Entry into China
Our group on the streets of Kodari
As Kodari connects Tibet via the Sino -Nepal Friendship bridge built across Bote Koshi River, all the vehicles crossing into China are stopped here. Also all the luggage being carried by the yatris are transported manually across the bridge so that they can be x-rayed before entry into China. So Kodari town is crowded with vehicles and yatris. The vehicles from Nepal are not allowed into China so our vehicle was also stopped at about 1 Km from friendship bridge and we carried all our personal luggage upto the bridge. Small children also act as porters to earn some money. Our Shepa's arranged for the transport of the luggage through porters available at the border.
Breakfast at Kodari
We reached Kodari at 9 AM and had our breakfast at a small restaurant and waited for Immigration clearance. Our passports were stamped at the border check post. There is a red line at the center of the bridge and we queued up at the line with our passports in hand after sometime we were allowed entry into China and were asked to sit down for immigration clearance. We saw many groups sitting there waiting for their turn to enter into China for the darshan of Lord Shiva.
The River Bote-Kosi forms the natural border between Nepal and Tibet autonomous region of China. On the other side we could see the majestic customs and military buildings. We were advised not to photograph the buildings and the friendship bridge. The friendship bridge was first built in the year 1965 to further co-operation between China and Nepal, it was damaged by floods in 1981 and the existing bridge was built in 1991 further north of the old bridge. The welcome arch was constructed in 1991.
Luggage being carried manually for immigraton.
Though symbolically Chinese have built a welcome arch in reality it seems they don't welcome you wholeheartedly. The moment you enter inside their territory you are under the watchful eyes of the army personnel. They always keep a watch and follow your movements. We were not even allowed to stand and were asked to sit down and wait for our turn.
Lady porters transporting luggage across the bridge
Waiting for our turn we watched the Chinese soldiers, two guards, stand at the welcome arch like stone statues, they don't even blink. Their shift change every two hours. New guards march to the arch in synchronization majestically and stand before them then they exchange places and the old guards march back in the same manner till they reach their building. The precison training given to the peoples army soldier's can be seen here.
Bote Kosi River and the buildings n the Chinese side
Our luggages were being transported manually by lady porters across the bridge, it was a pathetic site,some women were carrying their infants also. They work from morning till evening carrying very heavy loads on their back.
The friendship bridge
We waited for about 4 hours before entering into China. We were told that normally about 400 yatris are allowed entry on a single day ans others who reach late has to wait for the next day. Chinese does not allow animal products and plants to be taken into China. That's the main reason for throughly checking of all the luggage of the yatris. We had some ghee and twigs for Havan, really we were wondering if these will be allowed inside.
சீனப்பகுதியில் இருந்து கொடாரி
At last our turn came and all our personal luggage were subjected to x-ray examination and after verification of all our passports we were allowed entry into China. During this time we saw that the books being carried by westerners were throughl checked for its contents, so as to avoid any reference to Dalai Lama entering into China. One of our yatris was also heldup for a longtime as thay had some doubt regarding his surname and later he was also cleared.
View of Kodari from China
Thus by the benign grace of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati we entered into China without much difficulty and it stared raining immediately. As our Chinese vehicle had been parked some 2 Kms from this point we trekked upto that place after the rain stopped.
Border own Jangmu on the Chinese side