challenges · Photography · Travel

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world.

“Limitless undying love, which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on and on across the universe.”

– The Beatles

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, love will be at its feverish peak.

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this beautiful emotion of love than with the Lens – Artists Photo Challenge.

This week, I have the pleasure of guest-hosting it with the theme A Glimpse into your world’. Show us the things you love that makes your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.

In my case, it was my love for travel and music, namely The Beatles that drew me to the picturesque, riverside town of Rishikesh, India. More on the Fab Four later but first, the evening Ganga Aarti at the Triveni Ghat beckoned me.

Flower baskets with lighted lamp and incense to be set float  during  Ganga Aarti
Flowers Aflame!

It was billed as an ethereal experience. Hence, my presence.

The sun had set and stars twinkled in the endless indigo sky. Eleven priests in rich maroon kurtas, white dhotis and masks, stood on high platforms facing the Ganges. They held huge lighted lamps which they twisted and twirled in perfectly synchronized movements with practiced ease.

Smoke from the fragrant incense bellowed in tufts of clouds into the sky. Some seeped in through a tiny gap in my mask.

The fragrant sky!

My eyes greedily drank the grand spectacle of fire and smoke while the air reverberated with sonorous chants simultaneously.

Dance to the Divine!

Was this spiritual trance or blissful love?

Offering to the Goddess.

The Ganga rippled and gleamed with countless lighted lamps in tiny flower baskets that floated downstream at the end of the aarti.

It was heavenly.

The morning brought fresh adventures in the form of white water rafting.

Actually you heard the screams first. Later you saw the thrill- seeking lovers sitting in their dinky red rafts. They preferred holding hands rather than their oars, bouncing on the Ganga rapids.

River rafting on the Ganges clucked from a bridge in Rishikesh
Row , row , row your boat.

Downstream, the river became tranquil. There you bobbed in a sea of saffron and yellow robed monks that swarmed Rishikesh’s narrow lanes and wide open river banks.

With a temple in every corner, ghats to go down to the river, it was a town seeped in spiritual mystique. One could neither ignore the sadhus nor the shrines. I found one dedicated to Shatrughan from the Ramayana.

Yes, I irrevocably fell in love with this little town that wore its Hindu faith on its sleeve, nay its heart.

Goddess Lakshmi on a pillar
Blues Hues !

“There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed forever, not for better, some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments with lovers and friends.”

– The Beatles

In this town famed for yoga and the yogis, my favourite place turned out to be a palatial retreat. It was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram or the Chaurasi Kutiya, part of the Rajaji National Park. Today it is better known as the Beatles Ashram.

Wall mural of the Beatles with Guru mahesh Yogi at the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh
Writing on the wall, Jai Gurudev!

Yes, the British musical quartet were here decades ago in the company of their guru, Mahesh Yogi. The ashram was abandoned and forgotten but not them. Their time here was a blip in the grand scheme of things yet their presence lingered.

Somewhere along the way, Beatles love inspired artists to sneak into the abandoned premises. They splashed the ashram’s derelict walls with quotes from their music and art so sublime that it was just a short leap into a heaven of another kind.

Collage of wall art from the Beatles Aashram
Artful Expressions!

“And in the end the love that you take is equal to the love you make.”

– John Lennon

It was a treasure hunt of the best sort because you really didn’t know where you might spot something that made you stop in your tracks.

The beautiful wall paintings gave the dilapidated structures a new lease on life, a brilliant makeover. It paid homage to the magnificence of India and the legendary band.

I spied one wall mural quoting Lennon, “When you look up at the sky and see a cloud, think of me.”

I know I did.

Egg shaped huts with wall art at the Beatles aashram in Rishikesh
‘Egg-citing’ domes of spiritual retreat.

I was especially taken aback by the ‘egg shaped’ huts there. They even had attached, now defunct toilets. I wonder whether the Fab Four ever meditated or created music in one of these igloos of stone.

Standing upright inside one such ‘egg’, I couldn’t resist chanting ‘Om’. My voice quivered and echoed and I literally had goose bumps. The acoustics were fabulous!

I was stuck inside a kaleidoscope of unforgettable sensory experience.

Collage of wall paintings at the Chaurasi Kutiya in Rishikesh
Humming In Harmony!

The Beatles mantra of love had transcended into this glorious art of Chaurasi Kutiya.

Rishikesh was unforgettable. It was a magnet for the weary, the lost, the curious, the adventure enthusiasts and the lovers too.

I wondered, ‘Which was I?’

Perhaps a bit of all.

Ram Jhula Bridge , Rishikesh
Ram Jhula Bridge and its tricolor threads.

Now, it’s your turn to show.

So click new pictures or feel free to choose images from your archives for Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #135, ‘A Glimpse into Your World’. Be sure to link it to my original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG to help us find you. I am excited to see your interpretations and look forward to diving into your responses.

Also a huge thank you to the Lens – Artists Ladies, Tina, Amy, Ann Christine and Patti for this wonderful guest host opportunity! It has been a great deal of fun.

To love, laughter, life,

And music and light…

Pandit Ravi Shankar wall art and lamp floating in the Ganges

157 thoughts on “Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world.

  1. Interesting story. I pass through Rishikesh now and then on the way to the deserted places where you can still imagine that the gods may roam. I love some of the photos you posted. The next time I pass by I should stop to admire the street art.

    Every time that I go by, inaccessible nature is further away. It is amazing that you can find motorable roads, cafes, and German bakeries so far up in the spaces where, in my own lifetime, you needed to gear up for a trek. I suppose I am a contributor to this unfortunate plunder of a planet, and the rapid melting of the nearby glaciers. So, in atonement, I show you some part of my world and my time:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where are the deserted places, I often wonder. We’ve reached almost every corner in search of that elusive serenity, our devtas I’d like to think of. The older generation in my family often talk of how these hills have changed . They’ve changed so much within my lifetime that it astonishes me . I still haven’t tried the cafes or the famous German Bakery wares you mentioned; Chottiwalla and Geeta Bhavan Restaurant was what I frequented . I suppose I was looking for the familiar. Will definitely try the next time I’m there again.

      Checked out your post . Beautiful images to please the eye and the heart.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome . Hosting it had given me an opportunity to take a peek into your world and it has been an extraordinary experience. I’m loving it. Also Miriam , you are so talented. I’m inspired to explore my other interests too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marlene ! Your post was beautiful and the photos are extraordinary. For some reason I’m unable to comment directly on your blog . Could you please check. It asks me to log in each time and then the loop fails.


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