DAY THIRTY NINE… 27.59 miles (44.40 km)
We left our hotel unceremoniously with no send off from the lads. They just sleepily unlocked the door and went back to bed. None of the promised chai to be had at all.
We set off on the very last leg of our journey, to Vrindavan, the holy city where Krishna was born. We cycled out through vast areas of wetland, near to Bharatpur bird sanctuary, and the effect of all the water, and the cold morning air, created a dense fog, so it was hard to see where we were going. Not only that but it was worrying as we didn’t know if we could be seen.
Passed through a city Govardham where a big religious festival was going on. As in Junagadh, pilgrims were circumambulating the town, some bare footed, and many prostrating their way around, each prostration site involving many prostrations counted with stones or even bricks!
Govardham also had its own water palace, almost identical to Deeg, though without the massive tourist entrance fee of 300 Rs and hasn’t got into the Dorleen Kindersley guide book yet.
We arrived in Vrindavan, expecting a small village. In fact, it was a huge and crowded town, bursting with pilgrims, flies, open sewers and the nasty red bottomed macaques. People have had to cage themselves into their homes, erecting razor wire over their open roof spaces, and cages over their windows, to prevent the ingress of monkey. Meanwhile the monkeys rampage the streets, grabbing anything grabbable, food, money, and in Tim’s case, his sunglasses, from his face.
Tonight, we headed for the banks of the Yamuna River where the mesmerising chants of the evening Aarti fill the air, and tiny candles and blessed by the Brahmins are sent flickering downstream on the evening river.
The little ashram we are staying in has a restaurant nearby. No food till 9pm, but we wait anyway. At 9pm we are ushered to the ashram to receive the meal, full of hunger and eager anticipation. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one eighth of a potato floating in some sauce with rice. We really couldn’t believe it, was it some sort of sick joke? Only 150Rs (that is a staggering £1.50 for that piece of potato though). I went home and ate some of my snacks!
THE LAST DAY OF OUR RIDE…. reaching a total of 1,108 miles (1,773 km), riden from Dwarka to Vrindavan….. Krishna’s life in reverse, from Dwarka where he spent his last days, to Vrindavan where he spent his childhood.
And the last leg of our ride from home to Delhi completed…. 5,162 miles (8,214 km)… what an amazing journey !