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I want to describe our trip back to Dehrudun from Rookee but I don’t know if I can find the words. We left at about 5:30 and apparently that’s the time when every living soul in India either decides to move to another location, or sits outside to watch everyone else move. I guess we had about a half hour of daylight and when it got dark, it got dark in a moment. The vehicles; motorshaws, motorbikes with anywhere between 1 and 4 passengers, bicycles, pushcarts, ox drawn carts, tractor drawn carts, busses of all assorted types (completely jammed with people), trucks with their back parts filled with laborers, trucks pulling trailers piled precariously high with stuff (sugar cane, branches, cardboard, unidentifiable items), and tons of huge closed up trucks. The latter are brightly colored with flashing lights (like Christmas lights), designs and much of the front window painted in these designs, seemingly limiting their visibility. Everybody has their high beams on, except those who don’t have any lights at all. And they all honk all the time Totally crazy! Then there are the pedestrians: people walking along the side of the roads in pairs and singles.
The road is a two lane road, not particularly well paved with lots of potholes and dirt places. There are occasional barriers put up to slow traffic down to one lane, both directions having to pass through one at a time. There are random speed bumps. Out of these two lanes, these people have created six! Sometimes five going the same direction and an oncoming truck hurtling towards you with it’s Christmas lights flashing merrily. Things really slow down when you pass through one of the many villages between Rookee and Dehrudun. I enjoyed these slow downs because the things to gawk at as we went through the villages continue to boggle my mind.
I’m not usually a white fisted traveler, but this drive terrified me! The oncoming trucks, usually our driver was the guilty party, relentlessly passing while trucks were bearing down (yep, merry lights and all). At one point there was actually an apparent accident and the traffic came to a complete standstill, what we call a Mexican standoff… should be an Indian standoff. The drives I’ve experienced in Mexico (or China, Rome, Paris) don’t hold a candle to this! Our driver decided to turn around and take a detour. Problem was, a big steer was sitting on the roadside to our right, and a parked tractor was to the right rear of us. There was a path that we might be able to squeeze through but we were really pointed in the wrong direction. Our driver negotiated the most amazing 5 point turn and squeezed us through the space and we were out of the traffic jam. The steer just calmly watched the whole thing!
We passed the place, sorry I still didn’t get the name (Indian nomenclature evades me) where all the pilgrims go to take a dip in the mighty Ganga. There are grand hotels and a whole industry that surrounds this spot. Markets, campgrounds, trishaws, motorshaws, jugs to fill with your own water from the Ganges. The action is all in the daytime and it’s dark when we pass so only the hotels, markets, shops, restaurants are crowded. I would love to have a free day to hire a motorshaw for my own to explore this place. I so badly want to take photos of it all; to see it close up! I can’t imagine I’ll ever be back in this part of the world again.
As we pass through the next village, our driver says something to Ramesh in Hindi. Ramesh tells us that he liquor is not for sale, or allowed in the previous place, where the religious stuff happens, so this village is so lively because they all come here at night to drink! Why not, you can wash away your sins the next day in the mighty Ganga!
Written Apr 13, 2011
You can catch a flight from Delhi to Dehra Dun on air Deccan.
Book the flight online.
In the end we skipped the flight and hired a taxi from Delhi. The airport is between Dehradun and Harwidwar so you will still need transportation once you arrive.
Updated Feb 25, 2005
It is a long 250 kilometers from Delhi to Dehradun by car. This picture shows the crowded roads shared by bus, car, ox carts (water buffalo) motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Updated Feb 26, 2005