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The stairway to Heaven, with Chai !

A wet toothbrush and a cell phone free pocket are the perfect match for the fresh winds of traveling at 3am into the valley of Gods. The air breathes a chilly excitement of anticipation, soaked in pinewood smell as I stop in a dusty old café lit by the earthy glow of coal. Fueled by ginger tea served humbly by the old man whose wrinkles stretched beyond the roots of the banyan tree under which his little shop was located, I ride the remaining 200 kilometers on the bumpy roads guided solely by moonlight.

As the golden sun rises kissing the shy sky into dawn, I enter the valley greeted by signs warning what to do in case of an elephant attack. The lush green hills are dotted by the frequent saffron stains of a sadhu walking in bliss.

A paradise for calming your nerves, Rishikesh is nirvana for photographers or artists with its cultural richness which preserves traditions over 2000 years old. Having a home grown spiced tofu & brown bread with goat cheese sandwich, fully organic as Mother Nature created it in an Iranian café; I trek my way downhill to the majestic Laxman Jhulla.

Out of Chivalry, I patiently wait as a family of monkeys walk past first, and I brave a step at a time on this gigantic steel bridge suspended loosely without a mid-support. As it sways from side to side and the Ganges rushing its crystal clear water three hundred feet below, thoughts of morality and Karma seem harder and harder to look past, but I make it to the other end.

The stairway to Heaven, with Chai !-1

The stairway to Heaven, with Chai !-2

The soothing cold water of the Holy Ganges embraces my feet, as I rest my head against the sand and watch the sun set in a golden dance of fire against the storming clouds, reminding me it’s only a matter of time before we all burn.

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