Kathmandu to Pokhara (203km)
The Road to Varanasi begins
After yet another night of celebrations, six crews were up early to take on the weekend traffic and begin their journey to Varanasi, India.
The Alvis 4.3 of Michael and Anne Wilkinson (Car 8), Mark Robinson and Yvonne Fuller’s Rolls Royce (Car 10), Richard Cunningham and Paddy Walker’s Mercedes 280SL (Car 20), Tim Wilkinson and Steph Duckworth’s Camel Range Rover (Car 21), Barbara Shooter’s Land Rover Defender, now with former entrant Mark Seymour co-driving (Car 24), and Rudi and Helga Friedrichs also in their Defender (Car 27).
Over the next four days, these six crews would drive around 750km across the border to India’s most holy city.
In the true spirit of the rally, some of the remaining crews came to wave us off as we headed out into the weekend traffic. Young girls were dancing on the pavement, playing fields hosted football tournaments, and the worshipers walked to temple.
As we left the city behind us, the countryside appeared with the roads lined with Peepal trees, mango and pineapples in full season, and a Sal tree plantation – with each tree worth thousands due to the strength of wood.
We followed the Trisuli River into Pokhara, a city on Phewa Lake, in central Nepal. It’s known as a gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular trail in the Himalayas.
Our first stop was the Gurkha Museum, which celebrates the achievements of the renowned Gurkha regiments. Accompanied by sound effects, it covers Gurkha history from the 19th-century Indian Uprising, through two World Wars to current-day disputes and peace-keeping missions, with a fascinating display on Gurkhas who have been awarded the Victoria Cross medal.
Its an emotional visit but more so for Richard Cunningham who was certain he’d found a picture of his father while looking through the exhibits.
After driving past the Lakeside area and out towards the other side of town, some dirt tracks and a river crossing lead to an oasis where we would spend the next two nights.
Nestled in the natural paradise of a lushly forested valley and set against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayan mountain range, The Pavilions Himalayas is a truly eco-sensitive luxury resort that gives back to the local community. Set on an organic farm, the crews would enjoy the natural beauty of Pokhara, the gateway to the Annapurna Himalayas.