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The Road to Haridwar

November 26, 2017

I didn’t see the Red Fort or Humayun’s Tomb or the Lotus Temple (which looks cool but was built in 1986, so it;s like the Delhi version of Blue Lagoon – marketing made it the must do).  I didn’t do any of those things, because I spent the day driving away from the pollution and towards the Himalayas – the mountains always end up calling me.

There seem to be no clear traffic rules in India, but no one seems to get hurt.  I worried for the women on the back of motorbikes, their long saris or scarves coming dangerously close to the wheels.  Cows wandered into oncoming cars and bright buses, which just wove around them.  Children played under the highway and the sides of the road were littered with tents of people selling fruits and veggies and coke.   We were only a couple hundred kilometers from our final destination, Haridwar, but the old car couldn’t move much faster then the tiny motorbikes (not that it would make a difference given the non-stop traffic).  It didn’t matter there was a lot to see along the way.

As we moved out of Delhi, the sides of the road we chock-a-block with large event spaces all decked out with shimmering red, orange, fuscia and purple draping and twinkling lights.  “Its wedding season,”  shared my guide.   Wedding season in India! How lucky can one girl get!  “The wedding day is the happiest day of a man’s life,” my guide went on “he is sad every single day, but happy, happy on his wedding day.  The woman is happy, happy on every day of her life, but the saddest is her wedding day.” He looked at me through the rearview mirror. “You understand me?”  “Indeed I do.” I smiled.

We stopped along the way for saag paneer and coffee and I spied on the event team of the restaurant as they prepared for a wedding.  As we neared my hotel my guide (who’s name I don’t know and should) shared with me that he would be taking a ritual plunge in the Ganga (the Ganges) tomorrow morning.  I started to ask if I could as well, when he told me it was a holy ritual and I realized there are some traditions I should respect.

I had a loved biryani and some homemade lime soda, am watching a little bollywood and headed for bed.  Tomorrow, tourism really starts.

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