Thursday, May 6, 2010


Took a rickshaw this morning to Sarnath, about 10 km out of town, the site of Budha's first sermon. There is a huge monument to him with intricate carvings all around the bottom, although some appear to have been smashed off, which is a real shame. I was the only white tourist around, which surprised me but was kind of nice too- there was a general lack of visitors at this site. There was an attatched "zoo" of sorts to this monument, and it was absolutely appaling. They're ganga crocodile was swimming in filth, sickly green water full of garbage, with a land section comparable to a vacant lot. The birds were kept in dark coops with no real good ledges or entertainment, and there seemed to be general lack of care put into the whole operation. I don't see the point of even keeping this zoo at all really. Anyways, my rickshaw driver took the liberty of dropping me off at the wrong spot, but I knew this before I even got out of the auto, and had a good time wandering new streets. Once it was apparent the alleyways would never see me back to my humble lodgings, I simply found my way to the river and wandered back along the ghats. After posting yesterday I found a music shop, and the guys in there were really nice. I tried some tabla and sitars, and just talked to the owners for a bit. I asked them where to get a good lassi (yoghurt drink), and one offered to show me, as he had business to take care of thataway. So, after grabbing a lassi, he asked me to help him carry a couple of sitars back to his shop, so I went with him to the post office and did so. I'm glad I did- today when I walked past the shop I was greeted like an old friend, and got to muck about with the instruments again, not to mention getting a great tip on a cheap place for thali (rice platter). Did yoga today...don't really know what to make of that. It was a good stretch and mild workout, but all of the esoteric aspects of it that I've heard so very much about were lacking from my endeavor. Granted, I only did it for an hour, but I personally feel much more focussed and renewed after a class of Aikido, thank you very much. I think I'm going to go to bed early tonight, maybe watch the sun rise on the ganga tomorrow. I have a train to catch at 1:30, and the more I can sleep on the train the better. It arrives at about 5:30 AM. Well, I've found my favoured chai vendor here and I think an afternoon cup is calling me. Last night I went at about 9 PM for a cup and had a very good conversation with a retired Hindu man, who also happened to be a self proclaimed man of Science. Amongst other things we talked about the burning ghats, tradition, social tendencies, Hindu values, and a little bit of sacred geometry (see; Golden Ratio). Whether or not the "secrets"he imparted on me were true, he was still a very interesting man, and it was very nice to have a conversation with an Indian that didn't end with a sales offer. So...yeah, won't be posting tomorrow, but rest assured my next one will be a good one. If you told me 3 months ago I'd be on my way to the Himalayas, I wouldn't have believed you.



  1. If someone would have told me that my son would be in India, alone, visiting these places, seeing these things, experiencing the culture and people, and yes, ending up at the base of the Himalayas, I wouldn't have believed them either. Nick, you are not only there, but I can see through your writing that you are absorbing it, you are "getting" it, with a depth of observation and understanding that many tourists, who might see the surface only, would not. The special stories of your interactions with the people are heart-touching. What an irony, the cruel conditions that the animals are kept in beside the first place where Buddha gave a sermon. I'm going to look up the Golden Ratio now.. Thanks for another fantastic posting. Love Mom

  2. Wonderful adventures you are having. These places will live in your memory and 'enlighten' you. Love reading about them.
    Grama R.

  3. Hi Nick,

    Enjoying your posts - enjoy the spirit of adventure. It's good to get out on your own and out of your comfort zone once in awhile. I see that you have discovered how to figure out "quickly" that you are lost and get back on the right path. It is good to have your wits about you and know when you are headed the wrong way. Make sure you take some good pictures along the way.

    Keep in touch,


  4. Don and Dorraine said that they love reading your posts and send their love Nick.

  5. The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, golden mean, or golden section, is a number often encountered when taking the ratios of distances in simple geometric figures such as the pentagon, pentagram, decagon and dodecahedron.

    It was used to design the pyramids, the Greek temples, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and is very common in architecture, art and nature. It is also appears in the physical structure of the human body and in movements in the stock market.

    I just happened to know that... ;-D

  6. We were the only white tourists in Sarnath too, and I agree, that zoo was disgusting, I had to leave.
    but give yoga another try! Yoga is the reason you see all those old men sitting cross legged on stools all day, it will keep you young forever : ]

  7. Oh, and I am SO JEALOUS that you are going to darjeeling, I didn't make it there, and I so wanted to. Supposed to be amazing views of the himalayas, and you can take a toy train there from siliguri. Too fun.