Bhimdatta (Formerly Mahendranagar)

One of the shadiest stops on my India-Nepal-Bhutan part of the trip was in the town of Mahendranagar. Nepal border town on the far west side of the country. After a long bus ride and a pretty decently long border crossing (not because of lines, but because you had to walk about a mile between where India ends and Nepal begins), I got in as the sun was going down, and after dark there were not a lot of lights. Asking around a bit, I got taken to the first “hotel” - a dark house with a dank room, with who knows what lurking in its shadows. My second attempt was a little better - ugly and fluorescent, but the bathroom that I expected to fail miserably actually worked, and the bugs that I expected to see were nowhere to be found. So, ok. The next morning I woke up at 4am, had the weirdest bitter-lime-sugar tea, and hopped on a bus for about a million hours.

I just learned that Mahendranagar has been renamed¬†Bhimdatta. This is a little weird. I don’t know why I feel any kinship with the place at all - I guess my TF-IDF for it is just higher than most places. Like, I spent a day in Agra, but anyone who’s gone to India has spent a day in Agra… but I spent 12 hours in Mahendranagar, and nobody’s been to Mahendranagar.

And then the more I talk about it, the more I feel like y’all might accuse me of trying to grab traveler cred. And you might be right. That’s why I’m blogging it to this limited audience instead of Facebooking it. But much like I like to talk about a particularly good batch of coffee beans, I find it hard to disentangle cred-seeking from honest fascination sometimes. Like, in the age of the internet, we can get anything instantly. But we probably won’t¬†get a slice of Mahendranagar.

And so I care about Mahendranagar, and I feel like I’m losing a little tiny thing of memory now that it’s renamed Bhimdatta. And I don’t mind, I’m not saying something is right or wrong (in contrast to 98% of the internet, including my posts), just kind of… poignantly watching things change, I guess.


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