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IN THE LAND OF THE GURKHAS'


AN AUTUMN WALK IN NEPAL (1985)
















The story of my love affair with Nepal is long and complex, and no one, not even myself, knows how I was first drawn to this poor yet beautiful country sandwiched between the Ganges plain of India and the high mountain barrier that is the Himalayas. Suffice it to say that in 1983 I travelled in India and then in Nepal, for what was to be a 'once-in-a-lifetime' visit. Unfortunately the travel bug got me, as did a love for Nepal and the Nepalese people, and in 1985 I joined a party for what was described as an 'easy autumn walk' in the foothills of the Annapurna range.


In our eighteen days trekking we walked up deep river valleys, and along wooded ridges, using major trade routes and little explored tracks. We saw sub-tropical vegetation and alpine meadows, whilst to the South were range upon range of foothills; to the North were the high mountains: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Macchapuchare. In the daytime we walked through terraced fields and little villages, the home of tribal groups like the Tamangs, the Chhretri, and the Gurungs, from whom the famed Gurkhas are chiefly recruited, whilst in the evening our tents were pitched by a stream, or on a ridge, with breathtaking views to the mountains. We walked also through a land that was soon to change: in the early eighties roads were rare in this western part of Nepal; now they penetrate deep into the country and the walk, as we did it would not be viable today.


'In The Land Of The Gurkhas' is an old talk, and one that was put on one side. Now available in a revised format, it is a talk that I look upon with affection.