Why do Nepalis hate India
01.03.2018, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Our visit to Delhi was a visit to two worlds. One part New Delhi, built in 1911 as a government district by the British, and Old Delhi with its typical Indian old town.
New Delhi with its boulevards, parks, old mansions, modern skyscrapers and Cyber City with western standards. Old Delhi with carts of oxen, cycle rickshaws and narrow streets where life takes place on the streets.
We visited the largest mosque in India: Jama Masijd. You have to go in barefoot here too and then walk on the pigeon droppings that cover the courtyard. Nevertheless, the pigeons are fed.
We strolled through the old town streets for two hours, which is an attack on all the senses: smells, dirt, noise. Everything happens on the street. Grooming, cooking, and working.
Being Sikhs is a belief that, like Christianity or Islam, is monotheistic. But God is omnipresent and is not represented in pictures. When visiting a Sikh temple, we noticed the fervor that characterizes the believers. During the service, the wisdom of the founder of the religion, Guru Nanak (15th century), is recited and there are no priests, rather everyone can pray in advance. The common meal is part of the faith, in the preparation of which the believers should also participate. What a contrast was our visit to Cyber City. We went shopping to a mall that could well be in Frankfurt or San Francisco.
March 2nd and 3rd, 2018, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
We now have two rest days, on which we can recover from the exertions of the last few days.
After over two months and over 7,000 km criss-crossing India, it's time to get one Conclusionto pull.
Many travelers in India have come to the conclusion: "You love it or you hate it". The bottom line is that we tend more towards the second statement. There are certainly ancient cultural monuments in India, good food (but you shouldn't think about hygiene), an exotic animal world, villages in which time stood still in the Middle Ages and, as a contrast, modern districts in the big cities.
However, the Indians apparently lack genes for danger and foresight in road traffic and for cleanliness and hygiene. The latter is of course measured by our standards, but a life between plastic waste and cow dung is simply not acceptable to us.
The more we were on the road, the more relaxed we became. If you always expect the worst, you can hardly be surprised. We have also partially adopted the Indian driving style, such as simply driving slowly into the oncoming traffic when turning or not driving 270 degrees in the roundabout but 90 degrees in the oncoming traffic. But what is not at all "amusing" in road traffic is overtaking in spite of oncoming traffic or simply in bends with no view to the front.
The "forbidden" caste system allows wealthy Indians to ignore the misery of the homeless, migrant workers and poor farmers. There is no such thing as a tap water supply, sewer system, toilets, old age pension and social welfare for the masses.
As in almost all developing countries, something is being built (roads, houses, parks, sanitary facilities, etc.). In the following time, the property is neither maintained nor repaired and is therefore desolate at some point.
Many in our group and we are happy to be able to leave India in a few days (even if we have to drive briefly through India twice for geographical reasons, to Nepal and Bhutan).
04.03.2018, Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand, India
Today it took us three hours until we were halfway out of Delhi to the east. Then a massive height restriction beacon prevented us from continuing. But a nice Indian and his friend showed us on the Mororrad a detour through a residential area with narrow streets, but enough height. They refused a small recognition obolus.
Further towards the Nepalese border (this is still 80 km away from our overnight accommodation), the road got worse and worse. In Udham Singh Nagar we drove to the parking lot of a resort and just after we had left the pool, it actually dripped a little from the clouds that had moved up in the meantime. Our first rainfall this year.
km 275 (31.041), N 28.95910 °, E 79.38196 °
05.03.2018, Mahendranagar, Nepal
The biggest challenge today was crossing the border river Mahakali Nadi from India to Nepal. If it were Europe, a simple changing traffic light would be necessary to regulate the narrow single-lane passage across the river on the weir. Half a dozen marshallers were not able to regulate the traffic halfway because everyone (Indian, Nepalese) just drove away. But as always it finally worked, albeit in twice the time. The exit procedure in India was again a bureaucracy lesson, as was the entry procedure in Nepal. But everything relaxed and so we were at the airport (well, a grass runway) in Mahendranagar by 1:00 p.m., where we waited until everyone was there.
