Dehradun oasis, Mountain views & yoga time

Trip Start Feb 05, 2009
Trip End Dec 16, 2010

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Flag of India  , Uttarakhand,
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back to Delhi in a sleeper bus, great invention! Don't know why Eurolines has not introduced them yet in there cross-europe travel or maybe I have taken the wrong ones! You take a bunk (single or double) the size of a small bed and lay streched the whole trip. Although I wonder if this is the case for the double bunks, as it is occupied by in-love-couples most of the time ;-))

Staying only one day in Delhi to get my camera fixed (again), this time I dropped it and broke the viewer lens! Luckily 'my guy’ in CP does same day repairs. Meeting Fawad for a coffee (thanks for letting me park the van!!!) and off to Rishikesh…takes me 3 hours to get out of Delhi…luckily I have the new front window, so driving in the dark is no longer a problem. I still not prefer it, but the accident is out of my system and I do want to make it to Rishikesh in one day. Meeting Cindy again there! In the evening a police guy stops me…’Road tax’…I reply with ‘Koy baat nahi (no problem)’ and drive off. You do not have to pay road tax in this country. This is just a scam to collect bakshis (extra income!), money I do not want to spend. The next police post I just ignore the lot, if they really want their rupees, they can come after me to try to get it!

In Rishikesh me and Cindy spend some time together, her last days before going back to Holland! We go for a small trip with the van, taking a holy dip in the Ganga and sunbathing for the first time. Of course staying clear of people, because outside Goa being dressed in a bikini is really not done in India! Cindy even sleeps in the van one night! Although it’s a bit hot and the bed is too short for her. Then already time to have a last tea together and jump on the bus. We will meet again in India or Nederland! Thanks for all the good moments and advice!

I decide to drive to Dehradun and meet up with a friend of Charles. This time a ‘bridge tax’ scam crosses my path. I just say No 4x times and keep on drinking my water. Even 4 people do not intimidate me and in the end they let me go without paying!! Arriving at Dehradun he escorts me to his house…well better to say a little paradise in the middle of the city: an old colonial mansion surrounded by grass and lots of beautiful trees! When sitting on the veranda you don’t realize you are in a city at all. During my time there, they offer me to park the van on their premises while going into the mountains with Roman. As we will be off-road most of the time, the van will only be a burden. Instead of staying one day, I stay a bit longer as I get along very well with his parents and a friend of theirs. He even goes shopping with me for white cloths! Life at their house is new to me, in respect to getting used to the servants being around. Independent as I am I find it difficult to tell them to make me a tea, serve my food and other chors. They all live at the premises in separate buildings, a huge family that has been working for the Family for centuries already. The old man is fond of me ever since I greeted him in his Muslim language ;-)

The older generation did not let the servants go to school, as they were afraid that they would leave the house for better jobs elsewhere (very egocentric thinking), but Bijoya and Alark encourage them to learn and pay their school fees. Times are changing and yet I feel like living in old colonial times in this house! After my mountain trip with Roman I came back here for a few more days. Having a huge room with attached bathroom to myself, doing my own thing as Bijoya and Alark are not always around. Just do your thing, well that is not difficult for me ;-) Before driving to the border, I go to visit the school they set up 10 years ago in their farmhouse. It is a huge building which acted as administrative offices during the plantation period. No time now, but when I come back we can see if I can help out in any way. Thank you so much for your laidback hospitality, I left at home from the start!

Leaving my home-on-wheels in Dehradun, I hop on the local bus to Barkot and on another to Rajghari, a small village where Roman has the possibility to start an ashram on the top of a hill. Finally I see the area he talked about for so long. Also meet Martina and Richard again, the other 2 guys left for Rishikesh already. The 4 of us set of for Uttarkashi the next day, spending a few days in a small spiritual town full of ashrams, temples and devotees. We travel as sanyasi, dressed in white, focused on spiritual side of life. Doing a mantra (repetition of holy words 108 times) using a mala (rope with 109 beads) twice a day, yoga when possible and Roman also explains us more about several topics. For me it is getting back into it again… We have the opportunity to be part of a full puja (ritual to worship a guru/god) and arti done by a swami and be part of a lecture morning with a lot of wise gurus. Unfortunately most is in Hindi. Roman is also asked to say a few things, on the spot. He does well.

Then it is time to go into nature, taking food with us, we set out to Nachiketa Tal, a holy lake at 3000m height. One baba lives there year-round devoted to this place and it god(s). After a 4km hike we reach the place, it is beautiful and very shanty, with amazing views! We spend our time doing yoga (my body is protesting heavily!), making fires, food, chai and relaxing. Sleeping under the stars at night! Something I really love to do! One night we spend in the kutti (house) of the baba, nice and warm, but without much sleep as he goes to bed late and gets up at 04.00 with loud music. The fact that there are some guests around, does not make him change his rhythm…

We could have stayed here much longer, but I have to go to Nepal soon and the rest needs to do some shopping before returning to Czech Republic, so we travel, the alternative route, to Rishikesh. 2 local buses, a ferry crossing and 2 shared jeeps in one day. But the views are worth it! At the ferry we have to wait some time. Hot it is, so looking at the water we all have the same thought: jumping in! Easy for the guys, but what to I do. I wrap the sarong around me as decent as possible and lower myself into the water. Not easy, swimming while keeping the sarong decently wrapped with one hand, but the water is refreshingly cool!

The next few days we spend in touristy spiritual Rishikesh! Due to Martin and Mara we stay at this quiet guesthouse away from the crowds with communal kitchen and roof terrace to do yoga. I join Roman when visiting the ayuvedic herb shop, buying several things myself, like nime and tulsi. We find this rainbow connected place called The Pyramide and go for Indian food at a local restaurant around the corner. It becomes our local. But most of the time I take it easy and relax at the guesthouse. Sweating like pig, not able to do anything in the heat of the afternoon.

Time flies by, Martin and Mara leave for Nepal (will see you there!) and we are going back to Dehradun. Last moments together at Mr. Patel’s house, where we share a meal and then time to say ‘See u later!’.  Roman. where will we meet next time? In India? Hari Om!

For me time to go to a new country…I tried at the local FRO to get registration so I can stay longer on this visa, but no luck. See it as a sign that I need a break from India for a while. I take 2 days to get there, stopping at a refreshing lake for a siesta, enjoying the farmland view along the way. I give a lift to 2 Hindi women, who need to return to their village, surprised and happy that they feel save to get in the van with me! Where to park for the night? Looking for a place there is a few things to consider: 1. level ground to park the van 2. possibility to jump out and pee without being seen. 3. free spot 4. bathing possibility (river etc.) = bonus 5. good view = bonus. Choose of parking this time: behind a big building on the edge of a small town (score 1,2 and 3). Very quiet…so it seems, until 06.00 the next morning when my van is surrounded by school kids! Turns out this big building is the local school ;-) As I am the attraction of the day, I leave early to give the teachers the opportunity to start the school day in an organized manner!

Finding the right road to Nepali border is not as easy as it seems. As my van is too big to pass a permanent road block, I have to take a detour. Luckily a local guy is kind enough to direct me to this gravel road gate, as I would not have guest this would lead to Nepal!

Time for a new country, learning a new language yet again!
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barry on

great,photo,s see you are having a graet time,i see by the you swam in the,same river as me in risherkesh,ha,ha,love and kisses,barry,xxxxxxxxx

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