Excitement at 6500 feet!

I have just returned from the trip to Haridwar-Rishikesh-Mussoorie. Accompanied by three ladies, my mummy, mum’s sister {massi} and her daughter, we set out for Haridwar, early at 3 AM. The drive was great, thru the green highway, half sleeping half awake. Through Uttar Pradesh into uttaranchal. Saw the IIT Rourkee. Even saw the Delhi-Lahore bus “Sarhad-e-Hind”, driving on the highway en route to Pakistan. The Ganga is a river, not only considered pure in the Hindu religion, but also by scientists and environmentalists. The Ganga water contains antibodies that keep the river clean despite all the dead bodies being floated in the waters. Ganga water never stinks even if kept stored for very very very long periods of time and remains as pure as ever. No harmful bacteria can survive in that water.

The First Day:
We drove straight to Haridwar, a 5 hour drive through Ghaziabad, Muzzafarnar, and beyond to Haridwar…. The highway is very green. On reaching Haridwar. we searched for a hotel. The search itself took us a very very long time. Many hotels had a dank smell in their rooms, the ground water level is high and it usually seeps into the construction. After a long search for just the right place, we flopped onto the beds and had a nice sleep to melt away the cramps of the drive. Once awake, fresh and clean, we walked down to Har-ki-pauri and sat by the Ganga-side chatting away and occasionally sprinkled ourselves with the water, the river was swollen due to the monsoons. There were people taking the holy dip all around us on the ghats, yep the crowd jostled around to eradicate their sins. We could see people cremating their dear ones and immersing their ashes in the water, the ashes look like burnt pieces of charcoal. Although it was unappetizing to see people taking a dip and coming up in the midst of somebody’s ashes. Then dinner and a fitful sleep.

The second day: We woke up early to ready ourselves for the drive to Rishikesh. The rains lashed incessantly on the roof of our car, and the wipers worked furiously to keep the windscreen clear. The drive was very very scenic, the freshly washed greenery looked awesome, as if all grime had been washed away from leaves of plants and trees, bringing colour to the dull environment. Rishikesh is actually in the plains, but surrounded by mountains. We walked up to the “Laxman Jhoola” – a suspension bridge over Ganga. It started to rain heavily walked up the long four kilometre stretch into the ghat’s. Sitting by the Gangaside, one cannot help but wonder at the swift current and the sheer force by which the icy cold water flows. There was a foreigner sitting at the ghats, seeking blessings of every passing priest. The priests surrounded him and lectured him, gave him a rosary {mala} and asked him the recite mantras while counting the beads of the rosary, the guy started off with his accented prayers. Foreigners come to Rishikesh, only for two reasons, either to observe the culture of the Indian people, or for cheap drugs. After having done with walking in the rain, having lunch in the famous “Chotiwala” restaurant” and sitting at the ghats- we drove back to Haridwar. In the evening, we again took our places by the river at Har-ki-pauri to watch the daily “aarti” ritual by the banks, when priests with four foot high flames pray to Ganga maiya. Mummy floated a diya in the holy waters.

The third day: woke up very very early and amidst rains, started off with the 90 km journey from Haridwar to Musoorie {6500-7000 feet above sea level}. Drove through Dehradoon, watched all those gentlemen cadets of the Indian Military Academy jogging in their smart Army fatigues while braving the rains. The “moosladhar varsha” brought heavy fog and driving was precarious while going up the mountains. It was very very beautiful driving up the mist covered mountains, and foggy roads. Found a hotel in Musoorie and flopped down for a fitful, cetrizen induced sleep {did I mention that I had caught a cold by now by being drenched in the rains and had to take a cetrizen tablet}. Woke up at 3 PM and went down to the Mall road with our umbrellas. I think Musoorie deserves a separate paragraph in this post now.

Musoorie: The mall was great, there were honeymooners all around and… it was just great. I am in a position now to say that punjabi kuri’s are the most beutifulest-est in the entire world! It was a great sight to watch those freshly married girls roaming around {with their mother’s consent to wear “bold” clothes} while braving the cold of the Musoorie mountains. Seems as if the unmarried crowd also did not want to look no less, but anyways lets not go into the details now! The Musoorie mall road is one of the longest hill station mall that I have seen, stretching well over 2 km. We wandered around, having a taste of everything from momos to soup to bunta, souffle and ice cream {in the freezing wind and rain}. Fortunately the rain stopped, and more crowds flooded onto the street{!}. It was just beautiful all around. We went up the ropeway {cable cars} and watched the view from there. Mum and massi tried their hand at shooting baloons with an air gun. Reminiscing their days of NCC training. We descended from the clouds in the ropeway, back to mall. It was evening by now and time for dinner. After dinner as we say in punjabi “geri marna” and also “totey tadna” we walked back to the hotel. It was now 11 PM and we had been on our toes since 3 PM, having walked more than 10 km.

Musoorie day 2:
Today was the day that we had to drive to Delhi. After checking out early morning and dumping the luggage in the car. We again went back to mall, had breakfast did masti for two hours and then got ready for the drive back. Cruising slowly along the roads in the light mist, watching the towns in the valley and listening to Punjabi songs we made it to Dehradoon, then to Haridwar, took a lunch break and then heading towards Delhi. Passed Ramdevji’s ashram where he is growing “aushadi’s” and researching for ayurvedic medicines. Through Rourkee, passing by the Indian Institute of Technology. Crossing over from Uttaranchal into Uttar Pradesh, Driving endlessly weaving through traffic. Stopping for a cup of tea and stretching our legs at Muzzafarnagar, then to Meerut, Ghaziabad and Delhi- reaching home after a 10 hour drive from Musoorie.

Now, I my throat is choked, nose is blocked, and to top it all, my beloved phone stopped working. Enjoyed to the core, experienced spirituality at Haridwar and “exciting” crowds at Musoorie. Stared in wonder at the IMA cadets and admired the studious scholars miling around at IIT Rourkee. It was a “complete” trip. I loved the journey, the climate was awesome, trekked a lot. Rafting is banned during Monsoons- maybe be next time. Wonderful time off from computer engineering, and a long awaited vacation. Dangerous curves at Musoorie- drive carefully!

~ by sleepwalker on July 14, 2005.

7 Responses to “Excitement at 6500 feet!”

  1. seems like you had a great time! i love going to haridwar..keeps me much peace…and swimming in the Ganga is just revelating! šŸ™‚ I am glad that you had a great time. Sorry to hear abt. your phone. šŸ˜¦

  2. Yep, Haridwar was a very spiritual experience, with temples everywhere and sadhu’s wandering around.
    My phone seems to have died an unfortunate death, the nokia people have said that it is damaged beyond repair, it had been only 6 months since I bought it, and every body used to say that it was a very nice set. šŸ˜¦

  3. looks like u had loads of fun…. hve a strong objection to “studious scholars miling around at IIT Rourkee” … u probably misjudged them… the studious ones dont roam around.

  4. right u are Mr. Handa šŸ™‚ and welcome to my place on the web…

  5. hey man… whats ur email address? i found the harry potter book but i dont know where to mail it to. so drop in a mail at ravihanda [at] gmail [dot] com

  6. You reminded me of my trip to Haridwar-Rishikesh when I was a teen,probably in class 8.
    Seems you had bagful of fun !
    Gr8 !!! Now welcome back …sit down,sit back and blog on ! šŸ˜€

  7. ur description of the trip really makes me look forward to such a trip…goodness knows when that wud happen! neway, good that u had a great time!

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