Entering Nepal From India by Road
Nepal — where the mighty Everest stand. I have always been fascinated by the Mt. Everest. As a kid, I remember seeing her from distance, standing at some hill resort in India. In this post, I am detailing how I entered Kathmandu, Nepal from Calcutta, India.
From Calcutta, India
I started my journey from Calcutta, a bustling city in the East of India. Calcutta or Kolkata is considered as the gateway to the east, the very reason why the British made the city the centre of East India Company some 300 years back. Nepal Gate, which is the India-Nepal Border; and is an important landmark as far as this article is concerned, lies north of the city, some 700 km away.
With large number of Nepalese staying in the city and its surrounding, Kolkata is well connected to the Nepal Border by road and rail (not mentioning the air route here).
I was in Kolkata at a time when the city celebrates their most popular festival, the Durga Puja and it is very difficult to get a reserved train ticket at this time of the year (Sept-Oct).
So if you do not have a reserved train ticket, the other best option is to buy a bus ticket to Siliguri or NJP from the Esplanade Bus Terminus that lies in the heart of Kolkata.
The Bus Route
At the Esplanade Bus Terminal, you will find several kiosks that sell bus tickets to Siliguri and NJP (NJP or New Jalpaiguri is a twin town close to Siliguri). More than 2-3 buses leave Kolkata for Siliguri everyday.
My bus was scheduled to leave Calcutta at 9:30 pm. The bus was a decent one and was even air-conditioned! The next morning, after 12 hours of overnight bus journey, I reached Siliguri.
Reach Siliguri, India
On reaching Siliguri, with some guidance from the locals there, I boarded another local bus that was to take me to Panitanki (the India-Nepal Border). It took approximately 40 mins to reach Panitanki.
Panitanki, India – Nepal Border
From the bus stand again, I took a man-pulled trishaw or a “rickshaw,” to reach Nepal Gate.
My next plan was to cross the Nepal Gate by foot and then take another bus to reach Kathmandu, Nepal. But my undernourished rickshaw-puller, Madav, who attended school until 10th grade, suggested I take one of the low cost flights to reach Katmandu from a nearby airport as another bus journey could drain me out.
Now, these are information that a budget tripper always try to grab. Besides, travelling unplanned always give me the thrill to experience the unseen ‘n unheard.
Nepal Gate near Panitanki
So, on reaching Nepal Gate and getting my papers verified, I walked straight into the Nepalese territory by foot and headed to the direction given by Madav. I went into a local tour agency’s 6/7ft office and got a seat booked at the Bhadrapur-Kathmandu flight on Yeti Airlines. Check the link for details.
The Bhadrapur Airport is just 25 km away from Panitanki. I figured out that the agency that booked my flight ticket, had also arranged a cab to transfer me to the dwarf airport with no extra cost!
My flight was at 2:55 pm. Soon after checking and other formalities, I, along with 9 or 10 other passengers, “walked” into the 27 seater plane. The flight was on time. Soon some peanuts and drinks were served but each of us in the plane were more interested in the view we got as bonus. The mighty Mount Everest was visible; and with the afternoon sun falling on its snow covered peak, she looked magnificent!
Finally Kathmandu, Nepal
I reached Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport just 45 minutes later in broad daylight. Thus, ended my 18 hours adventurous journey from Kolkata to Kathmandu.
Point to Point Direction
- Board an overnight bus or train from Kolkata.
- Reach Siliguri the next morning. The buses usually take 10-15 hours, depending on the road conditions, while trains will take approximately 12 hours.
- Take another bus or auto-rickshaw from Siliguri Bus Stop to Panitanki. This will take 40 mins.
- Board a man-pulled “rickshaw” that will take you to the Panitanki Nepal Gate (the border).
- Walk into Nepal after your papers have been verified.
- Go to any tour agency selling Bhadrapur – Kathmandu air tickets.
- Board your flight and reach Katmandu in just 45 mins. The whole journey should take about 18 hours (approx).
- The whole journey is dirt cheap considering the regular flight fares to Kathmandu from Kolkata or New Delhi.
Why Take The Trip?
On this road cum air trip, you will gain the experience of an adventurous journey through India’s countryside using the most humblest of public transports, meeting new smiling people and the thrill of travelling a less known road.
There are several other ways of entering Nepal from India by road but this was my story here. What’s yours?