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January 2, 2012

 

1,2, 2011Ding dong! A man woke us up ringing the doorbell at 7:00am. He had brought tea to our door! We could get used to that! A couple hours later, our group was out the door and on the road. We drove everywhere in separate taxis and today we added some tour guides (so we were like sardines in a tin). We drove all over the area, stopping at many dams and canals along the way. Our main tour guide was so full of life and had so much to say about these canals! Our final canal stop was on the Ganges River.

After the canals were all scoped out, we went to a temple on the top of a small mountain. The cars stopped at the bottom of the hill. We got out of the taxis and went inside the “tropical gardens” of the temple and bought our tickets to ride the gondola up to the mountain top. We got to the top of the mountain and went inside the sacred temple. We had to remove our socks and shoes at the entrance. Once inside, there were just ropes and railings set up for a large crowd and we climbed to the true entrance. The actual temple consisted of a bell that you had to ring when you enter, a man hands you puffed rice, you feed the rice to a lion statue, you walk by four booths (where you may receive a blessing), and then there are many shops as you exit the temple.

By the way, there were monkeys EVERYWHERE! One monkey ran up to a small child, stole his souvenir bag and ripped everything in there to SHREDS! They can be nasty little critters!

That night, we went to a festival to see a nightly ritual in Haridwar. The festival goes something like this:

The goddess of the water is celebrated daily. If you would like the goddess to bless you and your family, you should come to this ritual. First, the persons all sit on the bank of the canal. Some men walk around with slips of paper and give you the opportunity to purchase “blessings” for the family. Once it is time, the festival begins with the lighting of the torch. Across the river, at the temple, we could see the first fire being lit. Then the man (who was selling blessings) stands on a pedestal and leads the “congregation” in a round of chanting. While the chanting continues the fire is passed to more and more torches. The fire helps the goddess to hear the calls of the people. Then these small leaf like boats filled with flowers are lit (by a wick in the middle) and sent down the river by many people so that the gods will hear their hopes and wishes. It was a lovely sight to see.

After the festival, everyone goes to the large market which is just behind the temple. There are so many shops that it is like a small city in the market! After a while, all of the items started repeating themselves and the food looked more and more tempting (which is terrible because we Americans shouldn’t eat the street food for belly ache sake)! Anyway, the shops were busy and the pathways were packed! There were motorcycles going up and down the pathways but they had to lay on their horn and drive so slowly to make it through the crowds. Our group was supposed to stick together, but this was almost impossible!

 

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Last modified on September 10th, 2015
Posted on July 29th, 2012