Then we drove to the Suklaphanta Jungle Lodge (the driveway had to be prepared so that large vehicles could pass through). In the evening we celebrated Christian's birthday and were then prepared a bit for the country by the Nepalese guide.
The first impression was that it was like India. But we're still in the lowlands, where it's as hot as India. We will only reach higher altitudes in the next few days. We only saw a few foothills of the Himalayas in the distance.
km 97 (31.138), N 28.95666 °, E 80.14699 °
06.03.2018, Bardia NP, Nepal
There is only one main road in Nepal that goes from west to east and we followed it further eastwards to the Bardia National Park. There are Bengal tigers, leopards, elephants, Indian rhinos, gavials (a species of crocodile) and various species of deer and antelope.
Tomorrow we will do a trail into the national park. As always, do not expect to see any of the large animal species. But maybe we'll be lucky.
In any case, we didn't have any luck at any ATM today. But our remaining Indian rupees were also accepted.
km 152 (31.290), N 28.46443 °, E 81.24890 °
07.03.2018, Bardia NP, Nepal
It was a nice morning hike through the Bardia National Park today, but in terms of wildlife it was a zero number.
In a group of 10 we went on a tiger safari with a guide, he was armed with a stick. We saw loads of tiger tracks, rhinoceros tracks and elephant tracks - but no corresponding animal. Except for two ducks in a pond, we saw almost no wild animals.
But the hike through the wilderness was still very nice because even after the many days of driving we had a corresponding urge to move. After all, the hike took 3 hours.
Small episode on the side: At night we are not supposed to get out of the vehicle because of the leopards (we are right next to the perforated fence of the national park).
08.03.2018, Ramdi, Nepal
If today's stage had been suggested like that, we would have been pretty pissed off. But one after anonther:
Pokhara is the outdoor hotspot in Nepal. In order to have more time there, we decided to skip two stages and instead of the 11th on 9th March. to be there. But that required a bigger stage today. If we had known how bad and mountainous and winding the last 60 km would be, we would not have gone that far today. But shortly after the onset of darkness we were at the goal we had set ourselves and were happy that tomorrow "only" 95 km to Pokhara will be to drive. Because of the topography and the condition of the road, however, this 95 km could stretch.
Today was International Women's Day and this is celebrated in Nepal. It is a public holiday and there were festively dressed women everywhere or already gathered and danced.
Apparently not all women know this or are not allowed to participate (women are also often oppressed in Nepal): Many women "had" to work too.
km 350 (31.640), N 27.90142 °, E 83.63550 °
09.03.2018, Pokhara, Nepal
For the 96 km to Pokhara on the Siddhartha Highway we needed 4 hours today. The asphalt road was broken by scree every few hundred meters. Mostly where there are gullies from the mountain.
But the view was very nice and we weren't under any time pressure.
Pokhara is a little over 800 m high and has a population of 350,000. The special thing is that the Himalayas rise so steeply from 1,000 m to 8,000 m like nowhere else.
First we drove to a large supermarket and then to our parking space near Lake Phewa. The square is a park with stone sculptures.
Our activities were stopped for the time being by a thunderstorm with heavy rain, so we had time to browse the internet a bit.
km 96 (31.736), N 28.20078 °, E 83.96641 °
03/10/2018, Pokhara, Nepal
We are not far from a Buddhist monastery and the trumpets were blowing and the bells were ringing at 5:00 a.m. But relatively subtle.
When the sun rose in the now clear sky, the seven and eight thousand meter peaks of the Annapurna group shone in the distance. Simply terrific. In particular, the Machapuchare, 25 km away (there are different spellings), the "fish tail" (from the west you can see two peaks), stands out. It is also called the Matterhorn of Pokhara. By the way: The mountain has not yet been officially climbed. An expedition came up to 50 m near the summit in 1957, but had to break off. In 1964 the then Nepalese king issued an ascent ban.
Lakeside Road stretches for miles along the lake with hundreds of shops (outdoor clothing, tours, etc.) and eateries. It was fun to stroll around again without being constantly harassed by honking mopeds, as in India.
Otherwise it was a kind of rest day and we mentally prepared for the tours that we were considering in the next few days.
