Rishikesh is considered to be “The Yoga Capital of the World”, became widely popular in the West when four lads from Liverpool who had a little rock band, called The Beatles, came here to practice meditation in the late sixties. Legend has it that during their stay here they composed most of the songs that would later make up “The White Album”. Brit Pop references aside, Rishikesh is awesome! I spent most of my waking hours here either doing yoga or eating banana and chocolate samosas, or apple cinnamon samosas, or veggie pakora, or museli at The Office. In short, yoga, food, yoga, food, yoga food and in between meeting some really nice people from all over the world who were also on a similar yoga/food cycle. Rishikesh is a very important city for Hindus because it is here where the holy river Ganges flows out of the Himalayas and into the northern plains of India. We were lucky enough to be in this sacred Hindu city during Diwali or “Festival of Lights”, a very important festival in Hinduism. By lighting candles and blowing up enough fireworks to wage war on a foreign country, Indians celebrate going from darkness into light, the triumph of good over evil. We attended a few celebrations and they were very enjoyable, but the lasting impression of Diwali is the sound of fireworks going off non-stop for 3 straight nights. I could not stop thinking about my brother and my cousin, who are pathological pyromaniacs. They would have LOVED this.
In any case, here are a few pics from our time there. Including a shot of a Swami who was writing the mantra Om Namah Shivay 10 million times. He showed me his notebooks, he was up to 3 million. Well, see for yourself.
Stay tuned for more of Juanse’s attempt to understand emptiness after a word from our sponsors. Wait, we don’t have a sponsor!
|Sunset over the Ganges|
|Om Namah Shivay|