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Day Zero at Ground Zero!

Nisha and I were already in Delhi for some work. I had planned to fly to Kathmandu from Delhi. This helped us in combining our combined Delhi business and my own Nepal business. Mumbai to Delhi leg of my journey perhaps was the most uneventful. Too mundane. It was so boring that I remembered someone who had said if you pay intense attention to boredom then it will turn out to be interesting. Well, in my case, while paying intense attention I just fell asleep.

Elephants at T3 airport New Delhi

So as per plan Nisha came to the Airport, Terminal 3, from where I would take the International flight. She would then make a cut on her thumb and apply the obligatory tilak on my forehead and say “Vijayi Bhava” (May you be victorious!) and give me some sugar and curds to eat. 🙂 🙂 … Well none of that happened. Instead we settled for a nice cuppa and complained to the vendor that it was not hot enough. That set the right mood to conquer EBC 🙂 because next few days I would neither have the inclination nor the energy to complain even if I wanted to.

After a paying a quick obeisance to Buddha in T3 at Delhi Airport, I proceeded towards my designated boarding gate.

The first Buddha I saw at T3, Delhi Airport and definitely not the last during the trip

I had decided to take Nepal Airlines, the same which we had flown on our last trip to Nepal. You may be thinking this would be for sentimental reasons or to establish the right atmosphere! Got you there! This was the cheapest available flight from Delhi! The flight was quite good, food was great and so were the drinks. I, who normally doze off before the flight attains its final altitude, was fully awake and enjoying the window seat.

Takeoff from New Delhi by Nepal Airlines…Here I come Mr Everest! Mind it!

It was a bit hazy but offered a some view of the terrain. By the time we landed, it had cleared a bit and one could view the buildings right next to the Kathmandu Airport. It was almost like Mumbai.

A view of Kathmandu , just before landing

Tribhuvan International Airport was a two storey functional structure and quite neat and clean. The Immigration hall while being crowded with only few of the counter operating, was still a breeze, for me with an Indian Passport. Separate counters and no questions asked. One of the very few places on earth where Indian Passport works to our advantage! Of course one has to fill up a disembarkation card, like all passengers, but being an Indian and having filled up millions of forms all my life, this is never a challenge.

In all this excitement I had left my backpack at the writing table and had already crossed the immigration checkpoint when I realized that I was a bit light. I approached a security guard and told him of my predicament. He said “Indian? No problems just go and get it no one will stop you”! And true to his words, even the immigration officer did not stop me both ways. Perhaps he had remembered my unique face or maybe the guard had signalled to him, I shall never know.

There is a method in madness in the Baggage Claims Hall at Tribhuvan Airport

The luggage hall was chaotic at its best, bags took forever to arrive, no one had any clue to what was happening. I could see people hopping from one official to another, from one belt to another when the display system came on with belt number. In due course it did and I passed the green channel with no further delay. I did not pick up a sim card from NCELL or Nepal Telecom having been tipped by my trekking agency that I should get it from the city since these guys try to sell you the most expensive data packs. The most expensive would cost around USD 10 (1USD ~= 100 NPR). By the way INR to NPR never changes and is always 1 INR =1.6 NPR.

One could get connected with your Social Media friends right away at the arrival hall

Should you exchange at the airport? Yes of course, you need some local currency to pay for taxi etc, although city shops would give you better rates. If you have INR, most people in Kathmandu accept it as is. I did not exchange as my trek company had arranged for airport pick up and suggested I should do it at the hotel only if required as he accepts INR too. The hotel was just a couple of kilometers from the airport and right opposite the famed Pashupatinath Temple.

I was met by the local trek coordinator and we discussed the plans for the morrow when I would be taking a local flight to Lukla. He helped me buy a Ncell Sim cards and dropped me in Thamel area later on his bike. I will, however write about Thamel in greater detail later.

Delhi to Kathmandu Air Route plotted using GPS points

You may want to read the previous article as how the journey started.

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33 thoughts on “Day Zero at Ground Zero!”

    1. Ha Ha… 13 days trek ..13 episodes … 13 months…. I know what you are saying 🙂 a bit tooo long.
      I guess once a week is what I will be aiming for going ahead. 🙂

  1. I’d love to visit Nepal in the next few years! I’m glad you got the window seat. I imagine looking out the window while flying over Nepal is breathtaking. The aerial view of Kathmandu is nothing like what I imagined it would look like!

    1. Thanks for passing by. Window seat is never a problem when I do advance-web-checkin. When you get in from India it is mainly low lands except for some mountain ranges just before landing. The reason why I have posted the aerial shot of Kathmandu is because I was myself quite surprised by what I saw. However if you do fly to Lukla from KTM there is a tip. All about it in the next episode. 🙂

  2. Looking forward to your read about your experiences in the Everest region. Had the chance to be there in May this year and it was mind-blowing. Always remember, climber higher, sleep lower.

    1. Yes. I must speed up my writing!:) I was there in April this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I fully agree with your tip for high altitude trekking. Thanks for coming and I hope you will rach each of my episode.

    1. Thanks. Yep… It was lucky since I had my cameras in it… I might have as well returned if I had not found it. Add Nepal to your bucket list. You will not be disappointed .

    1. Vicky and Buddy,
      I was quite lucky , I guess. Were it somewhere else I mayn’t have been so lucky. Thanks for wanting to read my next episodes. I hope you will like them too 🙂 🙂

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