Basantpur nepal bridge
16th November 2014 – Basantpur, Nepal I was ticked and teased first, only to return to torture later, And it wasn’t the roads of a neighbour, it was my own country. But I had lived to see another day, and breath another whiff, Of the chaotic air in my land, where I was born, and remain free. I expected the Terai torture to continue today as well. But it didn’t. Surprisingly, Nepal sent me off with amazing roads for the last 200 Kms of my journey. No hill, no bumps, cruising all the way. And with some good views too, like the […]

Project 365: Day 138 – Another day, another border.

lahan nepal terai 2
15th November 2014 – Lahan, Nepal A bad road, and a rider. The relationship reeks of sadomasochism. Where the gravel turns to burning wax on sulking skin, And the rocks grew nails, long enough to go deep enough. But every dungeon has a door. And a safe word, to end the sin. I finally decided to leave Bhaktapur today, and head out of Nepal. I was already illegally riding here from yesterday, since I couldn’t renew my riding permit. I don’t mind getting fined, but might as well reduce the daily fine by getting out as early as I can. So, I […]

Project 365: Day 137 – Tortured by the Terai

Bhaktapur Nepal
14th November 2014 – Bhaktapur, Nepal They sold pots, trinkets, momos and anything else that could be sold here. And they painted a colourful canvas against the russet streets of this place. But its not the vendors who stole the eye of this hopeless shutterbug, It was their children who ran away with megabytes of my storage space. Last evening, I had made 2 new friends. One was a French photographer, who was volunteering in Nepal. And another was an Israeli girl, who was making her first visit to Nepal. And she informed us that somebody had promised to take her to […]

Project 365: Day 136 – The vendors and their assistants

bhaktapur pottery square in Nepal
13th November 2014 – Bhaktapur, Nepal The black clay, like a distressed maiden, purred in the hands of the man, He treated her right, pressed all the right areas, and made a woman out of a girl. And like an unseen force, guiding the light to crawl its way through the buildings, From meaningless clay, he somehow managed to reinvent a forlorn pearl. I have been staying in Bhaktapur the last couple of days, but didn’t get a chance to explore it, thanks to a date with bureaucracy yesterday. I met an Israeli girl yesterday, with whom I made a plan to explore it […]

Project 365: Day 135 – Pottery, temples and a lot of bliss

Kathmandu darbar square in Nepal.
12th November 2014 – Kathmandu, Nepal Before the officials in white shirts, sent me shuffling from table to table, Before I gave up, and pursued my choice of becoming a rebel, Before all that craziness got to my head, sending it into puddled waters, There was a little boy, a flock of pigeons, and me. All in a temple spell.   I moved to Bhaktapur last evening, about 20 KMs from Kathmandu. Primarily, because I was tired of the crazy part of Thamel that I was living in. Bhaktapur is beautiful, but I have not had a chance to explore it yet. I rode back […]

Project 365: Day 134 – Thank god for the SAARC!

Patan Darbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal.
11th November 2014 – Kathmandu, Nepal I dont trust too much when someone sells heritage to me, but if that someone is UNESCO, there must be something to the tale. I rode out to find a crafty little square, in the middle of a bustling city. With artefacts, temples, and cute little children, photogenic to the grandest scale.   I woke up very early in the morning today. Partly to drop one of my friends in the Kathmandu Tribhuvan airport, and then also to check out the morning frenzies at the Patan Darbar square. Darbar squares are a common occurrence throughout Central […]

Project 365: Day 133 – The first of many Darbars

Swayambhu monkey temple in Kathmandu, Nepal
10th November 2014 – Kathmandu, Nepal In a mountain, perched atop a city surrounded by mountains, There is a temple, buddhist at heart, but greets every saint and sinner. My camera grew restless here, and the shutter wouldn’t stop clicking. Between the monkey and the monk, the clouds were a clear winner. So, last night, I made one of my first mistakes in Nepal, notwithstanding the blotched Sarangkot trekking attempt. I choose to look for accommodation in Thamel, the backpacker district of Kathmandu. The only problem is, that Thamel is like Varanasi and Pushkar, with very narrow streets, and no place to park my […]

Project 365: Day 132 – Around an army of monkeys

Coffee in Pokhara, Nepal 3
9th November 2014 – Pokhara, Nepal There is an end to every trek, and to every long ride, they say. Mine doesn’t seem too near, as I keep egged on by warm smiles. Oxygen is a luxury that I seem to lack in Pokhara, but I don’t miss it much. I could live on coffee for eons to come. Or ride for unknown miles. It must be the thinner oxygen levels in the high altitudes of Nepal. I don’t know how else to explain my laziness ever since I have reached here. I am eating a lot, but seem to be always […]

