Last year I visited Rishikesh and Haridwar. If you are born a Hindu you inherit the holy visits too. It happens across India from Amarnath to Raneshwaram. The faith of Indians is so strong that they make pilgrimages for it and get immense peace and strength when they visit. They come to the door of God with their wishes to seek blessings for a happy and healthy life.
I have spent so many childhood holidays visiting Vaisho Devi, Chintapurni, Jawalaji, Chamunda Devi, Kalka Devi, Amarnath, the holy Ganges, Shanishwar, Trimbhakeshwar, Shirdi and as a grown up I continue with Tirupati and Salasar and many more. My mother has more on her list but she has given me some breather. One spends all their life paying visits- first half for parents wishes and the other half for children's wishes.
Here are the glimpses of all the pilgrims who come for all sorts of reasons, religion, family, fear, greed, insecurity, safety, resolving problems, blessings, health, promises, thank yous, new beginnings, peaceful old age, replacing paap with punya and eventual endings.
Babaji poses. He has done a lot for foreigners. He is quiet an able model giving them a perfect shot of the vibrant colourful saffron India.
Old man and a gentleman, the age well lived and now in the lap of Ganges.. Ganga Maiya ki Jai!
And the parents, their old age and their last wishes before they leave for their final journey.
The ideal homely Bahu Rani, praying for her family, decently covered showing her good culture, hiding her face from strangers though tech savvy!
The kids on lakshaman jhula, holiday for them, faith trip for parents. They wonder if it's a bridge or a swing. Such a large swing although!! Let the ride begin!
Pandas waiting for customers for funding good deeds in the name of God, for special puja and chadawa in the special temple and the special blessings for the special purpose. They may add in horoscope for a little extra fee.
Kanwarias on their annual pilgrimage, their fathers did it, their grandfathers did it and their forefathers too. They walk to the Ganges River to take its sacred waters back to Hindu temples in their hometowns. No one leaves their roots and traditions giving them strength as a community. This is a homage to their ancestors who set up such traditions and passed on the responsibility on them to follow them. The strength of faith!
The mama monkey with baby. Its tourist season so they may get biscuits and snacks for free. All the city idiots find it amusing to feed the animals. Can't they give us something healthy instead of sugar filled biscuits or fried salted chips. She feels its making her son stupid and lazy.
Being a pilgrim in the pilgrimage of life, debiting bad deeds, crediting pilgrimage visits, the never ending account of good and evil - punya aur paap and a pilgrim!