03/11/2018, Pokhara, Nepal
Today we went to the World Peace Pagoda for acclimatization. The way was not always easy to find, because there are no signs, you should rent a guide in Nepal.
When we were at the stupa after 1.5 hours, we made the decision, still fresh, to go around the lake completely.
The weather wasn't a problem in India the whole time. Every day the sun shone from morning to evening. Here in the mountains the weather is a problem again. Every afternoon for the last two days it started to thunderstorm. And the view: if we had hoped to see the Annapurna group from the stupa, that was nothing today.
The circumnavigation of the lake was not as easy as expected. The path was difficult to find and there are extensive swamp areas at the western end of the lake. Good for the water buffalo, but not for us. So we had to walk many kilometers "detour" until we came back to the other side. In addition, a thunderstorm had started again and we got soaking wet.
We were able to shorten a few kilometers with the chicken bus, but we were on our feet for seven hours and groggy. But satisfied about our first trek in Nepal.
03/12/2018, Pokhara, Nepal
Today we have a day of rest. Time enough to watch the weddings unfold before our eyes. We are standing next to a temple and this morning tents were set up on the lawn next to us for the wedding parties. Around noon came two wedding procession (the astrologers had probably calculated today's Monday as ideal) with music and the whole noon was celebrated in the temple.
Celebrating here means that people stand or sit around (usually separated by sex) and a few men danced (alone) to the music. There is no big catering and after a few hours it is all over. Even today in Nepal the partner is chosen by the parents and this partner must be from the same caste.
03/13/2018, Pokhara, Nepal
The weather was actually well forecast when we set out for the Sarangkot mountain at 5:00 a.m. We took a minibus up the 1,600 m high mountain, which usually offers a good view of the Annapurna group. But today the peaks came out of the clouds very tentatively, so that there was only one beautiful sunrise. Tomorrow we will embark on a two-day trekking tour. Maybe then there will be the ultimate view of the Himalayan giants.
14.03. and 15.03.2018, Pokhara, Nepal
To get straight to the point: The clouds have not broken up again.
Our trekking tour, one should perhaps say our taster trekking tour, began with a minibus ride to Phedi, where we climbed to Dhampus. Trial tour, because real tours start from 5 days and the Annapurna round lasts 14 to 16 days. You also need a permit, which is 64 euros for two people. In Dhampus we stayed at the Dhaulagiri-View-Hotel (1,800 m), which usually offers a great view of the Annapurna group. Just not at the moment.
Instead of the Annapurna, we devoted ourselves to the culinary offerings of the hotel and ate Mon-Mon, which are a kind of Maultaschen, and in the evening we ate Dal Bhat, the Nepalese form of Indian thali (rice with lentils and other vegetables).
The food was good, the rooms were not so good as they were damp and cold and we didn't spend a good night on the mattress either. At least we hoped to see Annapurna the next morning.
But that was nothing again and after breakfast we went up to the 300 m higher Australian Camp and from there, after a longer break, descended to the street where the minibuses were waiting. At 1 p.m. we were back in Phokara.
The trekking tour was still very nice and now we hope to really see the Himalayas again in the further course of our Nepal trip. On March 10th we had already seen the Annapurna group from Phokara in the morning. The trekking season in Nepal is March-April and October-November. The view is usually optimal there. As bad as this March. says our guide, he would have never seen it before.
16.03.2018, near Bandipur, Nepal
We tried everything to get the best view of the eight-thousanders. Got up at 4 a.m. and hiked up to 2,000m. All for free.
Only today, on our last morning in Pokhara, did the Himalayas show their best side. The thunderstorm last night had blown away all the clouds.
From a shell on the 5th floor, 100 m from our parking space, you could also see the Himalayas very well, as the pictures show.
The whole trip to Bandipur also usually offered a spectacular view.
Bandipur is a small town on a ridge, 75 km east of Pokhara (Kathmandu). The special thing is the small town center with historic houses that were built by the Newari tribe. The Newari are traders who had acquired a certain wealth in trade with India and Tibet and showed this in some magnificent houses (related to Nepal).
Today the town is dominated by tourism and can only be reached via an 8 km long, steep and narrow road from the valley. This is also the reason why we parked down in the valley and drove up with a bus. There are also no parking spaces.
