I reached the pilgrimage site. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi lived by Buddhist tradition around 563 BC. Siddhartha Gautama was born. Gautama, who died around 528 BC Enlightenment became the Gautama Buddha and founded Buddhism. There are a number of temples in Lumbini, including the Mayadevi Temple and several others that are still being repaired. It took me a whole day to visit the whole area by bicycle.
When driving on the highway, I felt very comfortable. Since there are many small places along the way, you do not need much supplies and water to tow. So storage bins can be found without major problems. After a few kilometers a German motorcyclist stopped me. Frank is also a longtime traveler and has traveled Nepal and India. He told me to stop at Bardiya National Park. Three days later I arrived there.
Bardiya National Park was founded in 1988 as Royal Bardia National Park. With an area of 968 km2, it is the largest and most undisturbed national park in Nepal's Terai. About 70% of the park is covered with forest, with grassland, savannah and river forest in balance. The diverse types of vegetation in forests and grasslands provide an excellent habitat for 642 species of animals. The Bardiya National Park is home to at least 53 mammals, including rhinos, wild elephants, Bengal tigers, swamp deer and gangetic dolphins. Current checklists contain 407 species of birds.
Wild Trak Adventure Lodge has stayed with John and his business partner Sitaram. John is an experienced zoologist who specializes in this area and has lived here for several years. Sitaram led Frank and me through the park for a day. Sitaram and I went for a walk in the jungle. Suddenly a male tiger came around the corner. He was not even 50 meters away from us. With a loud roar he turned and disappeared in the thicket. The whole thing went so fast that I did not have time to take a picture. Seeing a majestic animal in the wild is enormously impressive. We saw many other animals during the day.
At the lodge I also met Nick and Simon. They both come from England. Nick travels through India and Nepal by motorbike and Simon visits the same area on his bike. We had many exciting discussions and I received very helpful recommendations for my trip.
In addition, Simon offered to ride a bit together. I could not refuse this offer. His bike and equipment are much lighter. Nevertheless, we found a good pace and Simon was a good pacemaker. In the evening I wanted to camp again before I drove across the border to India. Since Simon does not have a tent, we had to say goodbye. Thank you for the trip together and good luck, Simon.
The border crossing the next day in Mahendranagar went without major problems and quite quickly. I really enjoyed the time in Nepal. So many things that I have missed in Africa, I could experience here again. Especially the architecture, culture and the varied landscapes and friendly people I liked here. I am already looking forward to a return. Only the children with their eternal calls, I found sometimes a little annoying. But at least they do not throw stones and always run after you. Namaste Nepal!