02 february Haridwar (INDIA)

It is quite tiring to reach our destination in Uttarakhand ... after three flights: we set foot in Haridwar! At last we are in India!

This small town situated in a very favorable position, the point where the legendary Ganges flows from the Himalayas, is a very sacred place for Hindus and a destination for crowds of pilgrims who come here to bathe in the impetuous waters of Mother Ganga.

The multitude of people gathered around Har-ki-pairi gives Haridwar an atmosphere full of sacredness and you can be easily captured by his mysticism.

Har-ki-pairi (literally: "the footprint of God") is the place where, according to Indian tradition, Vishnu would have poured a celestial nectar and embossed his own footprint on the ground. That’s why pilgrims  come here to purify themselves from their sins by bathing in the rapid current and leaving offerings to the priests.

The ceremony of veneration of the river "Ganga Aarti" is impressive: the sound of the bells, the lighted candles placed on baskets of leaves filled with flower petals, the litany intoned by the local holy men ... the offers are then abandoned to the current of the river...

A special thanks to Mr Bala by Namaste Tours for the excellent and professionalism showed.

03 february Rishikesh (INDIA)

[Stefy]: "Rishikesh, the city of yoga. Here peace and relaxed faces certainly are not missing... there are many ashrams where you can spend some days in meditation and we meet many westerns around.

There is a serene and pleasant atmosphere. We visit numerous temples accompanied by our guide Raj, we get lost among its alleys characterized by very picturesque photographic views and we reach, with a small boat, the place of the evening puja ... the daily prayer!

Sixteen students, future Hindu priests, sing the mantra by rotating their candlestick, various candles pass from hand to hand before being placed in the water for blessing.

Meanwhile, behind us, an orchestra of drums and sitar sounds an ever more pressing melody, suddenly we all found ourselves dancing freely under the serene, pure and beautiful gaze of the many sadhus sitting along the steps of the temple ... I recall the words of Folco Terzani in "Barefoot on earth" when he says about the sadhus that "they have less than beggars but they seem like kings" … it is true!

Tonight: night train to Faizabad ".

04 february Faizabad (INDIA)

[Stefy]: "I recommend everyone the experience of a train trip at night! You really get in touch with this incredible new world.

The night is quite hard because you travel with open doors... weird ... a bitter cold, noises, people who stop in front of the beds staring at us almost as if watching a TV program, the discomfort of the backpacks among us ... in short , we did not miss anything but it was nice anyway!

At the first light of dawn we get up and it's amazing because, with us, India woke up ... there was who brushed his teeth along the corridor, who combed her long black hair, who drank the chai, who ran after the babies who cried ...

We arrive in Faizabad with 4-5 hours late, but here it is normal, nobody worries or gets angry ...

The city welcomes us with its genuineness, it is an archaic India, everything tastes of ancient, there is a decadent almost fragile beauty ...

We immediately go to Ayodhya, 7 km from here, one of the most sacred cities in India. We walk through its narrow streets and we are struck by its ancient charm ... there are countless stalls selling honey-colored balls ... they are very good shortcrust pastry that Hindus bring as a gift to the Hanuman Temple. A long staircase, full of flowers and framed by beggars, leads to the entrance. The pilgrims sing an invocation raising their hands to the sky and offering the cookies to priests who promptly deposit them at the foot of the statue ...

Walking we reach the Shri Rama Jamina Bhomi Temple where we are literally kidnapped by the atmosphere.

I sit inside and my gaze continues to cross that of an old sadhu, I get up and sit next to him .... Suddenly, in the silence of the temple, he intones a mantra and beckons me to follow him .... He sings and claps his hands ... I can not keep up with him and then I smile at him thanking him ... he does the same .... What strong emotions are lived in this mystical land ... "

05 february Allahabad (INDIA)

[Stefy]: "Today we leave Faizabad to cover about 200 km in the direction of Allahabad. The trip takes 6 hours and a half but it seems much less.
On the way there are people, stalls, cows, houses and shacks, women who wrap their kids in their colored sarhi or carry heavy red bricks or wooden poles on their heads, men who wash and soap crouched under the fountain of the well, barefoot children walking along the side of the road, tuk tuk overflowing with people. There are looks, there are incredulous and surprised eyes that observe us ... there are children ... and there are schools ...

We decide to stop right in front of one of them ... we enter inside ... wooden benches under a sort of veranda and children with big, deep eyes, those eyes that know how to get inside and get down in the belly and stay there.

We welcome the teachers, all dressed in candy pink, the children do not expect our arrival because, here, it is rare to see white people ... they look at us perplexed ... slowly begin to smile and immediately after we are surrounded by the heat that only they know how to infuse ...

Their voices, the girls with the tika on the forehead and the earring on the nose, their notebooks with the dictates in Hindi in the middle of the dust, the light that filtered through the windows and illuminated their coffee-colored skin made me think that world and diversity are the greatest gift that a person can achieve ... only by opening the eyes of the heart we will understand that we are all the same, all animated by the same energy ... once you understand this you have opened the doors to life ... the real one ... "


"Keep your thoughts positive. Because your thoughts become words
Keep your words positive. Because your words become your behaviors
Keep your behaviors positive. Because your behaviors become your habits
Keep your habits positive. Because your habits become your values
Keep your values ​​positive. Because your values ​​become your destiny. "

     - Mahatma Gandhi -

 

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