Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Part 2 of the Nepal post sees us travel from the hustling, bustling city of Kathmandu to the jungles of Chitwan National Park to the pictu...
Part 2 of the Nepal post sees us travel from the hustling, bustling city of Kathmandu to the jungles of Chitwan National Park to the picturesque Pokhara by the Himalayas back to Kathmandu and onto the plane towards New Delhi.
In Kathmandu there were many people walking around with masks to protect them from the awful air pollution. It really doesn't help that the city is in sort of bowl surrounded by hills and mountains, the bad air just has nowhere to go.
It had always been a dream of mine to ride on an elephant. And Nepal gave me the perfect chance to fulfil that dream. All we needed to do was drive for 5 hours through the hills towards the lowlands (Terai to the Nepalese) and on to the lush green jungles of Chitwan.
Our journey started at 7am and I was banking on catching some sleep in the car but little did I know that it would be the most beautiful, death-defying drive of my life! The hills were completely covered in dense forest, the only exceptions being some scars from recent landslides during the monsoon. The road clung to the edges of the hills, the only 'barrier' preventing us falling 500 feet to the deep blue river that meanders through these hill were some breezeblocks!
Suffice to say, I got very little sleep.
I wanted to cry when I first saw the elephants, they are amazing animals! I couldn't help but feel sorry for them as their owners/riders beat them with bamboo sticks and metal pokers..
The locals have a deep respect for the wild animals that roam freely throughout Chitwan and occasionally venture towards the towns and villages. During our stay, the hotel next door was broken into by a wild elephant in the night. He must have caught the scent of sugar and mustard seeds and got a bit hungry. There was a trail of sugar and mustard seeds strewn from the hotel leading out into the jungle..
Nonetheless, I am in love with these animals. After my majestic ride on one, I passed the elephant a 10 rupee note, she sucked up the money in her trunk and passed it to her owner! HOW CUTE.
The next morning we were up early for a stroll in the jungle at 7am. To say it was a little scary would be an understatement. It was misty and pretty eerie, and at the very beginning of the stroll we came across a fresh Tiger paw-print in the mud near our hotel. Ahhh!
Next up was a quick stopover in the wonderful Pokhara to take in a bit of fresh mountain air and some breath-taking sights, and stay at a top-notch hotel. From here, the views of the Himalayas and the sunrise at Sarangkot were simply stunning. Photographs could never do it justice.
We drove for 6 hours back to Kathmandu for a final rendez-vous with the happy couple and took flight for New Delhi. The flight was absolutely incredible. The plane hugs close to the Himalayas as it moves towards the Indian capital, for over an hour they take over the windows before fading away into the distance and the haze that surrounds Delhi...