Colourful lorry
Culture & tradition,  Nepal,  Photographing Public Art,  Travel galleries

Gallery: kings of the road in Nepal

I’m a man of means by no means

King of the road

Roger Miller

If public art can be defined as creative, decorative works that can be viewed by anyone at no cost, then the lorries of Nepal should rank as one of that country’s significant contributions to the genre!

The front of every cab is colourfully painted and adorned with slogans. The most popular by far is ‘Road King’, while other popular choices include ‘Speed King’, ‘Speed Control’ and ‘Mom Dad’. Images of Hindu gods are common, of course. Some have beautiful landscapes painted on them, others flags. The latter were naturally usually Nepali, but not always: the Stars and Stripes and Union Jack flags seemed popular as did those of Jamaica and Brazil. I also spotted several that celebrated the music of Bob Marley, who must be popular in Nepal (at least among lorry drivers) and a few supporting European football teams.

Often the sides are painted and the back too, although not always quite so brightly. And when I occasionally got a glimpse inside a cab I saw that it too had been decorated with tinsel, small statues of Hindu gods, garlands and coloured door panels. Of course the interiors were almost impossible for me to photograph and I only rarely caught the sides or rears. So most of the images below, which I offer for Natalie’s Photographing Public Art challenge, are of the cheerful cabs that came to dominate my impressions of Nepali roads. And I’ve thrown in a bus and a van just to mix things up a bit!

NB All these photos were taken from a moving car, often through less than clean windows. I’ve edited them to correct this as far as possible, but I apologise for any blur and/or murkiness.

Colourful lorry

King’s Horse

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Road King

Colourful lorry on a road through a forest

Ghost Rider

Highway Handsome

Colourful lorry and roadside monkeys

Road King (with macaques)

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Apple Road King

Colourful lorries

F C Barcelona

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Thanks for support Mom & Dad

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Mom Dad Loves

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Mother’s Love with Road King, and Speed Control

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True Love Never Dies

Mom Dad

Tikok Lovers

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Hard Work

From behind; no slogan, just a pretty bird

Back of a van with a painting of a bird

Colourful lorry with Lord Shiva image

Lord Shiva

Colourful bus

Speed control (bus)

Back of a lorry with image of a boxer

See You

I visited Nepal in October/November 2022


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