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India

Rishikesh

No, we haven’t been taken by tigers or leopards, the Internet has been down in Rishikesh.
We arrived in Rishikesh 2 days ago in the afternoon. It isn’t very far from Haridwar and only took us about 1 hour by car. The Mother Ganga flows through Rishikesh on the way to Haridwar and is very fast flowing and a pretty green, probably because the river bed is stones and boulders.

It was good weather when we arrived but the following day it became cold and windy. The wind howling a lot during the night. Looking out the hotel window to the roofs of the houses below, you can see bricks and branches stacked on the top of the sheets of corrugated iron, probably to keep the sheets in place for such conditions.
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Ceremonial aartis occur along the banks and we attended another ceremony with the leader of the ashram leading the prayers. In Haridwar, we visited an ashram which was for Indian people to learn more about the Hindu religion … lectures, ceremonies, music classes, incense making and other activities were part of the ashram. We visited more ashrams in Rishikesh but the aarti we went to was at an ashram where there was advertising for a conference with a focus on taking care of the Ganga.

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The local post office in Rishikesh.

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In June 2013, the Mother Ganga flooded severely and thousands of people died. Townships were washed away and our guide told us he was about to enter his hotel when he turned around to see it being washed away in a landslide. There are many stories about the floods and rocks and sand from the flooding can still be seen.

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We visited the Beatles ashram but it is no longer operating and we were only able to see it from the street.

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We were taken to a farming community with houses made from mud bricks using cow dung and then clay mud like a render which was then painted. The roofs were hatched and using branches of trees, all held up with large tree trunks. It was all made with hardwood with clay floors. The people had solar panels to provide some electricity. Mostly these farmers were farming buffaloes for milk. There were a few cows. We were told that mostly in India, cow milk is consumed by children and pregnant women. Buffalo milk has less fat and it (along with some goat milk) is consumed by most of the people. All the men, women and children all seemed very pleased and happy to see us.

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We were taken to Rajaji National Park. Parts of the Park have had road closures due to the floods. We didn’t see any leopards, tigers or elephants and we were told to come back in the summer when the animals come in to the waterholes. We saw deer,antelopes,boars and many birds including peacocks, vultures and woodpeckers. Our guide pointed out a tiger paw mark in the mud on the track so maybe the tiger was watching us from a distance!

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Off to Nalagarh tomorrow, on our way to Dharamshala.

By whiteduck

I am an artist and self-employed web designer.