On the Hippie Trail: India
The heat of Delhi
Rail transport was, in practice, the
only way to move between the towns and cities of India. The trains, with such illustrious
names as 'Punjab Mail' and 'Upper India Express', were usually overcrowded
and more than once I had to use my rucksack as a seat.
I met another Dutchman, halfway between Benares and Raxaul (near the Indian-Nepalese border).
He came from Australia, where he had lived and worked for some time, and he was making the overland journey
all the way back to the Netherlands. When we jumped off the train in Raxaul, we ran
into a peddler who sold us tickets for next day's bus to Kathmandu.
accompaniment in concert (New Delhi). For a HippieTrail wanderer,
attending this event was a dream come true. Already a
celebrity in India, the sitar player had become an icon of the hippie
generation since his friendship with George Harrison of the Beatles
and his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. The master
musician himself, however, expressed mixed feelings about the Western
reception of Indian music.
Benares (also known as Varanasi), the
famous Hindu holy city situated
on the banks of the river Ganges.
Benares: indistinct company of Hindus
Benares: various modes of transport
Buddhist temple in Sarnath (near
Benares), two and a half thousand years ago the site of the deer park where the historical Buddha is
believed to have first taught the Dharma, the righteous path through life, and to have founded
the community of Buddhist monks.
Benares: railway station. The men in purple lined up on the
left are porters waiting for the next train to arrive. (Photograph by
courtesy of Erik
Railway station with sadhus (holy men
of Hinduism) and sacred cow
Mother and child inside a passenger
train somewhere between Benares and the Indian-Nepalese
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© Hans Roodenburg (The
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