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            <<  Rishikesh, 09-Dec-2012  >>

Yoga capital of the world

Welcome to the esoteric paradise – Rishikesh. Yoga, karma, meditation, zillions of enlightened tourists and internet!

In the morning I left Mussoorie, took quite a frightening bus ride down to Dehra Dun (going up was OK, because the bus was not able to go fast, but going down that road built on sheer cliff, with no railings sometimes, traditionally mad Indian bus driver and Indian traffic – this time I was scared, I have to admit), changed the bus station in Dehra Dun and the bus and 1,5 hour later I arrived to Rishikesh. At the bus station, the first white person I met and who advised where to get a normally-priced rickshaw was a guy with a huge backpack, shaved head and beard. Yes, I met my clone, right on arrival J

Until arrival to Rishikesh I had seen 4 or 5 white people during 3 days. Here it looked like in Europe. I checked in a hotel and everywhere around me there were European tourists, hordes and masses of them, everywhere in Rishikesh. Welcome back to a beaten tourist path. And most of them wore pseudo-Indian clothes, all of them looking 100% esoteric, many with mark on their forehead (the third eye of wisdom) – oh, my god, his place is such a cliché! For a moment I started to regret my decision to go here and go to ashram, as this place seemed hyped over the limits. But if esoteric dreadlocked chicks are your thing – then this is your fairyland brother (or sister, not to discriminate). I had to respect my principles and my favorite quote from Mark Twain - “When you find yourself on the side of majority, it’s time to pause and reflect” and so I decided not to join the crowds, I put on my jeans and lumberjack shirt and went to see the town, looking very anti-esoteric.

Rishikesh is really beautiful. It’s nested in a deep valley eroded by Ganga – which flows here right from Himalaya and which looks wonderful – it’s quite clean (by Indian standards) and simply looks nice. This town “was established” by Beatles in 1968. It was an unknown town by then, when they decided to spend here 3 months in ashram near Rishikesh to learn transcendental meditation, and since then Rishikesh has attracted thousands and thousands of “white pilgrims” and the whole idea of yoga-meditation-Ayurveda ghetto caught up and now it proclaims itself as “Yoga capital of the world”. Looking at the number of yoga classes offering places here, it’s hard to deny this claim.

I spent several hours working on this page, then finally uploaded it, bought a stack of toilet paper and I’m off to ashram, where there is no cell phone signal, no internet, no any connection to the world. Here comes the first highlight of this trip. Good bye.

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak