downtown rishikesh

travelling from pune to rishikesh
30-hour train rides from pune to delhi
comfortable and good service
india style
soothing
delhi
hot and sticky
crowded streets
hotel rooms with no windows
dirty
spent there two days
enjoyed it
night bus from delhi to rishikesh
small city on the ganga river
ashrams everywhere
people bathing in the holy river
arriving here from all over india
whole families
they all sleep in the streets
one family next to another
endless number of colors
everything looks beautiful and makes sense
including all the cow shit
live and bath in the holy ganga
surrounded by people
cows
dogs
horses
pigs
wild monkeys
rented a world war II scooter
with manual gear
fits my indian sarong
that’s decorated with swastikas
riding up the mountains
overlooking the curvy river
tall temples sticking out
from its banks
people constantly walking down in circles
from the top floor to the bottom
touching the bells that surround each floor
sending vibrating rings
spent two days with a sadhu
and his three students
beautiful people
the sadhu is 43 years old
sleeping outside since he was nine
they all walk barefoot
on rocks
in the forests
encounter snakes and other wild animals
yet they all have perfect skin
and look as if they just walked out of
a fashion magazine
spent time with them inside the forest
and up a mountain
the sadhu can lift up
220 pounds rock with his penis
and pull a car full with passengers
with that same useful organ of his
rishikesh
narrow hanging bridges
connect the two sides of the city
across the ganga river
narrow swinging bridges
carrying pedestrians
cows
monkeys
even scooters
rishikesh is like the old city of jerusalem
but along a river
more crowded and intense
yet very calm
at night hundreds of candles
being sent on leaves on the river
while musicians and singers
play and chant
groups of pilgrims walking the streets
each chanting their mantras
trying to keep a journal
but not good at it
all my senses stimulated non stop
colors, sights, smells, sounds
flavors and touch
© 2000. All Rights Reserved.
Zemach Zohar Wilson, Rishikesh India, August 2000.

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