A Short Cycle through the Nepal Terai

Nepal Experience
Our first day in Kathmandu involved running to the Indian Embassy to apply for a visa, as this was going to take 5 days. Already here Sertx managed to make friends with the security guard who helped us jump the 2 hour queue; we therefore wasted little time and went straight into touring the city centre. We visited Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Durbar Square in Patan and Durbar Square in Bhaktapur, where we saw countless statues of gods, goddesses, deities and Buddhas, carved out of wood, metal and brick into the many different kinds of houses & temples which make up the squares. We saw the palace where the virgin goddess, Kumari Devi, lives – this tradition of worshiping young pre-pubescent girls as a manifestation of the divine female energy, has been practiced by Hindus since the 17th century. We also visited the small temples Changu Narayan & Gokarna Mahadev known for their numerous Hindu goddess statues, and spent many evenings walking around the world’s largest stupa at Bodhnath, alongside the locals who carry their rosaries, whispering their prayers.

The Nepalese women are Chinese-looking, dressed in brightly coloured Indian-like saris and the Tibetan woman wear multi-coloured striped silk aprons over their plain dresses. As well as buying Tibetan flags to dress our bicycles, we also bought some Tibetan herbal medicine – which resembles goat droppings, tastes fowl yet apparently works wonders for one’s health. We drank many milky masala chai’s and ate the spiciest & most delicious foods. In Nepal they use cardamom, cumin, turmeric and chilli together with potato, pumpkin, squash, green leaves, lentils and meats. The food is so tasty and we can’t get enough of it.

Phenomenal Himalaya Mountain Views
On cycling out of Kathmandu we were continuously surrounded by heavy honking traffic, and at the end of the day, covered in a layer of brown dust from head to toe. Thankfully the truck drivers in the mountains had softer sounding horns and also beeped much less, sometimes just flashing their lights at us to indicate a friendly hello. Yet the drivers still drive like crazy & we already saw an accident where a tourist bus had flown off a cliff edge some 30 metres down into a river. The following day we read ‘17 killed and 26 injured’ in the local paper. 
Not a comforting thought, however, we were cycling in a beautiful subtropical country again, passing lush green land, rice fields, tiny thatched-house villages & friendly water buffalos, so our minds were distracted from the danger for most of our ride through the country. We spent 6 days cycling through the Terai, the flat plain land, which makes up 17% of Nepal, with 50% of its population & 70% of its agriculture. This land rises from 90m in the south to 8850m at Mount Everest in the north.
We already spotted Mount Everest from the plane – its pyramidal summit, peeking its way through two cloud layers. We stopped in a couple of towns to see the best views of the mountain ranges; Bandipur, a pretty little town on top of a mountain, to which we hitched a ride with the presidential armed forces, (due to the last 5km being extremely steep) is a great place to spot the Mahabharat mountain range from. Pokhara was another town from which to see the Annapurna range. We spent a few days in both towns waiting for the thick fog & rain to clear, before we could see the amazing mountain peaks. It is said that the design of the local Newari pagoda temples were inspired by the triangular-like mountain peaks. 
Nepal is stunning, and neither the constant power cuts nor the cockroaches who visited us in every hotel we stayed in stopped us from adoring the country. One massive cockroach even crawled through my hair and halfway across my face in the middle of one night; but thankfully they don’t sting or do anything disgusting & it only took 1 hour for Sertx to get rid of the rest of them hiding behind the bed.

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