Blogs from Uttarakhand, India, Asia

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Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Rishikesh April 9th 2014

Just before sun rise at the Jain Temple in Haridwar, the front gates are locked. I rattle-check all three but they won’t open so Maria and I walk away. A man from nowhere signals to enter by the side gate. This temple sits on what, for over 1,000 years, must have been a constantly busy, dusty arterial road which crosses over the sacred Ghanges. Nothing has changed for this place except the people and the life on the road. Haridwar and Rishikesh are old, old sacred sites where people have come for ever to pray. Every religion is worshiped along here. At first, I see the detail in the Temple. Every surface of every exterior wall and door and step is carved with sensual figures. Inside there is more. The floor is inlaid with semi precious ... read more
on the roof
down
walls

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Rishikesh December 5th 2013

One thing I love about traveling in foreign countries is that for much of the time, I have absolutely no idea what is going on.I can't speak or read the language, and in India, I can't even read the letters. I don't know what people are doing, why they're doing it, or what I should be doing. I constantly see things that I can't begin to understand or comprehend. Sometimes, I figure these situations out with a little experience and knowledge. Other times, it remains a mystery. Each week, I will write about something I see or experience that completely baffles me. Or a simple curiosity. If anyone had any ideas about what I write about, or actual experience, feel free to leave a comment. I'll report back and update the post when or if I ... read more

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Rishikesh September 22nd 2013

Moving on from a great start in our Yoga course at Parmarth, we were eager to get going into our second week for much of the same. Getting to the class however on the Monday morning, it was clear our coming week was to be very different from what we had come accustomed to. Sadly, Mathaji, our awesome and truly inspirational teacher was suddenly taken in to hospital on Sunday evening. With Mathaji seeming so fit and healthy especially considering her years, this really was a shock to everyone, and left us all hoping for a speedy recovery. Our other teacher, Indu, was there to take our first class that morning but wasn’t there for the classes later that day, we later found out the reason for this being that Mathaji was in fact Indu’s mother…. ... read more
Prayer Beads & Yoga notebook
Donna's unaided Headstand
Chai and putting the world to rights!

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Uttarkashi » Gangotri September 15th 2013

img=http://images.travelpod.com/users/silencepl/thumbnail.large.1.1377976967.the-ganges-meandering-in-the-upland-himalayas.jpg This view is very close to my mental arena and reminded me of a poem that reads like: Dear water Clear water Playful in all your streams As you dash or loiter through life What does not love to sit besides you. In Indian mythology the Ganges has many names and one of them is Tripathga, meaning you are not just a river but the one that traverses Heaven, earth and beneath the earth to nurture civilizations. True to some extent that no one can see the origin of the Ganges with mortal (physical ) eyes... read more

Asia » India » Uttarakhand September 15th 2013

img=http://images.travelpod.com/users/silencepl/thumbnail.large.1.1378078266.ganges-falling-in-a-gorge-at-gangotri.jpg This is a very famous spot where the quartzite rocks have been cut by the Ganges water and first time they experience a fall in the valley after flowing on boulders. Situated close to a bridge in Gangotri it is also a panoramic view with familiar noise of gushing waters...... read more

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Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Rishikesh September 15th 2013

So, with our sightseeing almost well and truly over in India, it was time for some more Yoga. Going for a different angle than our last bout of limb stretching, this time we booked into an Ashram rather than a Yoga healing centre. The Ashram itself, Parmarth Niketan, is actually quite famous around the world and is located in the worlds epicentre of Yoga, Rishikesh, made famous by the Beatles when they came here back in the sixties during their ‘hippy faze’. As soon as we arrived in Rishikesh, Donna and I knew this would be a place we would enjoy. Crossing the bridge over the Ganges to the Swarg Ashram area (where most of the Ashrams and yoga fraternity are based), we were immediately away from the noise of the traffic of the opposite side, ... read more
Marthaji and the 106 year old Swarmi whose name escaped us
Our Yoga Hall
the Boys at Aarti

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Haridwar July 13th 2013

Ritual bathing is widely practiced across the Indian subcontinent. It is thought to purify the body before ceremonies and at the climax of pilgrimages. Nowhere can the immensity of mass ritual bathing be felt more intimately and directly than at Haridwar, on the most sacred of all rivers, the Ganga Ma, or Mother Ganges. According to the Indian legend The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, the ocean was churned by gods and demons to produce amrit, the nectar of immortality, itself a reference to kundalini, or latent energy in the body, which is aroused during meditation or yoga. Amrit is also the source of the city name Amritsar in Punjab, where the holy pool of water in the Golden Temple is referred to as the “pool of nectar”. To protect the pot of amrit, the ... read more
Puja Ceremony, Har Ki Pauri Ghat
Hanging by chains in the rapids
Swinging over the Ganges

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Rishikesh July 12th 2013

‘Often, the search for meaning does start with a sense of restlessness, which can carry us all over the world. But sooner or later every serious student of life sets aside passport and visas and settles down to look within.’ — Eknath Easwaran It’s been six years, almost to the day, since I started writing this travel blog. Six years ago, I was in my apartment in Leamington Spa in the UK, watching it become emptier and emptier as I prepared to venture off on an overland trip to Pakistan. Visas and train tickets were arriving, leaving rituals and goodbye parties were being arranged, my car was being sold, and my backpack started filling up with practical items and books. I remember that time so well: a time of immense uncertainty and yet incredible excitement, ... read more
Leaving the UK in 2007...
Horse-riding in Mongolia
In Tibet...

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Rishikesh April 28th 2013

Rishikesh has been called the “Yoga Capital of the World” and the “Gateway to the Himalayas”. In 1968, the Beatles stayed at the Maharishi Mahesh yoga ashram, during which they composed 48 songs, some of which appeared on the White Album. The riverside community remains a spiritual center to this day, where local pilgrims and backpackers bathe side by side in the sacred Ganges, with waters much cleaner and nearer to their Himalayan source than overly polluted but more well-known Varanasi. Nowadays, Rishikesh is also developing a reputation for outdoors sports such as river rafting and trekking. I have made a point of spending some time in Rishikesh on all three of my trips to India. In 2005, it was my last stop on an overwhelming 3-month trip journey through Sichuan, Nepal, Tibet, and India. I ... read more
Nick, Leanne, Matt
Matt bonding with a cow
View of an ashram from the Lakshman Jhula Bridge

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Rishikesh February 22nd 2013

Imagine being on the most tranquil, remote island where you wake up naturally, no alarms, no Internet or cell service, stroll over to a little cafe and order breakfast. The Indian man only wearing a lungi (a cloth/skirt wrapped around his waist), walks over to coconut & mango trees and 20 minutes later brings you a plate of fresh fruit. All you hear is the ocean and the most difficult decision to make that day is which beach to bike to and what type of fish to order for dinner. Okay, so now picture having that zen mentality and then arriving in the most intense, wild, assault on your senses type of city in the world...this has been my week! I had a head ache for 2 days, although I can't complain because going to the ... read more
Tree torn up from the Tsunami
Andaman tree
Sadhu in Varanasi




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