Ashram [ˈæʃrəm ˈɑːʃ-]
The 1st sight of my bedroom at the ashram.
This was why we went to India and we had travelled far and wide to experience its simple yet austere life. I came with little expectations and realised at the end of it all that little expectations was actually a pretty good approach.
This photo of Phool Chatti Ashram is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Tucked snuggly in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, along the banks of the sacred Ganga is Phool Chatti, an ashram that has been in existence for more than 120 years.
View from the rooftop above yoga hall
I was sold the moment I heard the words- Himalayan- and -Ganges and true enough, I felt the full impact of its rugged beauty the moment we stepped off the cab we took from the train station at Haridwar.
View from the verandah just outside my room
In this tranquil and breathtaking environment, we stayed for a total of 8 days and 7 nights, 6 of which were devoted to the studying and practice of the yogic path.
A board full of do's and don't's
The 14 Simple Rules of Ashram Living
The 10 Discipline of Yoga and Meditation
The highfalutin sounding yogic path was surprising easy to follow largely because we brought with us the LUX -as in luxurious- that we had stashed away when we were staying at the palace.
There were the 100% organic bath products with fancy names
and the pair of all natural slippers handmade from hemp
which the kind staff at Devi Ratn told us we could have.
I also had fruits (Rishikesh village) arranged in a flowerpot (ashram garden)
and herbal tea (Devi Ratn) in the papier mache box (Delhi).
Even utensils could be used as decorative items for an otherwise sparse room .
And when you did not have much, it was easy to colour co-ordinate everything.
Now do you remember the long long car trip from Delhi to Jaipur?
That trip is now forever imprinted in my mind
as the time I got addicted to Kukure Masala Munch.
I bought so many we had leftovers for the ashram.
Shortly after I left the chips out there in the open, the monkeys came and took a few of them.
As we had arrived at the ashram one day before the program started, we could go into Rishikesh which was about a half an hour ride away, for supplies. While we were there, I bought us a week's supply of sandalwood incense. This old metal chair was then brought up to my room from the garden so that I had a place for my books, sewing box and the burner.
Right then, I experienced a twilight zone moment. As I placed the rusty chair into that corner, I suddenly felt like I had shrunk and was staying in a dollhouse that I had built. I so could have rusted this chair myself, I thought.
It was not long before I knew I could be really comfortable in this room.
And it was a matter of very little time before I grew to love my little haven.
This Phool Chatti cubbyhole was to be my mostest favouritest room in the whole trip.
And as I was typing that, I felt a little choked with nostalgia.
I miss you, Room.
I miss you very much.