Road to Bajura by Kishor Maharjan

ROAD TO BAJURA: Nepal went into a nation-wide lockdown in March, and the months following that, I felt stuck. A youth protest, demanding better pandemic management, was going on in Kathmandu. And I had questions of my own: if Kathmandu is struggling, how is the rest of Nepal doing? I found a group of Bajura locals making their way back to Martadi. On 22 July, I hitched a ride with them and left for Bajura, far west Nepal.

Photo: Kishor Maharjan/

In our 1200 KM journey, we stopped often along the highways to grab meals and rest. I got to talk to the local business people. Their businesses are destroyed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. Hotels, lodges, small shops, eateries were attempting to open despite the lockdown but no one was travelling.

The journey started in the hills as we travelled through landslides and monsoon rains, to southern plains, to the hills and landslides again. Our final destination was Martadi, but we met with another landslide, so we walked the last leg. The journey was hard and exhausting. We passed through ghost towns, closed businesses, deserted markets on empty highways. The rest of Nepal is not doing well—COVID-19 is stretching the limits of our health care, dismantling our fragile education system, increasing inequality and slowly destroying our economy.

Photos and Text: Kishor Maharjan @kishor.maharjan

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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