HYGIENE-WISE, WE WERE SPOILT FOR CHOICES, and we take it for granted. A few days in India and you’ll start to appreciate the cleanliness that you and your city have. Everywhere in India, I had to walk with my eyes staring at the ground because cow dung are like landmines awaiting the less attentive traveler. Flies hover over the dung, and then over your food and your face. There are stalls selling ‘puri’ that advertise being cooked in ‘edible oil’ (So you’re telling me the other stuff is cooked in inedibles?) Even with these poor conditions, people seemed to live quite contended here, and now I know it is us who are not used to their ways of living.
I SLEPT UNTIL 10AM TODAY, and my headache’s halfway gone (this is the one thing I have to go thank the mighty Ganga for). I did manage to book a train for Amritsar this afternoon, which leaves me a few hours left for Haridwar. The Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi temples are both on hilltops, with cable cars serving them respectively. Mansa Devi is crowded (not that I have not got used to it) and is filled with people wanting their wishes fulfilled by this wish-granting goddess. I bought Rs 165 package ticket which provided me two cable car rides to both temples and a shuttle connecting the two. I find the Chandi Devi temple much cleaner and less hectic. With a higher elevation, the latter also has tremendous views of the city and the hills nearby. I offered my ‘prasad’ to the gods, and chanted ‘jarkimati’ along with the other locals, while receiving curious smiles from everyone.
Deep down under my prayers, I do silently wish for India to give me more vegetables. All the sabji’s I have been having has either vegetables cooked beyond recognition, or is covered with oil, spices, ghee and butter. Don’t get me wrong India, I do love your food. But it would be nice to have simple steamed veggies sometimes, and I awfully miss my kitchen.
Cable car ride to the Mansa Devi temple
Entrance of the temple
My prasad offering to the gods
Red ribbons tied by worshipers on the fences
Temple workers separating the coconuts
Only someone who has a pure heart can stick the coin onto the marble wall