Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Offerings to the Ganges

Cheetal shows us to another cottage even further down this walled path which was just perfect. It has a nice little porch that hangs out over a ravine filled with mangoes and monkeys. In the near distance, those luscious mountains I still dream about are high above us, foresting ancient temples and ruins.
We relax and unwind on the porch, hanging our clothes out to dry, taking pictures of the beautiful scenery and enjoying the view. I love just picturing the Beatles hiding out here for months, on a high and inspired by the scenery. Our host Cheetal tells us about the time the elephants came crashing through the valley right below in a herd- how cool!
After settling in and filling out our guest and passport information, we set off for town. The walk down is pleasant, all downhill, with the Ganges below. Rickshaws putt-putt their way up and down as we pass little roadside vendors. Down in the village, we find the Cafe Madras, right near some shops. We order a GREAT big meal of fruit lassis, fresh Nutella pancakes and butter naan- my favorite!!! There is a constant flow of traffic, up and down the street. We do some shopping around, for mala beads, gifts, jewellery and souvenirs. Amanda, Hannah and I head down to the river and buy offerings at one of the ghats for only 10 rps.
It includes a banana leaf with marigolds, fresh petals, incense and burning clay. I say a little prayer for my friends, my family as I set the gift in the water and watch it quickly float down the Ganges.
We continue our shopping, looking at jewellery, anklets, CDs and clothing. We make our way slowly across the suspension bridge and see a gorgeous view of the mountains surrounding the river that flows out of them. Across on the other side, Hannah has a serene moment, where she just stops and needs to take it all in. The sights, the sounds, the people, the smells, the singing, the flow of the river. All the bright, colorful people are gathering, singing, praying, as the sun sets on the Ganges. Magical.

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