Project 365: Day 131 – Riding on coffee to Kathmandu

Fewa lake in pokhara, Nepal.
8th November 2014 – Pokhara, Nepal After the beguiling excitement of a waterfall, and an expensive cave. After the sun said goodbye, and spread around its last few benevolent rays. There was just a boat. And the magnificent view of the lake cradling it. Reflections are a mind-numbing thing. They catch you off guard either ways. Since I had seen most of the touristy lakeside in Pokhara, I headed east today. Not before we visited a nice, little orphanage in central Pokhara. The Namaste foundation has been rescuing orphaned children for the last few years, and I heard of it from one of […]

Project 365: Day 130 – From lakeside, to the damside

7th November 2014 – Pokhara, Nepal I gave in finally, to the nudging and coercion from friends, too dear. To the slopes where the plains grew greener, and the clouds grew whiter. But a wrong turn makes a huge difference, even if the shutterbug loves it. Maybe we are not meant to meet. Sarangkot, and this impulsive hiker. I had 2 of my close friends from Singapore pay me a surprise visit yesterday. I wasn’t sure if they were coming to Nepal, but they did. And they even brought a surprise birthday cake, to compensate for the lonely birthday I had spent in Agra. […]

Project 365: Day 129 – Swinging by Sarangkot. Or maybe not.

The lake is a good distraction from the hiking options - Pokhara, Nepal 2
6th November 2014 – Pokhara, Nepal The hippies and hikers merged nonchalantly here. And toasted each other over some thukpas and pegs. But I am neither a hippie, and I can’t even hike out of my own home. I am told, that I am more efficient with 2 wheels than with 2 legs. I like Pokhara already. It has this sleepy, lazy touch to it, which appeals to me a lot. But there is one problem. I cannot stay here for more than a couple of days. That’s because Pokhara is a hiker’s town. It is the base for beginning treks to the Annapurna […]

Project 365: Day 128 – Beside the lakeside

Quite a ride it was today - Lumbini, Nepal
5th November 2014 – Lumbini, Nepal There were reflections to be seen, and cyclists to be gawked at, And those rickshaw drivers. Oh, those guys who never tire. I had to soak in all these sights, and more on the road, Before the rain sent chilled daggers into my soaked attire. I left Lumbini in the morning, towards Pokhara. Not before a lazy breakfast, and gawking at the reflections of the Buddha museum, and the rickshaw pullers etched against it. Turned out to be a mistake to waste that precious time. The distance from Lumbini to Pokhara was only 200 KM. But the […]

Project 365: Day 127 – Following the road to Pokhara

I am giving myself into the still life today - Lumbini, Nepal
4th November 2014 – Lumbini, Nepal Gluttony was the sin of the day, as I found lost proteins creeping back. Into a body that the roads had so mercilessly ravaged away. While my carb-goggles clouded my senses and decisions, The lotus and a reflection were the saving grace of the day. I realised today that I have been doing tired rides for the last few days. So, today was a day to sit back, and relax a bit. Lumbini may be a Buddhist place, but there are restaurants that serve meat and alcohol pretty much everywhere. The guesthouse that I stayed in had a […]

Project 365: Day 126 – Still as the water

Playing and praying - Lumbini, Nepal
3rd November 2014 – Lumbini, Nepal Surrounded by a religion that takes tolerance to a whole new level. By repetition, and by reciprocation, this doctrine was dinned. I find myself immersing to deep here, in waters that I never knew existed. Like a giant clock, the spinning wheels carried my prayers into the wind. Since I had crossed into Nepal only by sundown yesterday, I had barely seen anything in Lumbini yet. So, today was my day to step out and see what I could of this idyllic town. Lumbini, like Bodhgaya, is a very important place for the Buddhist tourist circuit […]

Project 365: Day 125 – In Buddha’s home ground

Everybody is crossing the horizon today. - Lumbini, Nepal
2nd November 2014 – Lumbini, Nepal The potholes continued, but the views kept getting more inspiring. There were stretches of green paddy fields, after the futile attempts to extort. While the sun took a bow, and retreated into a well-deserved oblivion, I realise that I’ve crossed an international border, and did not even flash my passport. I continued the dogged ride from Ghazipur today early morning. There was still 250 KMs to cover to the border, and never did I imagine that it would take me 10 hours to do that. The road deteriorated as I continued, and soon I was kicking up […]

Project 365: Day 124 – Crossing a border. Piece of cake!

This was the first post of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here. 1st July 2014 – Singapore From dust we rose and to dust we shall go And dust is […]

Project 365: Day 0 – The beginning