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Jodphur to Jaislmer

MARCH 3, 2013

Leaving Jodphur and heading to Jaiselmer now. Had an amazing day of photography today.

Jodhpur – gypsies, farmers, woman laboring in brightly colored saris, pigeons and shit everywhere, an amazing palace being set up for a Bollywood wedding…hundreds of metres of curtains made from fresh marigolds…incredible.

300km of huge pot holes and little roads, crazy speeding drivers down little back country roads with ALOT of horn honking, cows, goats and monkeys that are all sacred and therefore wander freely and with confidence (it’s kind of funny meeting confident cows).

Incredible and proud hardworking people who live out here in the Thar desert… No natural water source.  Very superstitious, gypsies, farmers, goat herders, stick collectors, cow dung cake makers, fortune mystic men….. We’ve met, hung out with and photographed some amazing people.

Jaiselmere  – sunsets, camels, mud hut villages with Seik musicians, wood fires, magicians, women making the best looking food cooked over small fires in the sand, tried to get permission to visit the Pakistan border for photos, arguments with the army, masons, farmers, policemen,  living fort with  wonderful views over the desert, Jaine temples, Jaine pilgrims 40 degrees C –  very very hot.


- Written by MARCH 3, 2013

Shabbat in Rishikesh

FEBRUARY 15, 2013

I have spent time with a great group of Jewish people from Israel who are also staying here at the Ashram.  Every Friday they celebrate life with Shabbat (prayers, blessings, delicious Hallah bread, wine and candles).

So they found a place here in Rishikesh that hosts Shabbat for Jewish travellers and we all went along tonight.

So there are about 20 of us and we are all sitting outside under a thatched patio roof around rickety tables, the Rabbi is breaking the bread and blessing the delicious food and then there is a massive crack of thunder, the heavens open up and we all get drenched in a massive downpour of rain.  Very funny and a very memorable and soggy first experience of a Jewish tradition.

We are about an hours walk away from the Ashram we are staying at, so we find some rikshaws that agree to take us half way home and then all walk together in the pouring rain, puddles, little rivers running across our path. We walk across the wire bridge that takes you over the river Ganges which looks velvet smooth with the rain softening the ripples.

The streets are empty other than cows that huddle under every bit of shelter they can find, and the men who live on the street sleep on the highest doorsteps they can find.

It seems everyone here knows the drill when it rains.

- Written by FEBRUARY 15, 2013

Streets of Rishikesh

FEBRUARY 10, 2013

Staying in northern India, foothills of the Himalayas in Rishikesh, at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, our room overlooks the Ganges which at this point is clean and fast flowing.  Up at 3am every morning, cold showers or a dip in the freezing cold Ganges, yoga & meditation all day, rain, hail, freezing cold, lectures and exams at the Ashram The whole of Rishikesh is vegetarian and alcohol free.

Some days are amazing, others are a challenge to get through for one reason or another but I still pinch myself to have Mata Ganga to dip my feet in at my door and the Himalayas behind me.

Apparently there is a cave near by that Jesus mediated in when he was a young man that I’m going to go in search of. We visited an Orphanage yesterday, have been enjoying delicious Ayurvedically prepared meals everyday, had some Indian massages ($20 per hr!) and tomorrow I’m off to visit a guru who does Astrology readings as well!

The town has a plethora of wonderful wizened old men who shuffle around and seem to do odd jobs or sit and read, meditate or boil their pot of chai.  There are many who have chosen to live their lives in ‘seva’… In service for no monetary or spoken reward…. Where the universe prevails and out of the kindness of those around them, they are kept fed and clothed.

Many of them live on the streets…but they are gentle souls, not your normal wily street beggar.Rishikesh India

- Written by FEBRUARY 10, 2013