Saturday, October 11, 2008
We returned to Uttarkashi from Dodital. I really needed some rest after the 54 kilometer trek in the past three days. A hot bath – with water heated using an immersion coil,… it was after years that I had even seen an immersion coil :-) – a great meal and a good night’s sleep – how well I slept! like a baby – it was time to leave. Desirous as I was for some more Buras juice, they bought me a bottle of it from a shop in the market. My bag became really heavy with all the liquid- one letre of gangajal and one liter of Buras juice….
Yogesh’s mother really liked the shawl I gave her. After hugs and promises to keep in touch, I left to Rishikesh in a jeep. Ah! I forgot my umbrealla in Yogesh’s bag! I hope it will be a kind of memoir… :-)
I reached Rishikesh in the evening. It was hot. And dusty. What a drastic weather change it was for me!
I left towards Ram Jhula. This is newly constructed.
Laxman Jhula was there years – decades before.
Thriambakeshwar Temple as seen from Laxman Jhula.
To all those who are naturally charmed by its solemn name and all that it stands for, visiting the place for the first time, hoping to see the land they have read about in scriptures, epics and other books, Rishikesh will only be a place of unending disillusionment. It will make you weep at the realization of what mankind has done to the place that had once seen sages, hermits, saints, meditation, penance, Yoga and epiphany on the banks of the Ganga.
I must mention (with a heavy heart) that Rishikesh is an overcrowded, dirty, polluted, hot unkempt city. It has the potential to turn even a philanthropist to a misanthropist. Will avoid the gory details here.
The only solace is the sight of the Ganges flowing in the valley, with a grave disposition. Conversely, it is worth going to the hot, filthy, crowded town of Rishikesh just to see the Ganges (even if it is just a glimpse) in her breadth, depth and calm.
One should see the Ganga at Gaumukh and then at Rishikesh to know what a difference tributaries make. At Gaumukh you can ford the river in 10 steps. She (the river) is a narrow stream and you can see the river bed. Her movement is ebullient and her music is lively and playful …just like a child after birth.
At Rishikesh, my God! Her effervescence is no more. Her music is a silent drone. Her mood is contemplative. The swell of the river frightens you. A hanging bridge has been built over her. She spans a width of 100 meters.
Crossing Ram Jhula the next mornig. 6:00 AM
I could not get enough of this sight that exudes so much peace and serenity.
Men may come and men may go but I go on forever.
She has been flowing since eternity. I sincerely hope to God that she will flow for an eternity to come.
For more pictures, see Rishikesh