From a vantage point near Bandipur we could also see the Manaslu massif (8,163 m) in the distance. Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain on earth, Dhaulagiri the seventh highest.
km 74 (31.810), N 27.92586 °, E 84.49122 °
03/17/2018, Chitwan NP, Paradise Resort, Nepal
For the stage to Chitwan, the most famous national park in Nepal, we had to get up early. Not because it was 66 km, but because the route leads south through a valley where the road has been renewed for years. Specifically, this meant that there was a full closure from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and of course, like many others, we wanted to go through beforehand. It then took us 3.5 hours to get to Chitwan.
But the Paradise Resort, where we were standing, had a nice swimming pool and we were again in the Terai, the lowlands in Nepal, where the climate is subtropical.
km 66 (31.876), N 27.58300 °, E 84.48849 °
03/18/2018, Chitwan NP, Paradise Resort, Nepal
The Chitwan National Park is one of the top addresses for visitors to Nepal. On almost 1,000 square kilometers, it is home to elephants, tigers, leopards and Indian rhinos, to name just a few of the most important large animal species. 543 species of birds are said to be present. And the way the bird calls sounded last night (we are standing right on the edge of the park), it is quite to be believed. The national park is also a world heritage site.
We are only about half of the vehicles in Chitwan because some drive independently through Nepal and another part has already driven ahead to Kathmandu because they didn't want to go through the annoying construction site yesterday. That's why our trips today were, so to speak, in a small group.
At 8:00 am we were already on the elephant for the jungle ride. It was really a jungle ride because the elephants (led by the mahud) didn't think of paths but rather of elephant paths. And so we rode through the bushes and circled a pair of Indian rhinos to photograph them.
The elephant ride today was much more pleasant than our last ride in Jaipur (February 23).Although there were five of us sitting on the animal with the mahud, the railing was higher and somehow it rocked more pleasantly (in Jaipur, Rita and I also had an extremely large animal).
After a short refreshment drink for the elephant in the river, we went back again without seeing any other large animals. Still a nice trip.
In the afternoon we took another trip with the dugout canoe on said river. It was more like we drifted down the river, mostly leisurely. But that way, almost silently, we could see the animals on the bank. After a while we also stopped counting the numerous swamp crocodiles.
03/19/2018, Chitwan NP, Paradise Resort, Nepal
The highlight of the day was the elephant bath in the river. So we went down to the river at 10:00 a.m. and gradually all the elephants trotted in. After their early shift, you could see that they really enjoyed bathing and they were really exuberant.
For a fee you can also take part in the bath and get the shower from the elephant. Cumshot tourists is part of the program.
But also personal hygiene. The mahuds rubbed the elephant skin with rough stones and the elephants lay gleefully on their side in the water.
This elephant bath was also fun for us and we could have watched for hours.
March 20, 2018, Daman, Nepal
Five vehicles drove the Tribhuvan Highway today, which leads via Daman to Kathmandu. The remaining vehicles from Chitwan drove to Kathmandu via the "construction site" (see March 17). It's longer, but the road is better.
We stayed in Daman as planned because we want to enjoy the famous Himalayan view next morning. It should extend from Dhaulagiri in the west to Mount Everest in the east. Daman is 2,322 m high and the Tribhuvan Highway is really in very bad shape. So it took us 90 minutes for the first 60 km, still on the east-west highway in the valley. We then completed the remaining 60 km in 4 hours, mostly in first or second gear.
km 120 (31.996), N 27.61032 °, E 85.09397 °
03/21/2018, Kathmandu, Nepal
According to the motto "always gets worse", the road down from Daman was even worse and it took us over 4 hours for 50 km to the main road to Kathmandu. The access road to Kathmandu was also in a catastrophic condition and the traffic was heavy. But at 1:00 p.m. we were at our stand in Kathmandu.
We set out soon enough. At 5:45 we were at the observation tower next to our parking space in Daman. We had to wake the guard to be let up.
The sun rose wonderfully, but the Himalayan giants stayed hidden in the haze. So we drove off at 7:30 a.m., after breakfast.
