india vol 3. - Beatle's yoga paradise

No place in India can beat Rishikesh to be the yoga capital. It is so famous that even Beatles went to an ashram here to meditate. Every year there are millions of yogis come to different ashrams and yoga school to practice along the great Ganges River, at the foothills of the Himalayas. Rishikesh is also a hub of the Sadhus - the monks who left behind all the material attachment and aim to achieve the final stage of life through yoga and meditation. They are always dressed in orange clothing  Apparently in India, Sadhus are considered as legally dead, some of them even have to attend their own "funeral" before they follow their guru master.

It was a very very hot day (still..).. but us yogis immediately geared up and started to hunt for the right ashram to start our practice. We got some kind of instructions from the reception and hiked up the stairs in "Divine Love Society" to search for the real meditation experience in the yoga capital! However we did not have so much luck in "Divine Love Society". Sadhu#1 said we went to the wrong building, so we hiked back down to another side of the ashram. Sadhu#2 then said we are 30 minutes late and cannot be admitted. After walking back and forth for a good hour, soaked in both sweat and frustration, we concluded it was not a good time to chase after the calming and soothing meditation....

But our journey to the peace and harmony did not end here, we headed to join the Aarti which held every evening on the opposite side of the Ganges River. Ashok took us to board the little boat, in which we saw people bathing in the holy water. I have no idea how "holy" the water can be when research said there are billions litres of human sewage being disposed in the river on a daily basis.

old guru said "you came to the wrong place!"

the orangy Divine Life Society

Rishikesh little bazaar

Ready to cross the Ganges River!

Shocking pink cotton candy and bored little boy

My fellows on the boat

The holy cows patrolling

Sadhu with a pair of Addidas sandals

Anyway, the Aarti is a ritual of worship in Hinduism that involves a lot of singing and chanting. This one we joined took place on the huge marble platform in front of the meditating Shiva statue right opposite to Sivananda Ashram. The platform was full of worshipers and we were all patiently waiting for the master sadhu to host the Aarti.

I did not understand a word in the whole ceremony, when master Sadhu started to sing a line, nearly a thousand of all the worshipers followed. The chanting sounds much more interesting with the beats played by the tabla (the Indian drums) along with the sound of the current from the river. The burning heat and flies suddenly seems not to be as annoying, when we indulged into the harmonious settings of the Aarti. I thanked God for putting me at that spot to witness all these. I am moved by how simple it is to follow the god in your heart, to chant your praise and believe the almighty regardless of any circumstances. It feels like I met god in the midst of chaotic setting - with cows passing by, flies above your head and smell of urine in the air... quite interesting...

Sivananda Ashram - so beautiful

Ashok explaning to Suetyi the illustrations of incarnation

Little boy preparing the Aarti plate

Bored little boy waiting for the Aarti to start

Little monks preparing the altar for master Sadhu

More worshipers squeezing in

The Aarti then went on for another good one hour, we quietly left and took the boat back to the hotel. On the way to the port, not only the smell of urine and cow dong alerts me, but also the smell of marijuana. Sadhus use marijuana as a worship for Shiva because Shiva has an adoration of the leaves of marijuana plant.Ummmmmm..

Looking at the people who were bathing in the river, I don't see the river as dirty and polluted as it was.. Afterall, who am I to judge this holy river, who am I to point a finger at the holiness of Ganga God's birth place? Coming from the so-called devloped cities, we often use a ruler with a very wrong scale to measure things.. Who are we to measure when we are not the one who provides. This sacred river, the sources of lives - breed India in such a colorful way that no developed countries can compare its vibrancy and authenticity to god.


  1. wow! you know what ? You are a great Photographer !!!
    Love you photos so much ~!!! All of the photos here are so natural and bring out the feeling of India~ Enjoy reading it and wonder is the yoga nice in India @.@''

  2. the photos really stunning !!!
    the one wearing adidas and also the bored kids...
    Hey common tammy, you should keep posting more and more!

    1. thank you baby! i will try my best to edit the pictures haha



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