24-30 April 2015 #755

land rover country

Mukunda Bogati in Nepal, 19 April

When it comes to off-road capabilities, few vehicles can compete with Land Rovers. These high-powered, sturdy 4WD can easily navigate bumpy, steep, rough and muddy roads, and often get to places which are inaccessible in other vehicles.

ALL PICS: MUKUNDA BOGATI

While older models may look like they could belong in a museum, dozens of classic Land Rovers are still used to transport both goods and people in Nepal’s eastern hilly districts.

Designed in 1948 in Britain and modelled after US-made jeeps, Land Rovers were initially a status symbol and featured in James Bond movies. But in rural Nepal, these vintage vehicles are primarily used by rural commuters along new rough and tumble feeder roads.

  Grishma Subba of the East Nepal Taxi Association, says: “Land Rovers are reliable because they can easily move up and down hills as on roads in the plains.”

Subba says Land Rovers have also boosted eastern Nepal’s agro-economy by helping transport produce to market from rural farms. As many as 56 Land Rovers operate in Ilam district alone.

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