Monday, April 20, 2009

Har-ki-Pauri: the private life of sadhus

Most Sadhus, I've heard stay at dharamshalas or with friends for the night. Those on the road sleep in caves or in temples. During this visit to Haridwar, I came across a group who had settled down in a nice little home. There were three of them, who I instantly slotted into a family unit- mother, father and daughter. I might be wrong-I usually am- and this might be more of a working unit. In addition, there were some visitors/friends who were lunching there.

The house was nice- it was on a quiet stretch of the Ganga, overlooking the water, and shaded by a Peepal tree. It was built of wood, bamboo and tarpaulin and had a sturdy look to it. It was also quite spacious and the interior was divided into three rooms, which were furnished in the manner of most tribal houses in the plains- a charpoy, extra mattresses, trunks, a shrine, and a neat kitchen.

And they had a kitchen garden too. It is interesting how kitchen gardens speak of their tenders. This was neat, and had the following plants: one little peepal tree that seemed to be worshipped, a tiny banana plant (this was grown less for the fruit than for the leaves which are so necessary in rituals, I suspect), some coriander, some spinach, and a large amount of cannabis. and there we are- the body and the soul catered to by 1.5 sqm of land

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