In the evening there was still, we were almost all vehicles reunited in Kathmandu, a nice dinner in the "typical Nepalese restaurant" with folklore. We drank Kölsch from the Sherpa brewery, brewed here as a craft beer. Wasn't that bad at all.
km 82 (32.078), N 27.71186 °, E 85.33326 °
22.03.2018, Kathmandu, Nepal
Today we (the group) wanted to play it safe and see the Himalayas and Mount Everest for sure: Above the clouds on a scenic flight.
We drove off again early in the morning (5:30 a.m.) to start with the first ray of sunshine. I, Rita hadn't come with me, was surprised to see a large machine (ATR 72 - turboprop) that can hold 74 passengers. But in order to give all passengers a good view, only the window seats are sold.
Nevertheless, I was not so satisfied because on the one-hour flight along the main Himalayan ridge to Mount Everest, first the left side of the window (where I was sitting) saw the mountains, and then, after the turn, the passengers seated on the right. That would normally be fair, but the "return flight" was closer to the mountains and the sun was better.
After all, passengers were allowed to take turns taking a look into the cockpit, I was the last to be there a few minutes longer and then got my money's worth. All good.
When disembarking there was still a "certificate" for participation in the "best summit flight in the world". I have now seen the most important Himalayan peaks, even if I cannot name them, apart from Everest.
The flight then took almost two hours because we had to circle around Kathmandu for an hour before landing.
In the afternoon we have now visited a small part of Kathmandu. First the Swayambhunath Temple, high on a hill above Kathmandu. Swayambhunath is one of the oldest (2,500 years old) temple complexes in the world, along with the Borobudur temple (Java island). This temple was also badly damaged in the 2015 earthquake and is still being rebuilt. It is a sanctuary for both Buddhists and Hindus. As with all Asian temples, there are countless myths and legends about the origin of the temple.
The old town of Kathmandu around Durbar Square, the former royal palace, was particularly hard hit by the earthquake and today the Chinese and Americans are also trying to rebuild the world cultural heritage. Many buildings that have not been destroyed still need a support corset until they can stand alone again.
Despite the many vacant lots, one can still imagine the grandeur of this historic complex. There are also countless myths about the child goddess Kumari, who is selected in a ceremony from many candidates (ages 4-6) and is goddess until she has her first menstruation. Otherwise life as a "goddess" is not worth striving for. She lives the whole time, interrupted by attending ceremonies, in the temple, cared for and guarded by a foster father. After her time as a goddess, she won't find a husband either, because no Nepalese want to marry a goddess.
A couple of times a day, at irregular times, she should show herself at a window. Of course, it brings happiness again when you see them.
A rickshaw ride back rounded off today's sightseeing program.
23.03.2018, Kathmandu, Nepal
We skipped today's excursion to Bhaktapur and Patan, neighboring cities of Kathmandu with similar palace complexes (similarly also destroyed) as in Durbar Square.
Urgent maintenance work and bread baking were on the plan. Baking bread is getting better and better now. Jürgen had given us a sourdough mother and now the breads, like the sunflower seed bread in the photo, turn out better and better.
We (the group) always get spare parts brought with us whenever team members or others from our group fly over from Europe (delivered with DHL would result in almost insurmountable problems at customs). From photo batteries to shock absorbers and taillights. The very bad roads just take their toll. The sprinters in particular (most of the base vehicles are sprinters) have broken shock absorbers, stabilizers, broken disel particle filter mountings, etc. This is also due to the fact that the chassis are mostly loaded with 4 to 5 tons.
Other group members also worked on their vehicles today to install the supplied spare parts.
Tomorrow it will finally continue.
24.03.2018, Bardibas, Nepal
Today's route to Bardibas, in a southerly direction, after we had left the greater Kathmandu area, was scenic and mountainous and even the road, daring in serpentines, was passable in terms of surface. The heavy traffic and the fact that the street was very narrow was less nice. This led to some very tight situations for us, especially since the trucks and buses had the tendency to drive very centrally (were they afraid of the abyss?).
