Chandani & Dodhara villages:
These two villages of Mahakali pari (beyond Mahakali) were connected to the mainland Nepal only in 2005 when the government built a 1452.96 meters long suspension bridge. The structure is quite a sight.
The suspension bridge is 12 kilometers away from Mahendranagar town and is connected by a dusty road.
A bike ride on the Chandani Dodhara suspension bridge over Mahakali river.
Purba Mechi dekhi paschim Mahakali samma. From Mechi in the East to Mahakali in the West.
That’s how Nepal is referred to whenever Nepalis talk about the geographical & political boundaries of their country. Beyond these two rivers is not the present day Nepal with the exception of two villages Chandni & Dodhara on the bank of Mahakali.
Last year I walked on the Mechi Pul (bridge) and crossed over to the Indian side. That was on the day of Maha Ashtami (the 8th day of Dashain festival).
This year I crossed the Mahakali river, for the first time, and walked into Nepal- again on the day of Maha Ashtami (the day before yesterday).
The most preferred mode of transportation while crossing the border is a Horse Cart. A ride to Mahendranagar from Banbasa (about 10 kilometers) cost Indian Rs. 60. Additional charges for heavy luggage. This video was taken on the Nepali side of the border soon after we crossed the Seema Surakshya Bal (Indian border security force for the border with Nepal) check post.
Entering their country via this border crossing point is not always a good experience for many Nepalis. Many of them complain that the Indian security personnel harass them for no reason while crossing into Nepal from India. Most of these Nepalis who say they are humiliated by the Indian police at the Gadda Chowki crossing (Banbasa, India- Mahendranagar, Nepal) point are poor migrant workers from far and midwest region of Nepal. The Seema Surakshya Bal (India’s Border Security Force for border with Nepal) is particularly notorious. The SSB post on the Mahakali barrage came up overnight a few years ago encroaching the No Man’s Land and provoking much anger in the Nepali population. Apart from the SSB the Indian policemen also openly loot the Nepali migrant workers. I saw the policemen forcefully collecting Indian Rs 20 from each migrant workers with a small luggage at the police post near the SSB checkpoint. Corruption is visible. It’s understandable for the Indian side to be vigilant as the open border is often used by criminal elements from both countries. But they can be respectful while dealing with the migrant workers.
Apparently only migrant workers who are mostly illeterate or uneducated- not the finely dressed & educated Nepalis- are targetted by the Indian policemen.
It’s not the same case at other Indo-Nepal border crossing points. For example, Pashupatinagar (Ilam-Darjeeling) and Kakadvitta (Mechi bridge) in the east are more organized and peaceful. Indian policemen and officials are friendly.