left on walnut

Tag: Rishikesh

Mother Gaṅgā

We remove our shoes before approaching the River Ganga. This river is a temple, her water holy.

Families gather on wide marble steps leading to the river banks. Men strip to the waist to swim. Mothers pull up their sarees to rest their legs in the cool water. Little boys jump in naked. Bathing in her waters washes away sins.

As the sun sets, steps fill with pilgrims. Music begins. The chant is familiar, if only because of George Harrison’s 1971 song “My Sweet Lord.”

As the sun sets across the Ganges, oil lamps are lit. Arms lift in praise. Lamps pass high over our heads and our arms stretch upward toward the fire. We waft smoke–a symbol of our praise and thanksgiving–toward our hair.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Along the Road in India

We did a fair amount of travel while in India. Delhi to Agra to Jaipur to Rishikesh and back to Delhi. Mile after mile along the roadways we saw carts with fruits and vegetables and potatoes, little tobacco carts, boys playing cricket, and open air cafes.

We saw men lying on cots in the heat of the day, crouched under trucks during a brief rain, splashing themselves with water from a pump, peeing beside trees, and talking in groups at cafes.

We saw women carrying packages the size of coffee tables on top of their heads.

We saw cows, dogs, mules, bison, monkeys, sheep, goats, and camels. We saw cars, vans, trucks, buses, motorcycles, rickshaws, bicycles, and tuk tuks. Lots and lots of people walking.

People honk their horns all of the time in India. Honking means something different in India than in the States. In the US, a horn might mean “Don’t pull out in front of me, you Nimrod!” or “Hurry up! The light turned green already!” or “We’re about to crash, you idiot!”

In India, honking isn’t so aggressive. A honk seems to mean, “There’s a sliver of road between you and that bus and since I’m obligated to squeeze past I thought I’d let you know by honking my horn.”

I will never understand how all the traffic and animals and people coexist as successfully as they do on the roads of India.

Faces of India, part 2

Faces of India, part 1