How to cross the westernmost border from Nepal to India via land, Mahendranagar to Banbasa, or the other way around.
I had troubles finding the info online about this when I was looking for it, so I thought it would be useful to write them here.
IMPORTANT: your Indian visa needs to be sorted out beforehand in Kathmandu, or in your country, if you are travelling that direction, for all but Nepali. If you are entering Nepal instead, then the Visa can be done at the entry point.
The crossing as such is pretty easy, although of course it is Nepal, and India, and it takes time, and patience.
If you are coming from Nepal, as I did, you need to reach the town of Mahendranagar by bus. Any local bus or minibus that goes East to West on the main road will take you there. I took the ride from Bardia National Park (Ambasa), which took four hours, and cost 350 NPR (about 3€).
Once in Mahendranagar, you need to take a rickshaw to the border, which will cost 200 NPR (about 1.5€). At the border then you can walk, and take care of the formalities with the Nepali immigration office, which is very quick. There’s a 10 NPR tax to pay. Then, if you so desire, you can walk for 1 Km towards the Indian border, or you can take a rickshaw right away. The driver will wait for you to go through formalities.
There is a visa control by the Indian police, quickly done, and a check at the immigration office, which takes a little bit longer. However, there were just a couple of other tourists with me, while most of the people crossing were Indian or Nepali (who need no visa). Therefore in half an hour it was all done.
After crossing the border, you need to reach the Indian town of Banbasa by rickshaw, cost 100 INR (about 1.3€). Now you are in India, and you can catch a bus from Banbasa to your next destination. Only local, and very slow buses here. And good luck understanding which one is yours 🙂 locals there can be very contradicting in providing information. At the end however I managed to catch my bus towards Haridwar, the nearest city with more connections. It took from 03 PM to 10 PM to get there.
All in all, from Bardia to Haridwar with border crossing it was a 06 AM to 10 PM journey. Yep! It can be shortened of course if you decide to sleep over in one of the two towns at the frontier. But there’s really nothing nice to do or see there.
If you are coming from India, same same, just the other way around. So, first thing to do would be to reach Banbasa 😉