In any case, Rosemarie's rear-view mirror was broken and Ingrid and Achim's right side of a truck was ripped open. The vehicle was makeshift repairs all evening. Of course there was nothing to be got from the truck driver.
km 177 (32.255), N 27.00584 °, E 85.90483 °
25.03.2018, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal
Today the road was very good with a few exceptions. We also moved in flat terrain, the Terai. At the destination today, the altitude was only 80 m. Accordingly, the temperatures are well over 30 degrees.
Our ideas about Nepal were: cold high mountain country. But now we are on the 26th parallel north, such as Luxor in Egypt and it is subtropical.
Located near India, the people and the villages here in southern Nepal have an Indian feel.
The wildlife reserve where we park is mainly a bird sanctuary and the migratory birds have already left their roosts here after winter.
Tomorrow we will continue to the Indian border and enter India again the day after tomorrow.
km 143 (32.398), N 26.62112 °, E 87.03271 °
26.03.2018, Mechinagar, Nepal
Violent twittering and croaking, even before sunrise, woke us up in the morning. But better than horn and engine noise.
Almost the whole group had to leave at the same time because we were standing one behind the other. Except for the heavier traffic, the journey was problem-free.
We then stood at a mushroom farm, 3 km from the Indian border. Viewing and buying a few mushrooms was kind of mandatory.
km 113 (32.511), N 26.66131 °, E 88.11442 °
27.03.2018, Shiliguri, West Bengal, India
Border crossings are always a nuisance. Today there was also the fact that the IT failed on the Indian side and everything had to be done by hand. Not that you had to queue for hours, our guides did it in the background, but the waiting is still not pleasant.
But already at 1 p.m. we had fought our way through Shiliguri and were able to move into a newly opened hotel. The pool was also very nice, everything was still new, and so we were able to end the first day in India relaxed.
Today we already had tea plantations on the roadside, at the moment the first flush is driving out the most valuable tea and the harvest is in full swing. Tomorrow we will visit one of the most famous tea growing areas in the world, Darjeeling.
When we came here on January 4th, 2018, we were already in Shiliguri, if only for a stop in a supermarket. We went to see him again today.
km 37 (32.548), N 26.75007 °, E 88.43822 °
28.03.2018, Shiliguri, West Bengal, India
Today's trip to Darjeeling went a little differently than planned. But one thing at a time: early in the morning we set off for Darjeeling in a few jeeps. It is "only" 70 km, but Darjeeling is 2,185 m high and can only be reached, except by narrow-gauge railway, via the narrow Hill Cart Road from Shiliguri. After two hours we were 1,500 m high and already in the Darjeeling tea-growing area, we had a stylish tea break at "Margret's Deck", a tastefully decorated tea house on the roadside.
Darjeeling was the summer resort of the British colonial administration and famous for its mild climate. Today it is a smog-infested city with a population of 120,000. At that time the only means of transport was the "Darjeeling Himalaya Railway" from Shiliguri to Darjeeling, which in India is called the "Toy Train", probably because the narrow-gauge railway is so cute. The railway has been a World Heritage Site since 1999.
Therefore, the rush is very large and our guides had to let all relationships play, so that we still got tickets for the section Darjeeling - Ghum. The train is usually booked out for a long time.
Around 12:30 we left with the steam locomotive and after an hour we were up in Ghum, where the highest point of the Indian railway network is. The trip was adventurous with two technical interruptions (topping up water and building up pressure for the last climb) and the train almost drove through the neighboring houses, so that you had to be careful not to lean out of the window while taking pictures. The technical condition of the rolling stock and the rails would give every German railroad worker a screaming fit.
In addition, it was a smoky affair because the soot came in through all the holes in the car.
We decided not to visit a tea plantation (we already visited a tea plantation in China on October 31, 2017 - China has the older tea tradition like India) and then drove the almost three hours down to Shiliguri.
In theory, one could also have taken the narrow-gauge railway from Shiliguri to Darjeeling. If you get tickets, the journey with the diesel locomotive takes 7-8 hours one way.
29.03.2018, Jaigaon (near the border to Bhutan), West Bengal, India
We drove most of today's route on January 3rd and 4th, back then to the west. Most of the time the road was ok, but there were traffic jams again at construction sites. This time we were more experienced and just drove past the traffic jam (on the opposite lane) and pushed our way back into the front. We have learned everything from the Indians and nobody gets upset.
