December 8, 2009 – Unforgettable Picture Day , and Solution to Getting Back to Delhi During Kumbha Mela
Today was a day for taking unforgettable pictures. Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me! I don’t carry it because it is heavy, and I’ve decided to buy a compact camera like many people now have which is just a little large than a cellphone, but after deciding to do panchakarma for 6 weeks, I don’t have the money for it right now. At any rate….I will just write about the things which I passed today…I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but I will just tell you what I missed photographing.. One: I tourist sitting outdoors eating his lunch at a restaurant
when a cow strolled over and helped himself freely to a free meal while the tourist looked on in total astonishment…it was quite funny to see!
Two: A cow standing in the street (nothing unusual) with a crow calmly sitting on his back…both of them seeming totally content and at peace…I watched them for over 5 minutes as the crow just sat watching the passing view from his perch, and the cow continued munching on something in the street.
Three: A guy carrying his whole kiosk on his head! This will take a little more effort to describe but I will do my best, and one day try and get a picture of a kiosk like this actually set up for action on the street. In the afternoon many vendors set up stands with their wares for sale as fast foods. This guy was selling fried treats. The cage like metal meshed container with the ready made round fried treats in it was about three times the diameter of his head and just as high. In addition, he carried, also on his head (all held in place by a metal carrying device), three pots and other utensils which I don’t quite remember. One of the pots usually holds dough for making more of the same, another pot holds the oil for deep frying in and I don’t know what was in the third pot. In addition, there was, still on his head, a small primus stove for preparing more once he got his little kiosk set up on the street. And he walked along the street with one hand helping to balance the load on his head, and the other had holding a fairly large bag with I don’t know what else inside. It was quite a sight
I seem to have my energy back today and was able to visit a friend and also do a little more shopping. I was tired by the time I got home, but happy that I was able to be out a bit…and even managed to do some yoga this evening before eating supper.
I’ve had to make a decision about how I am getting back to Delhi in February. Due to the Kumbha Mela festival which takes place once every 12 years here (mainly in Hardiwar but there is no way to get from rishikesh to delhi without passing Haridwar). The Kumbha Mela is the largest gathering of people on the Earth. Literally millions come to this festival so that having to drive anywhere near Haridwar in either direction can take as much as 6 hours instead of the usual maximum of 1 hour .
So, getting back to Delhi for example, even by train is a problem if I have to catch a train in Haridwar. I was advised , if I go by train, to take the train one hour further up the route from the station in DehraDun which is no problem to get to as it is in the opposite direction. In other words, go back to get on the train in the opposite direction.
But in the end I decided this would be a problem for me. The train arrives in Delhi at 11 at night and my flight is at 6 in the morning. I cannot imagine spending that many hours in the airport.
I usually just go by taxi but the chances of having the trip taking well over 10 hours is not unfeasible. So, in the end, I’ve decided to take a taxi, which is easier for me as I hate the hassle of finding porters to carry my bags, especially in New Delhi station and then finding a taxi, etc. I will take a taxi to Delhi and stay over at a hotel, which in the end might be easier for me. I usually travel at night to the airport, am up all night basically and arrive home exhausted. This way I will have a day in Delhi and also sleep before getting to the airport. I thought I would travel at night and arrive early the day of my flight in delhi, but was then also told that traveling at night that time of the year is a problem as there is fairly often very bad fog at night, up until about 8 in the morning which could prevent traveling or make it very hazardous.
So, the final decision is that I will leave 2 days before the flight, around 9 in the morning, and whenever I get to delhi will be OK. I will then have a full day the following day in Delhi before flying out at 6 the next morning. It will be more expensive than going straight to the airport, but it will be stress free for me and that is more important to me at this point in my life.
Now I just have to make a hotel reservation and I am set.