I’ve travelled a lot. I mean, a lot. And I can certainly say that-so far- this was the most moving and auspicious trip. In a nutshell, I got to travel from Deli to Rishkesh, where I was named Divya Jyoti (means divine light) by my Guru; from Rishkesh to Gangotri by bus and from there after riding a horse, slowly hiked about 12 hours by myself in the Himalayas to meet Gaumuck, the mouth of Ganges River. When the snow melts into divine milky river Best bath ever.
During my whole year in India, I managed not to get sick, not even once. And I ate like an India- street foods and street chai was part of my daily balanced diet:) The food at the ashram was soo satvick (that’s yogic slang for super duper healthy) that I felt I owed to my digestive system to keep it real. I knew that once I was back home, I was not going to be able to eat blessed food ALL the time. Life happens, right? All that to say, I want to go back to India for the food alone. The food there is always fresh, is interesting and it has a heart. Therefore, I made sure I made the sacrifice to cross the gates of the ashram daily and eat the best samosas of my life, drank the to die for mango lassies of Santa Cruz and sampled every single street delicacy that came my way. I felt like Anthony Bourdain, a personal hero of mine. Adventuring myself in all the layers of flavors and colors foods in India can offer. Lucky, lucky me.And cursed, cursed me- I was groomed spoiled and now it is hard to find an Indian restaurant that makes justice to what I recall. But I digress. I upped my adventurous sampling side when I chose to -basically to risk my life- eat some fried goods by the side of the road during one of the stops my bus made. I were traveling between Rishkesh and Gangotri in the highest heat one can feather. I was certain I could fry an egg right there n the middle of the bus metal floor. That hot. And yet, I saw nothing wrong in getting out of the bus with my fellow Indian travelers and eat whatever they were eating. BIG MISTAKE. The nest 72 hours were one of dismay. When the bus finally arrived in Gangotri, I could not walk. I had all shades of green. My head heavy against the window was the only strategy I managed to fight the infinite curves the road was made of. With the corner of my eyes I saw a shadow of three people standing nest to my seat. I thought everybody had exited the bus already. The intense smell os sandalwood woke me from my torpor just enough that I could turn my head. There they were: my three musketeers. Three devotees of Krishna, wearing their beautiful salmon robes smiling at me from their hearts. Eyes full of joy and compassion. You looked at them and immediately you almost felt healthier and happy. Well, maybe not me in that particular moment. Except that I did! They asked me if I had a place to stay- I didn’t. Did I mention how adventurous I was in my early twenties? They asked if I could walk- I replied morosely that …maybe. They carried me, the three. They were staying in this little ashram by the Ganges. Adorable, with a little low clay fence, all white. They gave me a little individual cottage, that had a room and an external bathroom (also known as a hole on the ground. yep). For three days, the three monks fed me three times a day with Prasad (food that is blessed in the temples), they brought me water and checked on me constantly. I knew they were staying there to take care of me. They had plans to reach Gaumuck, like I did. But we were deterred by my diarrhea. Oh, the famous, relentless, unforgettable , Indian diarrhea. In three days I was strong and bright eyed. But I still had ….diarrhea. I made the call that I was good enough to make my hike to Gaumuck. I needed to meet Gange’s source. I just had to. And so I did. My salon robbed friends parted with me. We walked together for good hours though the vast and indescribable many mountains in the Himalayas. I told them to carry on without me, I was going to take pictures and meditate by the path for a bit. I also needed to make a strategic stop! And so they went and I took my time between strategic stops, contemplation and slow walking. I recall walking all day. I during that time I saw, perhaps one handful of people, if that. I met two sadhus ( hermits that meditate a lot) living in nature. I also met one old couple that looked straight into my eyes for a really long time and said NOTHING. They then raised their hands in salutation ( pic below). That was a moment. I reached a little ashram after walking and hiking all day by myself in silence. Speaking seemed weird. The ashram keeper saluted me and showed my accommodations. It was a little room, that looked like a stable ( I wasn’t complaining, I had a place to stay!) There were a few other travelers there, a young Indian couple, two elderly women and a young guy from Chile. I slept like a log. The next morning, like a new born turtle, I knew I had to go to the water. I got up and follow the mighty sound of the River. “I”m coming! I’m coming!” I undressed myself while skillfully wrapping my body with my “OM” large bedsheet. I immersed by body in gelid waters of peace of clean. I felt my whole body go numb and yet reenergized. When I came out of the water, the remarkable rush of heat resurrected my senses like a larva wave. I sat on the rock immobile. With a smile. All was good. All was God.