Only about 100 miles south of the Himalayas, a completely different world exists. A world of flatlands, lush jungles, palm trees, broad meandering rivers, and rice paddies stretching into the distance.
The south of Nepal is also home to all manner of wildlife, like this Asian rhinocerous that stood silently contemplating our jeep for a moment before crashing off into the brush.
Royal bengal tigers are also native to the region, though due to their nocturnal nature (and decades of determined poaching) they are rarely seen. The tiger below (eyeing me hungrily through the rather flimsy wooden bars of his enclosure) was captured by the Wildlife Service after he and his mother terrorized some local villages.
There is no better way to see the jungle that from the back of an elephant.
The elephants were very friendly with us. They didn't bat an eye when we ungracefully scrambled up their trunks to ride on their backs, even giving us a helpful lift. I found them remarkably beautiful, with deep, wise eyes framed by incredibly long lashes.
Coming up: the last post of my Nepal series.