I wanted to pick up on some events that unfolded in (ਹੁਸ਼ਿਆਰਪੁਰ) Hoshiarpur before heading to vipassana and isolation. Actually, just one. On our one full day in Hoshiarpur, Andrea and I were walking around exploring town when we sort of diverged from the main road and started walking through some more remote areas. I was being a bit of a grump, thinking that there would be nowhere to eat, and all I wanted to do was sit down out of the sun and have a tea. But then I had to eat my words, and my attitude.
We said hello to a couple locals while walking past their house and asked if there were any restaurants nearby. They explained that there weren’t, but then invited us in for tea. An hour later we were stuffed to the brim with delicious homemade food and we got to chat with the whole family, from great-grandma down to the little kids, and we even got to watch one of the girls perform her dance that she had been learning in school. The whole family was just genuinely friendly and even though they didn’t speak much english, we had a great time with the little conversation that we could share. After all the weird experiences we had in Hoshiarpur before this, it was really nice to end on a note like this.
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Andrea and I met the lovely Esther from the Netherlands upon the closing of vipassana and the three of us made our way to ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ (Chandigarh), which we thought would be a nice pitstop on the way to Rishikesh. Another vipassana attendee, Tej, has a house there and he was kind enough to offer us stay for the night.
Coming out of vipassana is a bit of a shock on the system. After being away from society and not speaking for so long, everything feels a but overwhelming. For this, I found that being around other attendees or people that have done a course before (called: old students) and having a chill day was a really good thing.
We grabbed a vegetarian Punjabi dinner at Nukkar Dhaba, an excellent restaurant that stuffed us to the brim with delicious sauces: malai mutter and palak paneer, rice and garlic naan. Yum!!!
The next day we made a quick stop at the rock garden before heading out of town. I was imagining a park with some boulders in it (kinda thought I should bring my climbing shoes) but honestly I had no clue what to expect. As it turns out, it’s a sculpture garden that was started by this guy Nek Chand secretly in his spare time back in 1957. Nek collected scraps from demolition sights around the city and made these rather impressive structures. Eventually the public became aware of the sight and after some controversy, it was designated as a land conservancy. Nek was then provided workers to help him assist in his construction. Still using waste materials, the park was developed and expanded. It now consists of multiple waterfalls and beautiful open areas to sit and walk. Pretty crazy stuff!