When the time came around, it was hard to leave the peace and greenery of Chitwan. In April, the weather was getting a bit too hot and humid for my liking, although not too bad. But rumour had it that this was nothing compared to the rest of the Terai, which we were about to experience as we were heading westward towards Lumbini in the Central Terai.
The Terai refers to the flat, southern strip of Nepal, which borders Northern India. Most people are surprised to learn it even exists as everyone expects Nepal to be cold and mountainous, not hot and flat. Of course, Nepal is both, and everything in between, it just depends on when and where you are standing. Its actually astounding how much variety in landscape and temperature there is here.
Back on the road, it was hard to get pictures from the moving vehicle. On the flat tarmac it was possible to drive faster, and the small towns and agriculture centers whizzed by at speed. And, yes, it was very hot and dusty, and some of the major towns were ugly (non-descript at best) and there was no reason to stop and see more.
What I did like was the agricultural areas. The Terai is known as Nepal’s bread basket. And to prove it was saw endless acres of wheat, which happened to be harvesting as we were there. 99% of the harvesting was by hand, with long medieval scythes. (It looked backbreaking and I can’t imagine doing it in the heat.) However, we did see a couple of bright green combine harvesters at work in the massive sea of beige.
If Kathmandu is grey, the Terai is beige. Beige mud houses, dusty unpaved beige streets and unending fields of beige crops. And hot, did I mention it was hot?!…. So where in all this hot beigeness would we find the birthplace of one of the major major religious leaders in the world and whatever was it doing here…..? We were about to find out….