3/17/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part IX: Death of a Sadhu


As I walked along side one of the channels of the Ganges that ran through the camps on the Eastern edge of Haridwar I noticed a small group of Sadhus gathered by the river.  Some were chanting others just stood watching.  I would find out after the small crowd dispersed that what […]

3/17/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part VIII: A Sadhu Lunch


A stream a Sadhus passed by me as I sat resting in the afternoon sun, immediately curious as to where all these holy men were headed, I jumped to my feet and followed.  It turned out I had stumbled upon a lunch that was being put on for a particular Akhara (division […]

3/16/2010 to 3/17/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part VII: Life in the camps


The wide flood plain that harbors several channels of the Ganges on the eastern edge of Haridwar sprouts into a tent city during the Kumbh Mela.   Temporary Ashrams, Naga Sadhu camps, and tented accommodation for pilgrims from various states cover the barren plains in a patchwork of canvas and color.  I found […]

3/16/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part VI: Hari Ki Pauri


Hari Ki Pauri is believed to be the point at which Ganges leaves the mountains and enterers the plains of India.  It is the most revered site in Haridwar believed by Hindus to have been visited by both Siva and Vishnu.   While this revered ghat was closed to all but holy men […]

3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part V: Somavati Amavasya


Until March 15, 2010 in Haridwar, despite having been to Varanasi and other sacred cities on the Ganga (Ganges) numerous times the extent of my contact with the river had been limited to washing my hands in the icy cold waters at Gomukh, the point at which the Ganges flows from the […]

3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part IV: Sadhus on the march


Somavati Amavasya occurs when a new moon falls on a Monday.  On this auspiciousness day Hindus believe that a dip in a holy river will have especially good karmic results.  During a Kumbh Mela this auspiciousness is amplified.  The stream of Sadhus toward Hari Ki Pauri Ghat inching toward their sacred bath, […]

3/12/2010 to 3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part III: The Sadhu Olympics

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Sadhus, Hindu holy men, are a fixture amidst the holy cities and temples of India.  Normally wondering the road between holy sites or meditating in caves up in the Himalayas, once every 3-4 years they converge on the site of the Kumbh Mela.  It is the […]

3/12/2010 to 3/15/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part II: It’s time for a bath


As the Second Royal Bath (Somvati Amavasya – Dvitya Shahi Snan) approached, the banks of the holy Ganga(Ganges) at Haridwar steadily filled with pilgrims.  In the mornings the pilgrims who had descended on Haridwar from across India would flock to the ghats, taking their morning bath in the holy river.  In the […]

3/12/2010 | India , Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela Part I: Arriving in Haridwar


From Nasik I would continue my festival hopping heading North via Delhi to the mother of all Indian festivals, the Kumbh Mela, which was taking place in Haridwar.  Billed as the worlds largest religious gathering the Kumbh Mela is a bathing festival that rotates between 4 sites, Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik, and Ujain.  […]

10/18/2009 | India , Uttarakhand


I had decided to stop in Champawat on my way to the Nepali border.  I knew little about the town only that I had been told it was a historical place with ruins of some old temples dating from the 16th century Chand dynasty who once made their capital here.  There was not […]

9/22/2009 to 10/16/2009 | India , Uttarakhand

Milam Glacier and Nanda Devi East


Descending from Kinnaur via Shimla, I passed through Delhi, on my way back up to the mountains of western Uttarakhand.  Not the most direct route when viewed on a map but the quickest and easiest when the topography of the region, roads, and bus quality is taken into account.  A stop over […]

11/7/2008 to 11/11/2008 | India , Uttarakhand

Kausani to Jageshwar



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“Five Hundred?” I exclaimed in disbelief.  “No booking, shared jeep.”  I said.

“No shared, only booking to Kausani,” the jeep driver retorted with an expression and mannerisms of a man who knew that the last bus for Kausani had already left and who thought he had caught a […]

11/2/2008 to 11/7/2008 | India , Uttarakhand

Pindari Glacier Trek



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“I only take the Rajdhani, the other trains are no good, Rajdhani is good train.”  Indian trains, hardly the first topic of conversation I would have expected from a holy man who lives most of the year in solitude at the inhospitable altitude of 3600 m just below […]

October 2008 | India , Uttarakhand

Char Dham



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Having escaped the snows of Spiti, I headed for the neighboring Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, formally known as Uttaranchal.  The state’s most famous destination for foreigners is the Meditation/Yoga/Asram/neo-Hippi meca of Rishikesh made famous by the Beatles’ stay in 1968.  For Indians the state derives its fame as […]

10/15/2008 to 10/17/2008 | India , Uttarakhand

Kuari Pass Trek



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I reached Joshimath in the evening after a long series of jeeps and buses from Wan, although relatively close geographically the poor roads and transport connections made it a long day of travel.  My primary purpose of visiting Joshimath was to hike up to the Kuari Pass for […]

10/10/2008 to 10/13/2008 | India , Uttarakhand

Roop Kund



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The mysterious lake of Roop Kund sits below the towering 7120 m (23,350 ft) face of Trisul, on the western edge of the Nada Devi Sanctuary, mountainous region surrounding Nada Devi the highest peak solely contained within India.  The lake draws its notoriety from the large collection of […]