Throwing the Book out the Window
We arrived into Eastern Nepal after visiting India (Darjeeling/Sikkim) for about a month. We arrived into Kakharbhitta and moved onto a small village called Dharan Bazaar. Unfortunately after a weird mishap involving a bumpy road, a back-pack and an open window we found ourselves LP-less for the beginning of our trip. The fear set in straight away. We managed to find somewhere to stay and get on a bus next day for our first destination (Janakpur) in the humid Terai on the Indian border.
Janakpur was a strange place at first. We didn't know where to go. There were very few people speaking English and the town caters mainly to Indian pilgrims visiting the famous Janki Mandir (Sita Temple) and ghats. In the end we really enjoyed the place. It has Nepal's only railway. The people are very friendly. We were even interviewed for Nepali TV while visiting one of Janakpur's many temples as we were there during the festival of Desain. After a few days we headed off to the very different proposition of Kathmandu with it's bakeries, efficient tourist industry and endless options.
Hanging around in Kathmandu was an easy thing
to do as it is so relaxed and there are fabulous facilities for the Western traveller. When we were not organising our treks and gear (or eating choccie cake at the numerous German bakeries!) we had a good look around some of the old Imperial cities in the Kathmandu valley. The architecture in 'Durbar Square' - the Royal squares in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur - is fabulous, and yes the pagoda originated in Nepal and the Chinese adopted the style. It is fabulous sitting high up on one of these pagoda-temples and watching the world go by, but of course you have to fend off a few hawkers.
One of the most impressive spots was Pashupatinath where we saw several cremations in progress on the banks of the Bagmati river. Like the burning ghats of Varanassi, it brings you face to face with the reality of life and death.
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