Posts Tagged ‘Terrai

27
Oct
11

The Siddharta Highway

Nepal´s calling and in pleasent anticipation I will give a route descritpion about Nepals most beautiful highway, the Siddharta Rajmarg. Even though it is an easy and short ride, it has its charme and is a very nice one.

This 1970 opened road connects Pokhara to Butwal, the western middle country with the Terrai further to Sunauli with the bordercrossing to India south of Bhairahawa (Siddhartanagar). Typically for this stretch are deep gorges with boiling rivers, great views over some snowcapped mountains and the rural Nepali life in the smaller settlements along the road. Normaly it would take two- three cycling days (depends which direction you go), but it is strongly recommended to take time and explore the area a little deeper, for example the beautiful hill town of Tansen/ Palpa or Lumbini, the holy Buddhist town, where Siddharta Gautama was born in 563 before Chr.

Pokhara- Tansen/ Palpa- Lumbini- Sunauli (India) ~190km

Pokhara (800m)- Waling (800m), 65km, asc. 700m, dsc. 700m, max. 1180m, min 790m

Start in Pokhara heading south, leaving Damside turn right at Berauta Chowk and passing the first roadmarker of the Siddharta Rajmarg and getting through Chorepatan with the peacful Tibetan settlement of Tashi Ling (worth a visit) and the gorge with the famous Devi Falls. Now a climb starts of 20km leaving the Pokhara- Valley to the highest point on this day, the gate to Pokhara- Valley with 1180m above sealevel. After this warm- up its a pleasent ride down to Syangja set in a nice valley. Ascents and descents are changing but in generally its an easy ride with great views over nice gorges, green rice- paddies with singing farmers and small villages with typically Nepali houses and also passing small street- towns build along the roads, with more or less charme. Soon the town of Waling greets you, set in the scenic Adhikhola- Valley. Waling has a choice of some Guest- Houses along the mainroad, but they are not very cheerful and it could be noisy during night due to the location on the Highway. Exploring the Bazar road or the Valley are the only things to do here, but still worth. You can also continue a few km further, to the next town where accomodation is also available.

Waling (800m)- Tansen/ Palpa- Butwal (285m), 100km, asc. 100m, dsc. 1500m, max.1200m, min. 285m

From Waling it begins with some flat k´s before winding down on a narrow road to the town of Ramdi, crossing the Kali Gandaki River at the lowest point beetween Pokhara and Butwal at 500m. The scenery and the villages become more rugged and rural, the road winds through the narrow dramatic mountain scenery, mostly with a river set deep on the one hand and rocks rising high on the other. Get ready for a long ascent, up a small ´pass´ (don´t miss the views over the valley), but be aware the road climbs a little more up to 1200m, before descending down to Bartung, the junction to Tansen/ Palpa (1400m), from here its a last sweaty 6km up to this pleasent historical hill town. Palpa doesn´t look cheerful from the Highway through it is worth spending a few days exploring the ancient centre of Tansen and the walks in the surrounding hills with superb Himalaya- Views.

From here its an almost 40km downhill ride to the town of Butwal. But take it easy and enjoy the views over gorges with rivers and green valleys. After winding down the mountains passing by a big hindu- temple, were devotees threw coins and will pray or thank for a safe trip over this dramatic road. 4km more the mountains spit you out into the town of bustling Butwal a typically Terrai Town, hot, dusty and crowded. Butwal has a big choice of GuestHouses, Lodges and Hotels, but none are very inviting.

Butwal- Lumbini, 45km, flat, flat flat

Butwal welcomes you to the Terrai.To the sacred town of Lumbini its about 45km further, heading south follow the main road to Bhairahawa (Siddhartanagar) on the roundabout, which cannot be missed because of the huge Buddha image atop, head right and its a last 20 more k´s to the birthplace of Lord Buddha. After Butwal you will see a completly different Nepal than in the mountain areas of Kathmandu and Pokhara, its a little more `Indiantouched´ and flat, hot and dusty. Lumbini has a decent range of Accomodation available, but its a little overpriced.

further exploration around Lumbini

27km west lies the ancient Kapilavastu, where Siddharta spend most of his childhood, with ruins of the former palace. This way get connected to the Mahendra Highway, locals will show the direction.

to India:

From Lumbini its straightforward to the Bordertown of Sunauli, get back to Bhairahawa (Siddhartanagar) and 4km further south India begins.

For those want explore the far western Terrai heading West its only 400km along the Mahendra Rajmarg ( East- West Highway) to Mahendranagar, the most western border to India. For cyclist heading to the western Himalaya of northern India. Approx. halfway the Bardia National Park awaits visitors with wildlife, if you can see them. This stretch is mostly flat except a small section between Chanauta and Bhaluwang. The road sometimes seems endless because of the lack of bends, so its actually straightforward, but the Terrai has its special touch of Nepal…




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