A far-stretched road and a plan to hit all the spots you have a market on the map! How does it sound? Cool. Awesome. Glorious. I know right! I can never stop falling for road-trips no matter how many of them I undertake every now and then. I love that innate sense of freedom and awe as soon as I hit the road and the spontaneity involved in the process. All you need is a handful of things in your backpack, dependable shoes, a food passport to hit up all the food spots you plan to stop by and most importantly a good drive.
I always depend on a four wheeler drive for the sheer comfort and the ease of stashing my stuff into it. The most memorable of all road trips of mine is the one across Kathmandu (Nepal). The one word to describe traffic in Nepal is ‘chaos’. We rented a car from Kathmandu and since the roads can go from being in good condition to worse in no time, we hired a Scorpio 4WD. On such hilly and rough terrains, you need to ensure that your drive has the best tyres. It is especially important when you know you won’t come across many repair workshops on the way. We took a sigh of relief as our drive was well equipped with CEAT Tyres, the finest ones! Ceat Tyres are known for their tough grip which obviously ensures better control on tough roads. Our route map was to first go from Kathmandu to Pokhara, classic 206 km (approx.) countryside, partially hilly stretch. The drive was smooth and nonetheless accompanied with picturesque views. There were plenty of options to savor on the way apart from the view and we made multiple halts. One thing that I can never forget is having the traditional Nepali meal called ‘Thakali Thali’ and dried fish which was served as a side dish, more like a salad. The whole road is dotted with villages and lush countryside. You can easily witness the reflection of Newari culture and architecture in the houses of locals.
You can explore a range of food varieties served en route if you are a foodie. The food of Nepal is simple, less spicy and far less adventurous than this country is. Nepalese are fond of their traditional thali and some Chinese food items like noodles and momos. Apart from that, you can’t ignore the lovely villages of Bandipur and Gorkha on the way. They are worth exploration if you want to take a peek into the Nepalese culture. We took frequent tea breaks and the food stalls were awesome. You can taste the real, organic flavor of the fruit grown well in the fertile countryside and thank god for no more meat sightings! Yeah really. If you had been to Kathmandu, you will know what I am talking about. Being a Hindu country, Nepalese are fond of meat and I somehow found it shocking to see meat lying cut open in random markets or streets. Anyhow! I love cultural food trips equally as the food walks, being not biased towards the food at all!
Next is our rather scary drive through bumpy and steep road that overlooks an enormous gorge. I could see the mountain peaks in the distance and kept clicking pictures to distract myself from the gorge. The stretch passed and so did the fear. We stopped at a touristy food joint and had samosas with chutney. Nepali food is spicy I tell you. I excused myself for taking pictures and came across many butterflies and beautiful moths strolling behind a garden.
As we moved ahead, the clear views of Annapurna range were evident. The views of snow clad peaks in the backdrop looked so definitive and surreal. I couldn’t do anything but gasp with awe. And then there was a life in front of us, which lie below the horizon. It was an uplifting experience truly!
After a long yet tiring drive, we reached the peaceful town of Pokhara in 6 hours. It looked like the roads have done a makeover as soon as we reached Pokhara. It was even more fun to drive through the Pokhara city. The serene Phewa Lake will help you unwind instantly. We settled for a little while, had something in a nice café and headed to World Peace Pagoda in a jiffy. We heard that the entry is closed after 7 pm so we rushed in our car. It took us odd 20 minutes to reach the top of the hill where Pagoda is located. And what a beauty it was! We stopped there for an hour to soak in the 360-degree view of Pokhara city, the mighty and the most beautiful mountain I ever saw – Fishtail mountain and the Phew Lake. We could spot the gliders and parachutes not very far away from us, Pokhara being the hub for adventure sport in Nepal. As soon as it began to dark, we headed back taking back loads of clicked memories and instant gratification.