Nepal // The Eastern Terai and hills //

The Tribhuwan Rajpath: Hetauda to Birgunj

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For centuries the only developed corridor through the Terai, the gentler southern section of the Tribhuwan Rajpath served, before air travel, as every foreigner’s introduction to Nepal. A narrow-gauge railway used to run from Raxaul, the last Indian station, as far as Amlekhganj, from where dignitaries were transported by elephant over the first band of hills to Hetauda, then carried the rest of the way to Kathmandu by donkey or sedan chair. Those few who made the journey during Nepal’s pre-1951 isolation did so only by invitation of the prime minister or king. The construction of the Rajpath in the 1950s eliminated the need for elephants and sedan chairs, but the railway wasn’t decommissioned until the 1970s.

If you’re arriving from India, the Rajpath makes an exhilarating introduction to Nepal, particularly if coupled with an overnight stay in Daman, from where there’s a superb Himalayan panorama. The dramatic northern section of the Tribhuwan Rajpath, including Daman, is covered here.

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