Saturday Features

When Travelling

- Niva Rajbangshi

Sep 29, 2018-

When travelling, we all want to document our journey with beautiful images and yet in our scramble to take the perfect shot we sometimes fail to notice so much along the way. This photo series is a collection of memories from a rushed travelogue. A colleague and I went on a photo assignment that took us from the eastern hills of Illam and Kanyam, to the plains of Chitwan and then back up again into the western hills and the lake city of Pokhara--in just five days and four nights we managed to traverse a substantial portion of our small nation. When looking at these pictures, I can still feel the cold of the winter mist and the exhaustion from the many sleepless nights spent on a bus--but they also bring back the excitement and rush of the hectic journey, as well as the fun we unfailingly had along the way.

We flew from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur to save up on time, drove straight to Illam the same day and got there late in the night. In between taking photos for the assignment, I managed to get a few shots for myself of the beautiful tea estates in Illam. That very evening we took a crowded bus back to Bhadrapur and immediately started looking for a bus to go to Sauraha, Chitwan.  After some searching, we managed to find a bus and two seats. Our seats were at the very front so passing vehicles would glare their headlight right on our faces which meant we could not get any sleep that night. Thankfully, I had a camera at hand and managed to get some shots of the highway at night time; one of my personal favourites is a picture of the brightly lit Koshi barrage.

When the bus stopped at four in morning, we got off to realise it was the wrong stop—we were at Naranghat, not Sauraha so we promptly took a tempo to our intended destination. The ride wasn’t long but it was bitterly cold. Upon reaching Sauraha, we immediately made our way to the Narayani River, crossed the damn thing and started on our jungle walk. I was pretty excited for this part as I was hoping to see some wild animals. Sadly, it was not to be. All we saw were some paw prints of foxes and tigers and this one rhino that was hiding under thick tall grass. Soon after, we made our way to Pokhara. We reached the city late in the afternoon and immediately set out to take more pictures. Then, the very next morning we took the first bus back to Kathmandu.

A lot of the best photos I took in this journey came about as a result of accidents and happenstance. If we hadn’t taken those front seats in the bus to Chitwan from Illam that night, I wouldn’t have been awake to see the bright lights of Koshi barrage. If we had not gotten into the wrong bus that dropped us at Narayanghat instead of Sauraha, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the early morning tempo ride through the mist nor seen those graceful local women riding on their cycles. If I had not given into the spontaneity, these hectic five days would not be worth recounting. And that is perhaps true for all the journeys that we take in our separate lives.

Out of place, fitting in.

A morning shower.

You seldom find what you are looking for.

Yatra on a tanga.

All for a square meal.

Tarai on the back of a speeding tuktuk.

Border blues.

Roll on, roll on.

An eye for detail.

Published: 29-09-2018 08:26

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