Friday, February 19, 2010

A few more Haridwar pictures

One of the things that I liked in Haridwar are the buildings. There are many graceful homes, ashrams and temples. I did not take many photos of these, unfortunately, and so the two that I have posted are rather a poor sample.

This building is freshly painted for the Kumbha, but I like that traditional balcony. The streets themselves are nicely paved and quite clean, at least in this part of town, which is close to the railroad station and therefore has most of the hotels. But near the Ganga there are many, many ashrams. Maybe next time. As I already said, my battery died and I was unable to go on taking pictures.

The picture above is of a dharma shala (a low-cost hotel for pilgrims) on the main street going by the railway station.

Iskcon has a big pandal right near the main bridge crossing the Ganga to the tent city. They are sending out this ox-cart with a dozen or so brahmacharis to do kirtan through the town. This is just next to the above building.

There are police encampments all over the place. Various different army and reserve police forces are present ensuring the safety of the event. This particular encampment is nicely arranged with even lions at the gate. There is a kind of rock garden at the entrance also holding the flag, etc.

I was joking that the police and soldiers were acting just like sadhus--they are living in tents without women, decorating their camps with the insignia of their platoons and so on. I really got a laugh the next day when I heard one soldier greet another with the expression, namo narayana, which is the standard sannyasi greeting.

A closeup of that lion.

Everyone is getting into the act. Near the new two storey parking lot on the far side of the highway and at the edge of one of the tent cities, I saw these poor children carrying stones. They were building a kind of shrine with a sadhu picture they had found. There are several tent cities for beggers and sweepers as well. This locale is actually a shit-field.

A nice newer part of town, which has been built up since the 50's is the area surrounding the Sapta Rishi Ashram. I did not catch the name of the ashram where these figures of the Pandavas and Draupadi on their way to the Himalayas were housed, but I thought it worth photographing. The dog, as you Mahabharata fiends may recall, was actually Indra.

Some baby donkeys... Even donkeys are cute when they are very young.

This 50-foot Shiva statue standing by the Ganga is one of the tourist attractions of Haridwar. There is a nice walk from here that takes you to Harki Pauri. They are currently painting it in preparation for the main events of the Kumbha which appear to be taking place in March.

I just had to include this underwear model. Some of those Indian mannequins really get to me.

Radhe Radhe!!

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