India: Rishikesh

We escaped Delhi’s cold by venturing into the foothills of the Himalayas which were EVEN colder (probably not the smartest move).  It was so cold in Rishikesh I couldn’t shower at all or sleep without wearing EVERYTHING I currently owned.

Rishikesh is famous for its spiritual powers.  We were told to listen to the Ganges River as it passes through the city.  Silence despite strong currents and huge amounts of water.  Travelers flock there for the yoga, among other things and we were no different. (remember we are still traveling with a PRO photographer!)

EZH Ganges Bridge EZH Laxman Jula Daily Chant EZH Ganges Sunset

We took the train to Haridwar where we planned to catch a tempo (shared tuk tuk)  for 25 rupees to Rishikesh…except the tempos were trying to charge us 400 rupees because we were “naive” tourists…except I had done my research.  So I told several touts that their behavior was criminal and soon we had a tempo ride for a reasonable price.  We stayed in High Bank on the side of the river across from most of the action, but it was cheap ($4/night) and we had internet.  Plus, Mama made thali meals every night for a dollar that were incredible, but only for the first few nights…then I needed to branch out even though Joshua would have eaten them for the rest of his life!

EZH Mama Thali

We tried two yoga classes on our side of the river which were filled with more stretching and less yoga, as well as a meditation class.  I’ve never meditated, but I hope (for people who do it) that it is not like the class we took.  I had a bruise on my arm all week from an exercise we did where with our eyes closed the leader ran around the room and then poked us with a sharp object.  The goal was to concentrate on the pain which for me made it worse.  I didn’t like the exercise.  I didn’t like him.  And that was my experience with meditation.

We did find the most amazing chai shop in India, called The Office.  It also served muesli and porridge made for the gods.

EZH The Office Museli

EZH The Office Porridge EZH The Office

We stumbled into The Office through a recommendation and while there we were fortuitous enough to meet Kamal, a local yoga studio owner.  He suggested we try his school, Tattvaa Yogashala.  Instantly, we knew we were in the right place.  We took two classes a day until we left.  I’ve never been so overwhelmed by standing, but the way it was explained, even that simple act was an incredible workout!

EZH Yoga

 

BTW, that’s Kamal in the poster.

Joshua fell in love with Rishikesh, specifically this house where he imagines owning a cow and making gelato.

EZH Joshua's Dream House

He actually took a liking to cows in Rishikesh which is not uncommon because they walk down the street like people, hang by the fire, check out temples, pull down posters and accept pats from passers-by.  Their behavior is startling, freakishly human and so lovable  We haven’t eaten beef since…in fact, it’s been months.

Hungry for Yoga EZH Midget Cow EZH Cow Love EZH Religious Cow EZH Cold Cow EZH Chillin Cows EZH Cow Crossing EZH Cow for Breakfast

I fell in love with “puppy heaven”, a small beach on the Ganges where 7 puppies lived.  I visited them daily in between yoga sessions.

EZH Many Puppies EZH Happy Laura EZH Sandy Nose

EZH Puppy Heaven EZH Small Fry

The only animals I didn’t like in Rishikesh were the monkeys.  They were extremely aggressive…if you carried food, you basically had no choice but to hand it over if they caught wind.  They would open water bottles, turn on faucets…I’m surprised we didn’t see them driving motos.

EZH So Human

At the close of each day, one of the local ashrams led a musical chant by the river to encourage world peace.  Flowers, as offerings, were tossed into the river.  A beautiful setting to catch the sunset.

EZH Flower Offerings EZH Fire

EZH Daily Chant EZH Pondering World Peace EZH Selling Flowers

 

We’ll be back as soon as the government lets Joshua buy his cottage, cow and ice cream stand or before if we need a yoga vacation.

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