Nepal’s Flatter Parts

Nepal isn’t all mountains you know. It has its flat bits too.

Sunrise over the paddy fields in Bardiya District, Nepal.

I’m in the Terai region this weekend, the southern area of Nepal that is paddy field flat.

According to the FAO factbook, “Nepal has three distinct topographic zones. The southern part of the country is the Terai, which has a low elevation and is a northern extension of the Ganges Plains of India… This zone ranges from 25-32 km in width and covers 22% of the total land mass. Rising above the Terai plains, and following an east/west alignment, are ranges of hills generally referred to as the “mid-hills (1300-2500 m), and the “high-hills” (2500-5000 m). To the north of these “high-hills”, are the Himalayas proper, again aligned east/ west, which include the highest mountains in the world (5000 – 8848 m). Their rugged mountain topography constitutes almost 78% of the land mass of Nepal”.

Very happy Nepali with his cow-driven cart.

So basically the Terai lounges along the bottom of Nepal’s rectangular shape, whilst the mountains occupy the top bit that backs on to Tibet and China.

It’s hot and it’s flat in the Terai. So I purposefully got up at dawn to avoid the killer daily heat. The advantage of a dawn start is that you’re right there for the stunning sunrises across the plain rice fields.

Throngs of Nepalis on their bikes at 6am in the morning.

You also get to see a side to the day that only happens at dawn. Locals up early, going to work or who are already busy at work, transporting, carrying, lifting, digging, milking, cooking, doing a million things before most people are even switching on the kettle at home.

My post-run Nepali breakfast.

And when the run was over, there was still plenty of time for a Nepali breakfast at 0.21 Euros per person – that included sweet tea, fried chapatti, sweet curly things, and chickpea curry. An interesting combination that’s conveniently cheap and that’s surprisingly tasty, even though the idea of curry for breakfast still seems oh so very wrong.

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