Slept in late, again. It was nice, but the last three days have been so sunny and warm, I’m kicking myself a bit for being lazy and not getting up to go out and explore on our own… Hukam and Lata showed up at 12:30. I got my “beauty” routine – today I got another barrette, plus some earrings and a fancy purple bindi. I was relieved to only get the light pink lipstick (I never thought I would say that…) vs. the bright fuchsia one. They said I looked “really Indian” today…
We drove out to “our” restaurant again, and had our lunch, followed by chai. Got to listen to the “Hello, Wrong Number” song again, several times. Our waitress now knows the song, and sings along with it quietly as she’s working. Hukam has a new friend – the dog he keeps feeding chapatti to. It shows up when we do. A scraggly kitten, who seems to live at the restaurant, and looked like it got a mud puddle bath, tried to jump up on Mike’s lap and eat his food…
We finished up, then drove down the road a ways along the river. We ended up at some type of small living complex, with a few buildings and some cows and dogs, after we walked down the stepped path from the road.
We went to play along the Ganges again, since the Shiva cave was not open ‘til 4 pm. (Lata had me wear her hat and scarf for the photo... )
I really enjoyed that green river!
We played a bit, and I took a mess of photos, plus some videos. We passed lots of clothes, some hair, and razors (careful where you step – especially with bare toes!). The clothes and hair (and presumably the razors, too) are left after a funeral, when the persons’ ashes are scattered in the Ganges, the men and boys shave their heads, and the clothes of the deceased are given to the river. There are so many beautiful rocks there, too, small to huge! We passed spots where smaller streams flow into the river...
...and we saw an orange boat ferrying people back and forth across the river...
...mostly school children, it seems.
We walked over, and got to ride in the boat across and back, much to the amusement of the locals.
Soon, it was time to check out the cave.
The cave was not too big, and very dark. In the entrance was a photo and bed (?) of the guru who lived there, I guess. There were flowers all on the bed. Then we blindly went inside a short tunnel into the open chamber inside, where a puja altar was set up, with a Shiva lingum, and a pool of water, and some other photos. It was a serene place – it felt like a sacred spot. We were respectful and left a small donation.
On our way out of the complex, we hung out with the cows and dogs a bit, and some of the people who lived there offered us chai – very hot and gingery
We walked back up towards the car, and met an old man resting on the path. We gave him some rupees, and he let me take his photo. “God bless you,” he said, as we were leaving. We started back up to the car, and the old man quickly passed us on the steep path, with his flip-flops and walking stick.
We went back to the waterfall restaurant for a second (or third of the day, actually) round of chai, then went back to town. We looked for an ATM, but couldn’t find a working one, so we went back to the hotel. It seems like it is cooling down and getting cloudy – maybe it will be rainy tomorrow…