After many days of traveling, Jimmy and I are finially in the beautiful and spiritual city of Rishikesh, located in northern India. Currently, I am relaxing at Little Buddah Cafe overlooking the Indian families splashing one another with the holy waters of the Ganga River. I’m enjoying the view while drinking a tasty and cold glass of apple juice (or rather apple chunks with some liquid). The sun blazes as the heat of summer casts a sleepy haze over the Himalaya Mountains.
Already, saying goodbye to mom, dad, and Jimmy’s parents seems like a distant memory. Each day has been filled with endless activities. Upon arrival in New Delhi, Jimmy and I were taken to our hostel, Smyle Inn, located in a doggy back ally. We were greeted by the friendly staff who stayed awake until 4 am waiting for us. After a few hours of sleep, we were up and ready to explore the city.
Brijesh Kumar, our driver for the day and our first friend in India, took us to the Red Fort, Akshardham temple, the Indain Gate, the President’s Palace, the Lodi Gardens, the Lotus temple, a local market, and lastly to Humayun’s Tomb. The Akshardam temple was absolutely stunning– hands down my absolute favorite structure ever. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures once we were inside the gates of the temple. The red sandstone structure was lined with thousands of little carved dieties. On the inside, highly detailed marble statues made up the architectural building. A golden Buddah clashed against the white marble and was surrounded by a thousand more dieties. Jimmy and I stood in disbelief– we had finally made it to India.
After a long day of sight seeing, we were ready to head to our ashram. Little did we know, we were about to have the most intense 6 hour journey of our lives. We had a little trouble in the beginning, but we finally got on a bus to Rishikesh. The bus was government owned and very cramped. Needless to say, our driver was a mad man, getting into a minor fender before we even left the bus station, I could tell this ride would be interesting. Throughout the whole ride, our driver dashed through the traffic, honked at oncoming cars even though we were in their lane, and at one point got out of the car to yell at another driver. It didn’t help that the bus was completely full with no ac in 104° weather. Luckily, I fell asleep for most of the trip, but the few times I woke up, I saw a sweaty Jimmy trying to get as comfortable as he could, wearing the cooling headband his mom got him. When we finally arrived at the ashram with Yogi Mahesh waiting for us at the door, a pound of bricks was lifted off both Jimmy and my shoulders. We hugged each other in disbelief that we actually made it safely and in one piece.