Despite it being our last day in Haridwar, we woke up bright and early at 5am to visit a temple on the mountainside before our bus came at 10am. Meeting up with our professor’s old friend, a Hindu priest, we weaved our way through narrow uphill city streets up until we got to a ticket stand, which didn’t actually open for another half hour. Over time a crowd began to form in the small intersection of streets where the ticket. Motorcycles honked and forced their way through the crowd of people congested in the center and weaving back up the hilly streets. Eventually when we got our ticked, we took an aerial tram up the mountainside, getting a view over the whole city, mountainside, and Ganga below.
(View of the Ganga, mountain roads, and temple from the tram)
When we arrived to the top of the mountain and entered the heart of the temple, the crowd was so large that you were squished against people from every side, everyone pushing their way through the slow moving current of people to pay respect to the goddess Mansa Devi. As soon as we got out of the temple, we rushed back down the mountain and took a rickshaw back to our ashram, where we packed our bags together and jumped on our bus to Punjab.
(Dust storms cause all pedestrians and shops to move inside and can even stop traffic)
On the way we stopped in Saharanpur, a city in UP famous for woodwork and a variety of other textiles. There we had lunch with a successful language teacher who is contracted to teach Hindi at UNC-CH this coming year. We then visited some local family-owned businesses, where the workers and owners explained all of the steps in constructing their wood textiles which are shipped all across India and the world. The city was also getting ready for a visit from Prime Minister Modi which coming up in a few days. Getting back on the bus, we continued traveling on the Punjab, reaching our hotel in Ludhiana late at night. To make up for all of our travel, the next few days were spent fairly intensively in class and writing papers. we took some time to explore the city at night and to go see the movie Sarabjit, a film in Hindi about political animosity between India and Pakistan after partition.