Haridwar – day 16

Turned off all alarms this morning and woke to the gentle but persistent hub-bub of beeping horns and people of the streets outside. Had a safari booked for 2.30pm so decided to head for the temple on the hill. Accessible by foot or by cable car, we decided to walk the 2km up hill after seeing the queue for the cable car… Should have given us a clue why no one really walks – we were drenched in sweat within 2 steps!! Headed up the hill trail with ‘true’ pilgrims, who had to fight off monkeys who were trying to steal their food offerings! The monkeys knew exactly which colour bags had the good stuff in it!! Got to the top of the hill and joined the group of people going into the temple. It struck me whilst standing there how much it must cost to be religious – about every 2 metres there was another alter, to which everyone was putting down money, on top of all the pre-bought offerings (if the monkeys hadn’t stolen them!!).  

 As we walked back down the hill, enjoying the panoramic view of Haridwar, we saw a lady selling figs. Was going to get two portions until we saw her coat them in salt and MSG. Nice but possibly the weirdest figs we’ve ever had! 

Back in town, we headed to our hotel to change our bags over for the safari. Slowly made our way to the meeting point, stopping to buy the nicest samosas I’ve had in a long time. Once we’d got to the hotel, we found out our safari had been cancelled. Apparently the national park has closed although Jayne thinks the guide couldn’t be bothered to take just 2 tourists. Got our refund and headed back to the Ganges river. Was very different during the day – it becomes a functional river as opposed to a religious one. People were bathing themselves, washing clothes and collecting water for cooking. Spent some time people watching – a particularily lovely pair were a father and young daughter who were washing their clothes. The girl was trying to copy everything her dad did. When he washed her hair she, like ever child I’ve ever known, moaned when shampoo got in her eyes!  

 Had a milkshake by the river before heading back to the hotel as the noise and heat got a bit too much for both of us. Spent some time looking at our photos and watched a bit of Pitch Perfect whilst eating dinner from the street vendor outside. Left the hotel at 10pm to get our night bus back to Delhi.

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