I came unprepared and with almost zero knowledge about India except for a little of history I read on the beginning pages of pink-turban-covered-Lonely-Planet-India-travel-guide while on a trip up north to Rishikesh from Delhi. Instead of taking the train to Haridwar, we chose to take the Tata private taxi because its the most convenient mode of transportation.
We left Delhi around 11am and we stopped on an Indian restaurant for my first taste of Thali (Shahu Paneer, Dal, Rice, Salad and Chapati) and Masala Dosa. Chai was a good choice, warmed me for a couple of ours.
Rocky and dusty was the road. It felt weird because India following the British colonial influence drives on the left hand side of the road (I’m used to the right-hand traffic in the Philippines). Add to the fact that Indians seem not to care about road safety as I have seen more than a dozen of “inches to collision” moments. Thank Shiva for the setting red sun visible on our rear window became a temporary diversion. The winter fog starting to thicken- it was responsible for the sun’s round shape to become clearer.
After more than six hours of bumps and death-defying taxi driving we arrived at Rishikesh, particularly Laxman Jhula’s plaza square. It was freezing and my leather slippers only made the condition unbearable, the chai in the small tea cup I was drinking became cold even before I finished it.
So this is Rishikesh. Rishikesh is a small town in the northern Uttarakhand province, as such it is scenically positioned because this is where the Ganges river starts coming from the Himalayas. Locals are also proud of the place because this is “The World Capital of Yoga.” None other than The Beatles visited this same town to practice yoga at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram which is now closed. Backpackers continue to visit this place for
hash the cold weather and some try whitewater rafting too.
We spent a week of our time in India here for some yoga. We were welcome to Mahatma Yoga Ashram which was perched on a hill overlooking the Mama Ganga. It was quiet and really really cold. India let me experience winter for the first time and in the air was blowing the coldness of the Himalayas. I remember pinching myself because I still can’t believe I was in a new country- India.
This story continues here: My First Ashram Experience in India