The Magic Bus and the Hippie Trail

I wasn’t born in 70’s and 80’s but i don’t know why i have so much fondness for the hippie and pop culture of that era. I guess being born in Kathmandu might be one reason, no idea but time and again i go on Wikipedia and read as many articles i can find out about that age and especially about the Magic Bus and the Hippie Trail.

Many of you who were born after 1980s won’t have heard about it. In fact you might not even have heard about Hippies and what kind of people they were and even if you heard about them chances are that all you know about them was that they were drug peddlers who lived in groups, created ruckus wherever they went and were devotee of Lord Krishna (Hare Rama Hare Krishna).

But there’s more to that…

Hippies were not only cheap backpackers or people who lived on drugs, rather they were the once who started the movement of Nirvana, the thing that still today sounds exotic and cool to many westerners. I will leave up to you how you want to define hippies, if you want to know more about them go check their Wikipedia page. What interests me more is the Hippie Trail and the Magic Bus, the bus that crossed continents, a journey that transcends cultures and bullshit political boundaries and transformed the world as one single country for entire human being.

Their journey used to start from major western cities like London and Amsterdam and many even crossed Atlantic to join the herd. Starting the journey from UK, they used to travel up to Turkey crossing major European Nations. From Turkey they used to hop across Asia via Iran. From Iran to Afghanistan, then to Pakistan, India and finally into Nepal and end their journey in hidden Shangri-La of their time, The Kathmandu. Kathmandu still has a road, Jochen Tole, nicknamed Freak Street in memory of the many thousands of hippies who passed through.

Kathmandu was the epitome of this hippie movement. Since Drugs like Hashish and Cannabis were almost like legal back then, it was major attraction for hippies who crossed continents in search of these drugs. Now the major part of this story is not what hippies did while they came to Kathmandu but the way they came here.

They used to travel overland, no planes, no ships and no bullshits. They used to hire hatchbacks, buses and Lorries and drive all the way across the Eurasia to reach their destination. Just see the number of countries they crossed and what has happened to those countries in modern times. Afghanistan bombed, Iran is crazy, Pakistan on a turmoil, India on it path of glory and Nepal lost its virginity long ago.

The trail which once was considered a path to Nirvana is now a nothing less than Shithole.

I won’t go too deep into the current status of these countries right now as you probably now lot better about them, but just give a thought in your mind, how much has times changed since the 60’s and 70’s. Do you think the time when hippies could freely embark on a journey from London to Kathmandu back them can do it today? Can we even cross one country overland without going to kind pain and frustration we have to experience when crossing border overland.

Is this time to good or was that time good, when political bullshit was far from Asia and all we knew what how to live a happy life.

Think about it?

Here are the some images from the Afghanistan, Iran and the era we have lost now:

The top three images are from Afghanistan? Can you imagine that today? Will you please change your views on Afghanistan now?


5 Comments

  1. nice article.. those were the golden days.. today we are only heading towards explosion.. one day everything will burst and i see that day coming soon..

  2. Ya i have heard of Hippies before.
    Mostly they used to go at Goa and i remember that film of Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman that Dum Maro Dum Song one, i guess that has many hippies in it and maybe that was shot in Nepal.
    Same here i too like taking a dip at that bygone era.
    Afghanistan as you said was very peaceful country nobody could have imagined at that time that so much would happen at that place.
    I also like the new feel of your blog.
    Most of the Nepali blogs have white colour templates , yours is an exception now.
    Keep on Writing .

  3. The word "hippie" brings back some references during my school and college life, more prominently on one of Abhi Subedi's mention in one of his articles when he was talking about pop music culture with Anamol Mani Poudel in an interview. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_QEaqWSkjc-0/TBTr3onrpWI
    Besides, though I am an 80's born late bloomer, my ears still full of 60's to 90's songs and only a few modern tracks. The other acquintances with hippies is from those South Park mentions :P. Besides I never studied in depth about their culture, I will tab the link just now, thanks.
    The global village concept has long died and we have been filled with all those 'political' 'religious' and 'progressive' ideas about people and faces now. Welcome to destruction ! I blindly say 'those were golden days" 🙂 kudos for the great post !

  4. Very True : “Afghanistan bombed, Iran is crazy, Pakistan on a turmoil, India on it path of glory and Nepal lost its virginity long ago.”

    Hippies has become history for me. And I’ve never thought about these things, but after reading it, ‘m thinking, ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? Time has changed, Country has changed… Thanks for such post, got knowledge on hippies and their journey, and knew that kind of activity was existed here in the past…

  5. and the first para is what nobody knows about hippies…. They were the one who started the nirvana movement all around the globe…

    #and yeap nepal has lost its virginity a long ago… Probably even before the hippies…. But it got accumulated more and more since the 90’s! Or since freedom to do anything they want came in these politicians(wont say decocracy!)