We decided to go to Rishikesh for Diwali and to see the Ganges, except the only problem was we didn’t have enough time. The closest we could get was Haridwar, and upon reading that it was the much more spiritually significant than Rishikesh, and it was the beginning of the Ganges, it sounded a good option.
A 6 hour bus ride from hell, a 32 degree day, and a friend with an upset stomach, was far from desirable.
I rounded up the other two westerners in town and we sussed a private car.
Sadly (but not surprisingly), Haridwar was another let down and nothing like it read up.
We stayed at a place with ‘the best restaurant in town’ attached, and the waiter looked at us puzzled when we inquired about espresso not nescafe.
The town was peaking though and everyone was siked for Diwali (basically the Indian version of Christmas), night fell and we too were looking forward to seeing the celebration along the Ganges.
I had a vision of being at the foot of a huge flowing river, people lined along the edge, sending out floating red butter candles, but when we arrived, the shitty dried-up river bed that I joked about during the day WAS the actual Ganges, and there wasn’t a floating butter candle to be seen.
Disappointed but laughing, we headed back and tried to sleep through a night of non-stop random firecrackers.
By morning, we were itching to leave and at the train station with plenty of time to spare.
Thanks Haridwar, though I doubt I’ll ever come again.