October 26, 2009- My First Bathing in Ganga This Trip and a REAL Date
Woke up this morning and knew this would be the day I finally get down to the Ganga for a dip. And despite staying up really late last night with Ben (we watched a 3 part BBC documentary called “Unforgiven” and watched all three parts in one sitting)-
I woke up bright and early and feeling good this morning. I got myself out early and went down to my favorite restaurant along the Ganga for aloo parantha and masala chai, and after sitting there for quite some time, headed down to the beach. It was just past 10:30 in the morning and it was a ovely day…each day is just a little bit cooler, with a lovely breeze making walking quite pleasant. Since I had my camera with me today, (I hardly ever take it out any more), decided to take some new shots of Rishikesh to share with you. There are some nice views of the street heading down to Laxshman Jhula,
and even a picture of a typical Indian family on vacation posing for a group snapshot at the bridge.
Today must have been a record for me as well, as I was asked to pose with people no less than 7 times!! Must have been me dressed in my Indian clothes that did it, but it is always fun to meet these families, or group of young men asking to be photographed with tourists.
I then continued down to the beach I have always loved to find that the path down has been blocked off with a warning that swimming is prohibited – danger of drowning. But it was easy enough to (there are more photos in the second half of this post)
find my way around the obstacles and head down to the beach. If I did not know however, that there was a path down, I probably would not have pushed forward at that point, thinking I was at the wrong place.
As you can see from the pictures, it was absolutely lovely…completely alone, not another person in sight…you can see the clear, white sands without a single footprint on them against the backdrop of the trees and blue sky…it was a perfect day to be there.
I’ve been told there was a very good monsoon this year, and it is evident in the depth of the river. The Ganga is higher this year than I have ever seen it before the winter snows begin to melt into it.
And I made another interesting discovery. In past years, I had always waited for the warmer weather to go down, thinking it would be too cold outswide to go in the water and come out into the cold air. Now I realize that this was a double mistake.
First of all, when the is well over 30 degrees, there is no way (at least for me) to enjoy sitting on a sunny stretch of beach for more than 10 minutes – just long enough to get into the water, out, get dressed and hike back up again, without collapsing.
Secondly, when the weather warms up, the glacial snows start to melt, and flow down from the mountains into the Ganga,, turning it into pure ice water.
Today the weather is in the mid 20’s, I am sitting with the sun on back, a lovely breeze relieves and excessive heat I might otherwise feel, and the water, although very cold, is certainly no where near the ice water it is in the warmer weather. I was able to dunk myself easily and even remain in the water for a short while. Something completely un-doable in the ice water. I am now sitting on the rocks, thoroughly enjoying the quiet and peacefulness of this beach-where I am completely alone with the Ganga, gently lapping the shore and inviting me in for a second dunk! My biggest problem of the day is keeping my longee (sarong), from falling off!
All in all it was a perfect day at the Ganga, had a fruit salad at a nearby restaurant, went home, had some coffee and cake, took a nap, and then got ready for my DATE!
Yes, I had a date last night. My friend Ben, who I have known for tha past two years, actually invited me out for dinner. This is highly out of character for him, and I accepted happily. He is always fun to spend time with anyway, so knew it would be nice.
He came to pick me up, after I took time to get dressed nicely, took me back to the place he is staying where he had instructed his landlady to prepare a Thali for his me which, he remembered, could not be spicey for me. (Everyone has a different concept of what spicey is, but the fact that he remembered that I don’t eat spicey food was nice in itself).
We had a lovely dinner, spent some interesting time together in his room where he showed me his ideas for a new business venture he is putting together, and then he walked me back home. And this being a “real” date, it continued as real dates do once we got back to my house. All in all the perfect end to a perfect day.