Have you fancied driving across to Nepal in your own car? It is not a big deal at all as I discovered when I undertook the Great Himalayan Drive recently. You can actually start very early, cross the border around noon, and be out for a jungle safari in the Shuklaphanta National Park in the afternoon. Or leave comfortably, cross the border when the gates open in the evening and have dinner in Mahendranagar (this is the border town in Nepal and adjoins the national park). Here is the distance / time chart I logged:

  • Delhi – Gajraula: 2:20 hrs, 212 km (This is not distance to Gajraula town but a few miles after that – you have a highly recommended multi-cuisine restaurant Meritone and a McDonalds here. Took a pitstop here)
  • Gajraula – Café Coffee Day, Moradabad: 0:55 hrs, 67 km (Take a bypass on the toll road before Moradabad or you could ne stuck in traffic. The café is a few miles after Moradabad. I took a caffeine break here.)
  • CCD Moradbad – Rampur: 0:22 hrs, 14 kms (Watch out for left turn pointing to Nainital – very easy to miss. Ask people if not sure)
  • Rampur – Rudrapur: 1:00 hrs, 44 kms (The point measured is two miles before Rudrapur town – I stopped here for fuel. Good idea to tank up here – I was almost stranded once on this same route as I did not get fuel later on the way to Abbott Mount. Very cheerfully, the attendant wished me all the best for my journey when he heard I am off to Nepal and the North-East. Stopped for lunch in Rudrapur – again, a good idea; not too many options after this)
  • Rudrapur – Khatima: 1:30 hrs, 72 kms
  • Khatima – Banbassa: 0:27 hrs, 13 kms (stopped to tank up again – I was paranoid not knowing what the fuel position in Nepal is)
  • Banbassa – Crossing over point to Nepal: 0:10 hrs, 5 kms.

Effectively reached Nepal in 6:50 hours driving time (stops not included) covering 427 kms. It took another 3 hours at the border though. Out of this, 45 minutes were spent waiting for gates to open (they open at specific times only) and the rest for the formalities. The hotel in Mahendranagar in Nepal was 13 kms from the Indian side of the border – did not take much driving time for that though. Have written another post on what it entails to cross the border.

Notes:
* All distances have been measured from Rajghat in Delhi – it is the 0 km mark in the city.
* I have not included the time where I took stops. In other words, you are only reading actual driving times above except where mentioned.
* The actual distance readings can vary in different cars. Treat these as approximations only.
* Time taken can vary with traffic – always a good idea to leave early morning to beat at least some of the rush.
* One rule when driving in India and the rest of the subcontinent: Keep asking for directions even when you know you are going correctly. With highways constantly being upgraded, you may be directed to some more efficient routes including bypassing towns, or being told about new roads. And locals always know when a road or a bridge has gone under, and may suggest alternate routes.
* The best people to ask for directions are drivers of taxis, buses and trucks. They ply the roads all the time.
* Milestones give distances to centres of town – and the above may not necessarily be measured at that point by me.

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