The Bryson family had a different, but very fun and memorable Thanksgiving weekend camping along the Ganges River. We joined several other families from the school (a little over 100 of us) and caught a very early train out of New Delhi and traveled 260 kilometers north to Haridwar. We then traveled 90 minutes by bus on a hill road to reach the beautiful white sands along the Ganges River. Getting out in the beautiful scenery and fresh air was just what our family needed.
Pictured above is the group gathering site where meals were served and a large bonfire was enjoyed each night. Below, you can see the tents that were supplied. Each tent held either 2 or 3 cots in them with a small table and bamboo flooring, perfect for the sand. Our tent was located right along the bank of the river and our view was the waterfall across the river.
It felt so good to be back in sand and water. Thomas came in October with his 8th grade class for their “week without walls”. Hailey was ready to sign us up for next year before the trip was even over.
Someone in the group who has come several years in a row organized a Thanksgiving feast for Thursday evening with everyone bringing some type of dish. Embassy employees were able to obtain turkeys from the commissary with the rest of us filling in with side dishes like pumpkin pie. Although we were all from the American Embassy School, many families with us were not American but helped celebrate this great holiday. Not once Thursday thru Saturday did I hear one child tell me they were bored. In fact, we barely saw our children at all.
Fishing was a favorite for Conner, Thomas did the most river rafting from our family, and Hailey loved making “sand pies” with all of the other girls and spending time along this beautiful river. Volleyball and badminton were also enjoyed.
Hailey practicing her kayaking.
Since our children were so content to be right by the river, Tyler and I joined a small group on a hike up through some tiny villages along the Ganges. We crossed this large suspension bridge to an area that is very remote but extremely peaceful. Even the cows wander across.
These are villagers carrying goods to and from their homes across the river.
This past summer, during monsoon season, this village near the river was extensively damaged.
This is part of the area where we hiked. We went through several small villages and several small Hindu temples.
As we descended from the hills to catch a small boat ferry back across the river, we were privileged to witness a small wedding party. In this boat that we took across the river, the groom and other wedding guests have just arrived to climb the hill to the small temple where the wedding will take place. The groom is easy to spot with the head piece.
In Delhi, we have seen the wedding processions in the street where the groom is on a large white horse. As this is a village wedding, it is much smaller and the groom rides this mule up the hill to the wedding.
On Friday evening, a small group went into Rishikesh to experience the worshipping of the river. The Ganges River is very sacred. Many people travel long distances to worship along this river, bathe in it, spread ashes of loved ones and take the holy water back to their temples in their own villages. When our driver found out where we were going, he showed us a video on his phone of him walking with large buckets of water from Rishikesh to his village. He traveled six days by foot to carry that holy water. Before arriving at the temple, we purchased small leaf boats filled with flowers and a candle. After removing our shoes, we were escorted right down to the waters edge where we sat and enjoyed the music, chanting, and prayers before lighting our boats and sending them on their way down the Ganges.
This trip taught our family the secret of living in Delhi — leave for a few days once in awhile. Getting away from the horn honking and smelling nothing but fresh air was the perfect way to spend this Thanksgiving weekend!