A steamy lowland jungle before the long and cold ascent up through the Himalayas, bearing many dangers both seen and hiding in the foliage.
Between the broad flatlands of India harboring countless people along the banks of the Ganges and the mighty extremes of the Himalayas, there lies a stretch of a hot and humid jungle hiding countless beasts. Rhinos, elephants, tigers, bears and crocodiles are just a few of the creatures lurking in these parts. A hardy group of people live in this Terai region of Nepal, using the environment to their advantage and guiding travelers through the jungle. Encountering Chitwan as a Silk Road merchant must have been daunting, most likely employing the locals as guides.
First the meandering and murky Chitwan River must be crossed in dug out canoes, with many crocodiles ducking and diving as it goes by. A large screech is heard nearby as a crocodile jumps out of the river and grabs a cheeky monkey by the throat. Once on land, two guides wielding large swords, one in the front and one in the back, lead travelers through swaths of the forest, bearing a lookout for dangers. One of the guides tells of how he can’t feel his left arm anymore dues to an attack by a rhino. Elephants can be heard off in the distance along with the chatter of tree dwelling creatures. Large grass the height of elephants line a narrow trail for miles, hiding many beasts no doubt, perhaps even an elusive tiger. Suddenly, on the same narrow trail ahead of you comes waking a bear in your direction, warranting the group to slowly, then quickly, go the opposite way. Such is the experience of any who attempts to brave these wild lands, as was our experience when we ventured into these parts several years ago. Chitwan is a beautiful reminder that trust and dependence of others are crucial.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here:
By a long bus south from Kathmandu, followed by hiring two guides to take us into the jungle.
Observing the wildlife, including two rhinos, an elephant, a sloth bear, and numerous crocodiles and monkeys.
Having a story to tell where we were being followed by a sloth bear for at least 15 minutes. The guides were experienced and brought us to safety.
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
The crossing tested you in new ways, where tigers could be lurking and rhinos to be watched out for. To your relieve, the wildlife are now an afterthought as you climb higher and reach the Kathmandu Valley, where a good rest awaits.