After breakfast Pradeep hurded us into three 4 wheel drive vehicles and we headed off higher up into the Himalayas. After about an hours drive on rocky roads we arrived and parked up outside an ornate gate. Walking through the gate and down a path we became the centre of attention for lots and lots of monkeys of all sizes, this was quite a fun experience if you like monkeys :). As the ground started to level out we entered a little farmyard attached to the local Ashram and soon we came upon the modest entrance to Vashishta Caves. Mythology says the great sage Vashishta did penance here 3000 years ago. Once you get inside the cave and your eyes adjust, there’s just one small candle, you realise it’s really quite small. Small cushions are lined up against the cave wall on the ground, it’s incredibly silent and very atmospheric. It was quite full with around 20 people in there and we settled ourselves down to meditate. This was quite a powerful experience for some of us.
Coming out blinking into the bright light we wandered down the path towards the Ganges, it was just a few hundred yards away. Passing the quaint sign for another set of caves we began climbing over the rocks towards the crystal clear water, with the sun glinting off the surface, it looked so inviting. Many of us had sworn not to attempt a dunk, which is said to wash away all your sins, I don’t think we imagined the water would be this clear, but it looked so good nearly all of us had a go! Nick rescued Janet from being nearly swept away, the current was deceptively strong. He discovered a large Rudraksha Bead Mala floating in the water in return for his bravery! We dried off quickly in the sunshine and pottered around on the banks finding old clay mini pots and interesting pebbles. This was a lovely quiet day out away from the usual hustle and bustle that is Incredible India.
Still slightly damp we climbed the hill back to the cars, hopped in and were back at the hotel quite quickly, the journey always seems shorter on the way back! We had just enough time for a leisurely shower and change, washing all the sand down the plug hole, before we were off on our adventures again.
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