Nowadays you can fly from India, or anywhere, to Nepal, of course. That would save pain in your backside, and enable you to see the Himalayas from the air - during the dry season only. In monsoon they're not visible (June-October or so).
However, you will then miss the rides through thrilling border towns like Gorakhpur, Senauli, Butwal and Beheliya, a whistle stop through Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, not to mention umpteen (about 12) road blocks by the Royal Nepalese Army looking sharp in their blue camo and AKs. You do get a beautiful, if long, bus ride through the lower Terai and shimmering green terraced rice fields. Most tourists don't go to this part of Nepal. It was cool to be vaulted from the dry, dusty drab Senauli border almost directly into the emerald plains then up, up into the misty hills, and to see the "real" Nepal prior to arrival in the big city.
An added attraction was the fresh rubble from recent landslides blocking the roads. This is a very real danger during rainy season. The meandering highway followed the steep Rapti river gorge for at least five hours, sheer hillsides with a violent grey ribbon of river below, swollen by the seasonal rains.
I came by train from India to Gorakhpur, UP, spent one night there at the Ellora Hotel (150rs, very clean up top), and caught the 4am bus to Senauli. From Senauli I was hauled by a 15 year old on a cycle rickshaw to the Indian border post, where they wearily stamp your exit. I then continued on the cycle rick across the border to Beheliya - now Nepal - where the considerably cheerier Nepali border people take your $30, photo and stamp you IN for 60 days. Change your money nearby. DON'T bring in any Indian 500Rs notes, they are banned right now in Nepal. 100s are fine but no 500s or 1000Rs. I didn't believe them and later had a really hard time changing the Indian 500s for Nepali. You have to find an Indian person (try hotel proprietors) and keep it top secret.
By this time one of a dozen touts will have approached you for the mini-bus ride into Kathmandu, which leaves either right there by the border, or a short taxi ride away. I paid about 250Indian Rs for the 9-hour ride - no extra charge for the serangi-playing urchins who climbed aboard to serenade us, or the old ladies in head wraps carrying baskets of turnips, or the 10 year old hawker with his backward baseball cap that careens out the open door and yells at every stop, "Ho Kamadoo Kamadoo! Ho Kamadoo Kamadoo!" Midway to "Kamadoo" another tout will have approached you offering a room. Don't worry, they are not nearly as pushy as the Indian touts. You can arrive in Kathmandu with a hotel and even a prearranged ride from the bus station (they cel phone ahead).
Don't eat any food on the road that is not from a sealed pack, ever. Even if you're starving, which you will be after nine hours of potato chips. I got giardia this way.
Sirensongs: Indologist At Large
Somewhere between Kangra, Kashmir and Kumbakonam, India
Sirensongs moved to India in 2002 to complete her six years' study of the ancient temple dance, Bharatanatyam. Apprenticing with a revered master in Madras, she learned a great deal; however, most of it was not about dance.
Disillusionment and childhood memories of "Tintin In Tibet" have led her to adventures as a spiritual investigative reporter throughout India, Nepal and Sri Lanka; as documented on this blogsite, her Flickr photo portfolio and various newsmedia (see sidebar).
She holds a certificate in Spoken Sanskrit from Rashtriya Samskrta Samsthan (deemed university, New Delhi) and is a lifetime member of ABHAI (Assoc. of Bharatanatyam Artists of India). Sirensongs is inordinately proud of her ability to read street signs and argue (successfully) with taxi drivers in Malayalam, Hindi, French and Nepali languages.
Her Tibetan, however, is still a total disgrace. She's working on it.
Quote: "Why do people go to India to find themselves? India is where you go to LOSE yourself."
Unless otherwise noted, every word and photograph on this website, including the phrases "Spiritual Investigative Reporter" and "Indologist at Large," is original and copyright from 2005 into perpetuity by Sirensongs (yes, I have a real name I use for legal purposes). It is not public domain. It is not there for the borrowing. If you would like to use it, write and ask nicely. Karma is a bitch. Thank you.