Mother India

March 4th, 2014

 Wow! What a glorious morning! Sunny and crisp.

Got to walk along the Ganga Beach to Laxman Jhula. Got a few beautiful clothes.. It is so crazy affordable and so very so nice interacting with all the people at the little stores.

Fish jumping and flying over the water, sand is cold and is so peaceful by the river shore. I had a meal at a nice restaurant for $1.50. People smiling, cows everywhere. different kinds of monkeys and I even got to see a Hummingbird over the flowers for some time..

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the walk from Ram Jhula to Laxman Jhula – river side IMG_3589 IMG_3606 IMG_3609

These trees are everywhere. Beautiful red flowers. Tons of birds come to eat their nectar and even the cows eat the flowers when they fall on the ground.

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View from “Zorba” restaurantIMG_3611

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At Laxman Jhula bridge the monkeys check out a piece of bread someone left behind. He sniffed it and left it there. Not his cup of tea I guess.

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something is happening down there.. !IMG_3635

View from Laxman Jhula Bridge  IMG_3637 IMG_3643

The water seems a bit brown for a couple of days now..Very different to the color I witness a few days ago, before the rain.  Apparently it gets jade green again as days go by and the ice melts from the Himalayas mountains..

This bridge is a bit smaller than the Ram Jhula bridge so it feels a bit more crowded and it moves a bit more.. but not bad..

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Today I witnessed a kid hitting a baby cow .. it seems like “for fun”?.. as it wasn’t on the way or bothering.. and the kid was laughing hard.. Hum.. I see this happening all the time. Cows get hit super hard for no reason. Some people just emptying their anger on them I guess?… Cows go on walking eating paper and plastic they find laying on the ground and most of them of course, bony. Some people feed them, yes.. including me, I think I bought about 40 bananas already! but is not enough of course.. I guess, that is the overall feeling for everybody here..There is nature and greenery but these places are mostly out of their reach. I guess they get used to being in the streets where they find trash, etc. ?

Today I witnessed a car hit a cow on the leg.. so hard, just right next to me and the cow started to bleed down the legs.. it was so heartbreaking to see.

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For me this has been one of the hardest things to see.. how the animals are treated. Cows, dogs, monkeys, cats..  Some people are nice and some people are so mean. They hit the monkeys and pull their tales so hard, the monkeys screamed in pain! Ouch! Some monkeys are even burned! and for them is just funny.. people laugh at the pain of the animal.. I don’t know… this is just me having a hard time today.. yes, is one of those days.. I have to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes, actually:

“The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy.”- Richard Bach

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Street vendors

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Stolen Chapatti

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This kind are the most intelligent ones.. not aggressive. Cute guys!

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A blind man sits every morning in the street between Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula, with a scale. People get weighed and then give him a Rupee or more.. IMG_3669

A very sweet manIMG_3692 IMG_3694

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Ritual – Cleaning the streets every day -. then burning it

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Roasted peanuts

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The street “ear cleaners”

They take a thin metal, wrap it with cotton ( that they keep on the back of their ears) and clean the inside depth of your ear canal.. I’m not so sure that’s for me.. We’ll see.

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March 7h, 2015

I stayed in my room for the last 2 days.. sick super sick.. violent vomiting, diarrhea.. shivers, fever, feeling super cold… headaches.. food poisoning.

Feeling a bit of nausea today but I had that before I came.. so.. feeling much better anyhow..and so I’m out and about again and TODAY is a glorious day again!

I missed Holi day celebrations yesterday, the day where people celebrate by smearing and splashing color water and powders.. but it’s ok. I didn’t feel like being exposed to that after such illness.

I feel my intestines and belly a bit more acclimatized now. More variety of bacteria..yes!

I’m taking probiotics, enzymes and eating only cooked food. I’m a bit more careful I guess. I’m not sure if the cause of my illness was drinking chai tea from a dirty cup at the “The Office” cafe or by having a bit of filtered water but without doing the UV light treatment (at Ganga Vatika, the guest house) .. or a turmeric / goji juice I had at a respected restaurant (Korma) .. or by putting my dirty hands on my mouth.. not sure.. but I know now I’ll be more diligent.

My friend Leif is here in Rishikesh! so we went to “Triveni Ghat” together with his friend, Anya.We met at Ram Jhula and took a Rickshaw to the Ghats.

Waiting for Leif at the Ram Jhula bridge

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Special altar for today at the entrance of the bridge. People kept putting money and saying a prayer over it. Not sure what it means.. but I thought it was interesting..IMG_3704

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At the banks of Ganges River, this place is where the three holy significant Rivers: the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Saraswathy converged. It is referred to in Hindu religious terms as one of the most holy places in India for sacred bathing spot. It is of belief that those who take a dip in at that place, will have release all sins. The water here has the power to purify them.

Devotees make many offerings at Triveni ghat offering milk or water to the river.

It is believed that Lord Krishna visited this holy spot when he was hurt by an arrow shot by Jara – a hunter.  The Ghat is considered to be the cremation ground of Lord Krishna.

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The water was crispy and refreshing and there were golden particles in it .. I felt amazing.

Leif had read about a temple that was near by so we wander through the little streets of this village. No tourists, no crowds, just locals.. it was so amazing. It felt like REAL India to me. So blessed to be sharing this experience with these guys!

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This was a very sacred place. Devotees would come, do blessings, rituals and offerings. Vishnu temple. It was guarded by a man that did rituals for others in service. This man had some sort of metal hat in his hand, which he would be praying to. Then he called us one by one and place this metal hat over our heads and prayed.It was all Hindi or Sanskrit maybe so I couldn’t what it was all about.

We welcomed the ritual, roam around for a bit and left shortly afterwards.

IMG_3765Outside the temple, an altar honoring the Shiva Lingam. IMG_3788

—- Mint Sugar cane juice —

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Leif kept referring and being pulled to a Golden temple that he could see in the distance. We walked around the village until we found it. We stood at the tiny metal door as to sense if we were welcomed. Soon enough, we got signaled to go in.

There we sat and talked to a man that kept saying “You want to see God? – Ok, ok, wait 5 min” .. One of the man did a ritual, some stood around curious, some pay no attention to us, one of them was upset we were in there.

It was obviously a temple/Ashram for “man” only..

The many altars on the trees

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The temple space was closed and they kept insisting we wait until it opens, 4 hours later or so. Then they invited us to eat. I had just recovered from such illness, I had no enthuse to accept such invitation but they were so we sat for lunch with all these man. I told them I was fasting. Leif and Anya got an amazing meal handled with love and bare hands.

There was an old man in the Ashram that spoke English. He was super cute and was very excited about us being there. After eating, he took us through a labyrinth of little hallways, up the stairs to a locked room with little flags and colorful little things hanging all over it. Then he explained that here, the main saint is or comes or something. We couldn’t “really” understand.. He had us bow to the door 3 times and touch our head on each prostration. It was all so interesting. He kept saying that we were so blessed to be there.

He kept asking us “how did you know about this place?” and kept making his point that it was a good omen for us to have found this “room”, this place.. and that we have have been absolved or forgiven 20% of our karma! just for bowing to this door. Ha! He was sweet and wanted to give and be in service… A very interesting experience indeed.

Back at the Ganga Beach, on our way back to Rishikesh area

Back at 60’s cafe with the people that I’m about to enter the teacher training with. Terrible food, or at least what I had.. but great view and great company: Catie and Jenn.

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