Absent-mindedly we chose to take the Daman way while coming to Kathmandu from Hetauda. Initially, we had planned to come through Kulekhani and Dakshinkali. But as I stopped in Bhainse, 9km from Hetauda to Kathmandu, for a cup of tea, I happened to stop it turning towards Daman way. Without thinking much, we took the Daman way after having a salty tea at Bhainse.
Initially, as this was the new route to both of us, Pritushji and me, we enjoyed the bike ride. The road spiraled up to the hill peaks. Bends after bends and hills after hills were crossed. But Sim Bhanjyang which was written many times in the milestones would never come. It looked from below that we are heading to one hill and later we would reach to another. Moreover, it was early morning and the fog had really darkened the surroundings. Both of us would break jokes and sense of humor in both of us made the trip not very boring. But Pritushji was seriously feeling cold.
Through the dark forests and misty roads, I kept driving. Sometimes, it was frightening as no vehicles or human beings would be found for many kilometers. We were very hungry for breakfast, but no such hotels would be found. Once the only link to
Kathmandu from the rest of the country is now almost deserted. This single lane Trivuwan Rajpath (129 Kms) lost its relevance after Prithvi Highway (Naubise-Pokhara) and Hetauda – Narayanghat section of East-west highway was constructed because Kathmandu-Narayanghat- Hetauda became much easier way. But, Tribhuwan Rajpath didn’t use to be so much deserted until a few years ago. It was occasionally taken as an alternative when the Naubise-Narayanghat Highway would be closed for many reasons including landslides and strikes. But after track of Kathmandu – Hetauda road was opened a few years ago through Kulekhani, this old time infrastructure has hugely lost the relevance. Now only a handful of trucks transporting vegetables from and consumer goods to these hills ply this road while over 300 sumos (special brand of Tata vehicles designed to climb the hills) travel each day through the new road commuting over 3,000 passengers.
As we arrived Sim Bhanjyang, Pritushji was already shivering from cold. We sat beside an oven in a hotel and took the breakfast. After warming up ourselves, we moved to Daman. I think Sim Bhanjyang (2388m) is more interesting than Daman (2330m) but it hasn't been much able to market itself. There was hardly anything to look from the view tower as all the mountains and hills around were submerged in the fog. Then we began descending the hills. The road was no different – bends after bends, straight down the hills. We felt like winning a battle when we finally descended to Naubise. However, more adventure was to come.
We were already in a hurry to reach office. To our bad luck, bike was punctured few kilometers from Naubise to Kathmandu. More interesting is that the bike was punctured in front of the repair shop where the problems could be solved. But to our utter despair, we discovered that the person who would mend had just left for Naubise and won't be back for another 2 hours. Aghast, what were we supposed to do? We stopped a motorbike and requested to drop Pritushji to Kathmandu and I drove the punctured bike to 4-5 kilometers uphill when I finally got a shop. The tube had been fully damaged and another shock came when the shop owner would tell me that he had no tubes of the size. Finally, one more hour was needed to wait before the new tube arrived. I have already been in such troubles. Therefore, I think these are the usual nuisances of riding motorbike in a long distance. I arrived Kathmandu well but very tired and exhausted. Cold, long and tiring drive and punctured bike made it really an adventure.
For pictures, click here.
For pictures, click here.