Photo travel: Nepal & India

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally in that state of mind to share with you some of my travel photos from my Nepal-to-India-to-Nepal trip that I took late into 2013.

Mum and I landed in Kathmandu around midday on the 16th of October, and it was a festival day, quickly dashed to my aunt’s place to dump the luggage and refresh, after which, we spent the entire day running around: to my uncle’s first on Dad’s side, where a huddle of relatives were gathered to see/greet/and celebrate with us, then ran back to an aunt’s place on my Mum’s side, then back, finally to the aunt’s where we were staying to repack our bags. Yes, I said repack. Less  than 8 hours in Kathmandu, and we were shifting through our luggage to pack a bag for a 5day trip around Nepal and a peekaboo into India to visit a temple near a border town. By the time we finally called it quits for the night, I think it might have been around midnight…only to wake up by 5AM and rush around before the 4WD picked us up.

We were heading to Simara, another city where my mum’s parents live, about 5 hours through a dangerously narrow mountain road. You can imagine my awe at the sights, but frankly, my mum probably didn’t see much of it. She clamped her hand around the handle above her head, closed her eyes and prayed that the torture would soon be over. LOL…last time we went around Nepal like this couple of years ago, she nearly bruised my uncle’s arm cause she was holding on so tight out of fear the vehicle falling off the road.

At the highest point of the road we were on, I’m not joking, I saw clouds kissing the mountain peaks just before us…

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I took this photo a couple of hours into our journey to Simara. We were already on the winding mountain pass that’s used as a two-way, but in all honesty, it should have been classed as a one-way with ‘extra gravel to the side’. No wonder mum, up ahead next to the driver refused to turn around and break her concentration at ignoring the sights.

Behind the camera, the story was worse. We were more cramped than my aunties, uncle and cousin on the seat before us. Why? Well, the genius of a driver neglected our request for a vehicle with a rack on the roof so we could tie our luggage up there. He arrived, 6 am in the morning to Kathmandu from another town, Janakpur, without our requested rack! So, me and two of my cousins, we were packed like sardines, and almost unrecognisable from the bags that engulfed us all the way to our grandparents place. Though at intervals, we were glad we had the bags to cushion some of the really hard turns and brakes the driver was making. Why?

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I don’t know if you can see the necklace of vehicles brought to a stop. Yep. We were stuck in a traffic jam of the worst kind. ON A MOUNTAIN! A narrow mountain. Why? All because a bus driver thought he’d try his luck, taking the short cut to Kathmandu through the pass that was only designed for small or personal vehicles.

Lucky for us, we saw these guys few vehicles ahead of us…boy, you should have seen how fast they cleared the blockage. The only thing I was left wondering was, why did they wait almost 40min before getting out of their car to go see what the problem was?

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Either way, mum got more and more nervous sitting in the front seat, out her door, basically all she could see was this…

DSCN0250…and decided she could no longer stay idle in the car, so instead she got out and started walking down the road, telling us she’d ‘get on’ once we catch up with her.

On our way to Simara, we stopped by their cousin’s place for lunch, and then vamoosed by the afternoon.

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This little bub was the family’s grandchild, and the whole time we were there, he kept running out the door, they’d bring him in, and then he’d run out the other door. It was very cute. Until the moment he thought my Nikon was a toy  and decided he wanted it. Curse of being a gorgeous red colour. Anyway, he chased me around the room, eventually found me sitting down (in the psychedelic pants), and came over, telling me off in his baby tongue till his dad called him to stop. LOL. My camera survived to take many more pictures!

Once back in the cramped vehicle, we drove for another hour or so, into my mum’s grandparents’ old village, where her uncle still lived in the old family home. I was excited! Why? You’ll see by the photos below.

I had only ever been to Makwanpur as a kid of 6-7 with mum and one of my sisters. Back then, the village was sparsely populated, trees everywhere, dust path where bull carts travelled, vast farmed plains on the foothills of mountains etc. and where the toilets stood separate from the houses in long drops, and at before night fall, everyone were indoors cause of tigers that would roam at night. So, I was really excited to see these rustic pieces of old life, and to take photos to show you a part of Nepal very few get to see. The simple, yet rich lives these fantastic people lead…

The following photos were taken of and around my great uncle’s home. The one I had visited as a kid once…

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The shed where they cows and the goats were herded to/or rested. And the upstairs where extra grains/corn and hay was kept. A large basin of concrete filled with water for them.

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DSCN0297The wonderful house in a wonderful location. What can I say, the lowering sun on the horizon made it look even more mythical, even more magical.DSCN0295

This was the journey of a day, with multiple stops, and magical places, and meaningful people met. Sometimes, in the fast paced life of cities and what we call developed places, we forget how beautiful nature is, how resourceful people can truly be. After visiting this family home, we drove back in the dusk of the falling day to Simara, and finally to my grandparents’ place…to rest and do it all over again the next day.

I’ll leave you with a photo that will have you wondering what I am showing you…

DSCN0308 What is it? you’re wondering.

It is a bowl, made of leaves, held together by small dry stick of tall grasses, and yes, they use it to serve food in, especially in villages on occasions such as festivals, weddings etc. The resourceful ladies make plates and bowls of natural material, that saves them not only hard-earned cash, but is really respectful of the environment. Something I really regret in our modern packaged world.

It’s always been a humble experience for me, going back to Nepal. Refreshing every now and then, where I am truly from, and to take pride in some of it ways.

Till the next episode…Be well, stay well, and dream.

 

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