Mother Ganga tour – d12 / Rishikesh 2

Today was a free day – nothing structured.
But it turned out to be extraordinary.

For most of our group, the morning was spent having Ayurvedic treatments of various kinds – massages, oil treatments, diagnostic session, and someone even had an Ayurvedic enema!

Afterwards, over lunch, she told us all about it…

A lot of us simply had the ashram’s Ayurvedic doctor determine what our “dosha” was – our Ayurvedic body type: Vata, Pitta or Kapha.

Here is a link to the various Ayurvedic doshas, and what they mean…
Ayurvedic doshas – 

Once you know your dosha, then according to Ayurvedic medicine, you should eat certain types of food, stay away from other types, same with drinks, and so forth.

Evidently I’m a Pitta dosha.
According to Deepak Chopra, that means I have these characteristics:

Pittas are usually of medium size and weight. They have excellent digestion, which sometimes leads them to believe they can eat anything. They have a warm body temperature. They sleep soundly for short periods of time and have a strong sex drive. When in balance, Pittas have a lustrous complexion, perfect digestion, abundant energy, and a strong appetite. 

Pittas have a powerful intellect and a strong ability to concentrate. When they’re in balance, they are good decision makers, teachers, and speakers. They are precise, sharp-witted, direct, and often outspoken. Out-of-balance pittas can be short-tempered and argumentative. When pittas are overstressed their typical response is, “What did you do wrong?”

Tick, tick, and more ticks.
Except for the short-tempered / argumentative bit.

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Most of us on this tour spent some time in the Ayurvedic clinic, and all would say it was money and time well spent.

After lunch – which was spent in our regular cafe that is on the banks of the Ganges – we then split off to do various things. Some of the women had their hands henna-ed. Lynda though wanted to find the original ashram where the Beatles hung out in the late 60s.

Remember their Indian phase, when they all went off to meet their guru, Maharishi Mahesh? And the world was introduced to the sitar, and Transcendental Meditation? Well they went to Rishikesh, and to an ashram not far from where we’re currently staying.

So Dale, Lynda, Marie, Jill, Rachit and I headed off to find this ashram – now overgrown and abandoned. I took my iPad and played Magical Mystery Tour as we walked!

It was so cool.

Dale and I walked together for a while, and he recalled that he was in the armed services in Vietnam when all this happened, and the Beatles music was so important to the servicemen. He said they knew all the lyrics by heart.

After about 2kms walk we got to the ashram, and it was freaky.

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It was overgrown and abandoned. It looked like Hobbit-town. We found the hut where George stayed – Hut Number 9. Remember that song on the White Album – Number 9? That’s where it comes from…

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I had to leave early because I’d been seconded by the ashram to be their official photographer for the night’s aarti – a special occasion to celebrate the signing of an accord on pollution at the UN, in part instigated by the big boss of the ashram – Puja Swamiji Chidanand.

After I left with Jill, with Lynda following, Dale and Marie evidently went further into the ashram and discovered rooms where they painted, posted graffiti, wrote some of their lyrics on the walls etc.

Before I left though I took a photo of us all sitting on a bench outside the Number 9 hut – where the Beatles must have sat and played guitar and dreamt of the songs they were later to compose.

Incredible.

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I then had to race back to begin photographing the aarti. Here are some shots as Official Parmarth Niketan Ashram Photographer!

I’ll have to put that on my CV!
Here are some shots…

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And here are some shots I took after the ceremony was over –

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