Ten on Tuesday – 19
Ten Things About My Recent Trip to Haridwar – Rishikesh
- Last week had to travel to a camp site at Shivpuri which is some 19 kms from Rishikesh. The car journey from Haridwar railway station to Shivpuri via Rishikesh, gave a glimpse of the 2 holy cities. On both the sides of the highway, there are big buildings with huge compounds and gardens which are actually the Ashrams of different sadhus and saints, Maths of various religious outfits, or the yoga centres or temples.
- Another striking feature is plethora of road side dhabas or eateries or food stalls. A perfect business sense as the cities cater to huge number of pilgrims round the year!
- Witnessed the evening aarti at Rishikesh at a ghat on the river Ganga. The chanting of the mantras, with the sound of gushing river and a slight nip in the air gave a sense of peace and serenity.
- It’s money, money and only money in the temples of Rishikesh. Rows of temples of various Gods and Goddesses. You get into one, try to have one to one conversation with the Lord above, in peace and there’s no peace… all you get is, pestering by the vendors selling flowers and pooja thali, prasad and even the priests, order you to ‘offer’ cash to the Good Lord!!
- Walking down the market lanes, came across an amusing sight… Saw 4 beggar children speaking in English with a foreigner. They spoke so fluently and confidently, that I was simply amazed! Then there was this kid, who had drawn some things on notebook papers and was asking us to buy his drawings for Rs 10!! Ingenious!
- Went to the famous Chotiwala. Now, there are 2 Chotiwala outlets, next to each other. The usual story… 2 brothers separated and thus 2 outlets. While the Chotiwala guy sitting outside the first restaurant was very patient and posed nicely to my some 20 shots of him. The second one did not appreciate me clicking him. In one of the picture, I had captured his scorn too. And as luck would have it, we were to eat in the second outlet !
- Not to miss the business bandwagon, saw a Topiwala restaurant too!
- The market abounds with old sadhus or men, begging or just sitting stoned in some corners.
- This is the sight at the Haridwar Railway Station. This is cooking in progress for a large number of people. And guess, who were these people?? The Uttrakhand Police! Yeah some huge battalion was at the station, must be travelling to some place by train! So, cooking on the station before the train arrived! Incredible India indeed!
- On my return journey, I had good 2 hours to wait at the Railway Station. While reading my book, I had this sudden urge to have a pizza for dinner in the train! So, immediately googled about Pizza Hut and Dominos in Haridwar. Google, the God gave me the number of Dominos Pizza outlet. Dialled the number, ordered the pizza and gave the address as Platform No. 1, Haridwar Railway Station. A few seconds of confusion at their end and 30 minutes later, I had the hot Pizza in my hands!! I was sooooo thrilled at my brainwave!! A pizza never tasted so good!!