Sunday, 4 November 2012

Hari Oum Friends!

Sunday 4th Nov

Checked out of Bhandari and into Seema Guesthouse, then jotted down a few places to check out for yoga and such and do a bit more exploring. I went into the main temple within Rishikesh, Shri Trayanbakshwar, just by the bridge, which looks like a wedding cake. This temple is massive, I'm talking like 10-20 levels, with around 10 prayer rooms on each floor. In each room are statues of around 3 gods or goddesses with a bell above each one (hinduism has thousands of these - hence so many rooms). They go into each room, ring the bell of the god or goddess they wish to pray to and then say their prayers. This is why there is a constant clang of bells in India, because there are so many in each temple!! I had a blessing done, which involved sipping some sweet milk, having a bindhi painted and a prayer bracelet tied around my wrist. They also have shops within the temple, and one man kept telling me 'It's fine, you just pay me tomorrow, have this ring!' I was having none of it. Thun on my way down, there was a party of around 20 Indians, little old women, men, children - every single one of them said Namaste, took my hand, kissed it, said a prayer and touched my head. I have no idea why, but I felt very special lol. 

After I went and had lunch in The Little Buddha Cafe, best place in town to eat and where all the backpackers go other than up in High Bank where I’m staying. Got a prime spot at the balcony over-looking the Ganges, and ordered a Masala Chai (I’m now addicted, I have to have one with every meal and before bed) and some Paneer, Spinach and Mushroom Momos (basically a Tibetan form of Polish or Chinese dumplings that come with a watery/herby soup and a thick masala peanut dip). 

Before it arrived, an Israeli group sat at the table next to me and Ethon and an Australian girl called Sam, asked if I’d like to join them. And so I did, and a wonderful friendship was formed! We sat and chatted for ages. Sam told me about the yoga classes she does in the morning up in High Bank and we decided to go together the next morning, and also about a 3 day Himalaya trek, for £125. And we both agreed, having never done trekking before, to go and enquire at the expedition shop about doing it. Ethon and a few of his Israeli friends (Israeli’s all tend to hang around together here, there’s a massive network of them and they also all stay at the same hostel in town, which we’ve nick-named the Israeli Hotel), were going to a party that was being organised on the hush. Sam and I weren’t really interested in it as it would basically just be all Israeli’s and we’d not get back til the next day. 

So we just headed back, checked out the tour on the way - which we decided we were definitely doing - and then went to Swarg Ashram to check out the Ganga Aarti, but we’d just missed it – we only managed to catch the end with all the prayers - so we took a rather dark, scary route back to Lakshman Jhula for a meal at the Ganga Beach Restaurant, a cosy little place by the river (pretty much every restaurant here has an amazing view out over the river). I had a Paneer Tikka Masala, with a Masala Chai too of course! 

Sam really fancied a Nutella Pancake and we didn’t want to end the night too early, so we decided to head back to High Bank and sit outside the cafe that’s near both our hotels and have a lemon tea whilst chatting some more before bed. Sam is lovely; she’s 31 (though looks no older than mid-twenties, from the Gold Coast, is very spiritual, lived in England for 3 years but is now back in Oz, has a 12yr old daughter (who’s staying with her Grents) and a fiancé, who’s coming out to meet her mid-november. Since we met, we’ve pretty much spent every day together!

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