Dec. 18, 2008 – Walk to “Other” Waterfall
Instead of trying to catch up like I did earlier today, I think I will do better by working my way back and see how far I get. The past two posts had some stories and pictures from various things, and this post will give you an idea of what I did today. (Actually yesterday). Following my wonderful trek with Nobu up to the waterfalls on Monday, I had decided that I would attempt the waterfall on the other side of the Ganga by myself one day this week. I was busy for a couple of days, as you will read afterwards, and finally yesterday, Thursday, I decided to go. Got up my usual time, had a nice breakfast, felt the weather was a little cooler than on Monday (when I had worn too many clothes) and chose what to wear so as to carry the minimum but not be too hot or too cold. I hit it perfectly this time, wearing a long sleeve light cotton blouse with a zip up sweatshirt over it and light cotton neck scarf. I did not have to remove the sweatshirt the entire day, as the weather is definitely changing, and seems like winter will eventually find its way here. I left my room at 9:30 in the morning with brilliant sunshine overhead, a lovely blue sky, and crisp breeze blowing all the way. I took a slow walk down and over Laxman jhula and decided to “begin” the walk from there. While Monday we walked almost the whole way in the sun, and I found this quite difficult, this day’s walk was about 90 percent in the shade and for me this was perfect. The first hour or so were windy the whole way, but not an uncomfortably cold wind. I walked the whole time on shady roads, very little traffic, with the Ganga right off to my leftand the hills rolling up on the right.
It is about a 3 kilometer walk to the place where the path to the waterfall goes up, but
it is almost flat with a very gradual ascent along the way, hardly felt. I took my time, enjoyed the views and the lovely weather, and the wonderful shady mountain paths..
and after 45 minutes of walking came to the 3 chai shops which are set up at the entrance to the waterfall path. A baba (holy man – or supposed to be), approached me, speaking entirely in Hindi, showing me something on his cellphone, asking me questions and it was very strange. I ordered a masala chai before heading up, as this was exactly what I felt I needed at the moment – something warm and sweet. I sat down inside the chai shop, the only woman and only Westerner among a party of local Indian men. The baba didn’t leave me for a second and soon brought over what I thought was my chai. I took it from him and thanked him, but he continued to talk to me….eventually a couple of the Indian men understood he was annoying me (although I took no offense) and they said to me “he is poor ignorant man…sorry for disturbance” and tried to get him to leave me alone. I just drank “my” chai and enjoyed the view telling them it was OK. Then the shop owner came over with a cup of masala chai and it was only then that I realized that the baba had ordered himself a cup of chai at my expense and had come to sit down to drink it when I took it from him thinking it was mine! So I told him to take my chai and he insisted on pouring half of it into my cup and keeping only half for himself but I refused…and then ordered a parantha for him as well. He was ever so thankful, but I could see the Indian men were not happy with the whole thing…they really felt it was not right for him to expect this from me…but I felt fine with the whole thing. I finished my chai, paid and began walking up what they told me was a 10 minute walk. After walking more than an hour the other day, straight up, this seemed like child’s play.
This was not a well taken care of road like the one on Monday, and I found myself in deep forest within 2 minutes.…You can check out the pictures to get a feel for the walk. The path was very narrow but not dangerous. At one point I had a wonderful view of the Ganga
…and soon began hearing the sounds of the waterfall.
But as I got closer, the path got narrower and I began to realize that I probably should not have come alone, but I continued. Soon I saw the small rapids coming down the mountain side ….
But as I continued to climb the path became wet and I soon saw that in order to continue the climb up I would have to cross OVER the rapids flowing over the slippery wet rocks.
I assessed the situation and decided to resist temptation and go back despite walking 4 kilometers each way to get there! On the way down I met a baba and asked if there was another way up and he said no…sometimes it is flooded like today, but it is easy to cross and only 2 more minutes up. I almost turned back but my better sense took hold of me and I left. Not disappointed at all as it was a beautiful place and a lovely walk also back into town.
There are also a couple of pictures here
Of examples of massive building going on all along the shores of the Ganga here…it is really terrible. Like every other lovely place, it will eventually destroy the exact things which make it so lovely in the name of money. Really a shame.
Also, a couple of pics of local “wildlife” just for fun.
I continued into town thinking to eat a special restaurant…I was really hungry by now…only to find it closed for the day. I didn’t know what to do as I also needed a toilet. I found another restaurant where I had been meaning to eat for some time, but never did as they have no toilet. I mentioned this to the guy there and he said no problem and he directed me to the free public toilet mentioned in my previous post. Had a lovely lunch along the Ganga and then got a call from a few young Israel kids who wanted me to accompany them to a jewelry shop to pick gemstones etc. So I met them there, even bought myself a necklace to replace one of my favorites from garnet which I lost someplace this past year. Then spent some time in the internet talking to one of my daughters and by then it was after 4. I needed to get home before dark, around 6, because I didn’t have my torch with me. I never imagined I be out so long. Stopped to see a local friend on the way up, and then into my favorite new restaurant for a cup of chai and Ganga view (these pictures were posted yesterday). I sat there as long as I could without taking the chance of getting caught in the dark, and then headed back up home. Stopped by the guy with the leg injury, did some Reiki for him and then finally got back home by 6:30! I ordered a fruit salad and headed up to my room thinking the day was over. Before I could settle in, a couple of Israeli women traveling in India knocked on my door. They had heard about me and wanted some advice, so they sat with me for close to an hour. I finally found myself alone again (as I had hoped to be all day…actually did manage a good part of the day to be alone). I ate my fruit salad, had a hot drink and watched a couple episodes of House, did some reading and went happily to sleep around 10.
Perfect day!! Sitting for hours of the day along the Ganga, just absorbing its energies. It is hypnotizing and brings a joyful serenity to me.
I am truly blessed