Shiva’s Slaves Run; 2015 – Nuwakot, Nepal
Nuwakot, meaning nine forts, is a small Newari village high on a ridge above Trisuli Bazaar. Prithi Narayan Shah, the first of the Gurkha kings of Nepal, built a nine-story palace after taking the town in 1762. He lived there for six years before conquering Kathmandu Valley and taking over the country.
In February of 2015, this was the destination of the Shiva’s Slave’s annual Shivaratri motorcycle run.
At 8:00am we started rolling into a private home near Patan to prepare for the day’s activities. kata scarves greeted the riders, coffee was served, old friends caught up with each other, and the route planned. By 9:30am we roared out the gate an onto the Ring Road.
After three hours a nerve-wracking hairpin turns, dodging overloaded buses and careening trucks, our gang of intrepid riders, outlaws all, roared into a Shiva temple beside the Trisuli River for lunch. BMWs, Royal Enfields, BSAs and a lone Triumph, plus a rented Tourist Van full of our support crew, rock and rollers, and assorted musical instruments. I rode the same silver Royal Enfield that I had ridden the year before. This year the average age seemed to be on the wrong side of sixty, which is logical considering that the Shiva’s Slaves Motorcycle Club was founded in 1974.
After lunch we roared off the main road and onto increasingly narrower and steeper and twistier and windier tracks as we wove our way up the hillside until we came to a ridge high about the river and left the pavement entirely to bounce along a dirt path to the notorious Famous Farm, several converted Newari farmhouses, that was to be our home for the night. We had booked all 13 rooms.
It was just before sunset when we arrived, so beers were the first order of business. We had ordered both vegetarian and non-veg Nepal curries for dinner, all made from locally grown organic vegetables. Desmond, our 74 year-old rock star, set up his musical equipment, and he was joined in set after set by a Norwegian professional musician named Kurt. As ever, riders had flown in from all over the world for the festivities. The good times rolled on and on, with Japanese sake, Nepali beers, local rakshi, various imported liquors, and exotic food, plus the usual combustibles to be imbibed by all.
The next morning, after breakfast, we hiked to the Palace of Prithi Narayan Shah and Bhairab Temple nearby, and after a fantastic lunch we mounted up and took the scenic back way back to Kathmandu, another rumbling dirt road through scenic rice paddies and over the top of a steep hill, and down into the polluted air of Kathmandu Valley…
“…home again, home again, zippity-zot!”