Today we wanted to park as close as possible to the Bhutanese border so that we could come over soon tomorrow. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a high mountain country (80% of the area is over 2,000 m) and as big as Switzerland.
In terms of the weather, we experienced this as soon as we had just parked, a small thunderstorm came and it rained a little (we are not in the mountains yet, but the mountains are close).
Bhutan does not want mass tourism and so the regulations state that as a tourist you have to book a daily package of at least US $ 250 (hotel, food, guide). A special arrangement was negotiated for us, as we do not need a hotel or food. Nevertheless we have to pay 155 € per person per day.
The environment is said to be very important in Bhutan and environmental protection is anchored in the constitution. We are excited.
km 135 (32.683), N 26.81871 °, E 89.37495 °
30.03.2018, Paro, Bhutan
In fact, the difference between India and Bhutan was staggering: a little dirt, rubbish and slums, then clean streets and neat, well-kept houses. But one after anonther:
The border crossing was again in the middle of town (Jaigaon) and there was next to no parking. But no problem in India because nobody gets upset about wrongly parked vehicles. On the Bhutan side we had to walk a few hundred meters to get to the immigration office. Another huge difference: Everything was handled perfectly in terms of IT and also pretty quickly.
Driving-wise it went straight to the point. Immediately after the border we went uphill and in a thunderstorm we drove up the mountains. At first the road was wide and relatively good, later it became single-lane and very exposed. When there was oncoming traffic it was always pretty close and today it caught us. A car brushed against us and demolished its plastic fender. We only saw traces of contact on the rear tire. The police came, and so did our guides in the meantime. Normally "rich" Europeans are always to blame and after a long back and forth we paid 5,000 rupees (Indian money is also 1: 1 - 65 euros in Bhutan).
The mountain landscapes of Bhutan with white monasteries on the mountain ridges are fascinating. Vegetation and landscape are reminiscent of the Alps and we enjoyed the clean air (if there wasn't a smelly truck in front of us).
We drove to Paro and parked on a small river. A few tents ago a small folklore show was shown to us, followed by a buffet with Bhutanese specialties such as cheese chillies (extremely spicy). Well, it was pretty cold at an altitude of 2,300 m.
km 163 (32.846), N 27.44043 °, E 89.39888 °
March 31, 2018, Paro, Bhutan
During the first full moon in spring (the Christian Easter festival has the same date), the Tshechu festival, the most important Buddhist festival in Bhutan, is celebrated for 5 days in Paro. So important that even the king from the capital Thimphu comes over (only 1.5 hours by car).
The highlight of the festival is a huge thangka (a painted silk scarf that is 500 years old here in Paro), which is unrolled on the last day of the festival. Because of the light sensitivity of the cloth, the presentation takes place at 5 a.m., on the last day of the festival, i.e. today. And then comes the king.
However, the parade of the faithful lasts, they touch the cloth, which brings luck, a few hours and the king did not come until 8 o'clock. We were already there at 7 a.m.
Everyone, except us tourists, was dressed very festively. The king came and prayed, then mingled with the crowd and watched the dances (about the same dances as we saw last night). As I said, it was impressive that everything was really festive and the relaxed atmosphere of the event.
We have to use our, in the truest sense of the word, valuable time in Bhutan and so we were already on our way to the tiger's nest at 10 o'clock. The Tiger's Nest is a monastery complex on a cliff above the Paro Valley. The monastery can only be reached via a two-hour climb over 800 meters in altitude. The monastery is located at 3,100 m. The 2nd Buddha founded the monastery 1,000 years ago or so. He flew onto the cliff with a tiger, hence the name. We didn't make it today, but some of us rode up the first half on horseback. The mean thing is, if you have reached the same height as the monastery, you have to cross a deep gorge again. The weather today was mixed: sun, sleet and rain in alternating order. There were relatively many people on the way to the monastery. Lots of western tourists with their guides.All in all, it was a full day and since we saw the rolled up thangka we are forgiven of all sins.
April 2018 up to navigation
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