On the Hippie Trail: India

The heat of Delhi

Road map India
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.

Ravi Shankar and 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 with hardware

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 Sangha, the community of Buddhist monks.

railway station
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 Pontoppidan, Copenhagen, Denmark)

railway station
Railway station with sadhus (holy men of Hinduism) and sacred cow

mother and child
Mother and child inside a passenger train somewhere between Benares and the Indian-Nepalese border

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© Hans Roodenburg (The Netherlands), 2006

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