On being a tourist

I was in Haridwar for a day some time ago and made the customary trips to Rishikesh, Har Ki Paudi and various temples. By the end of the trip, I began thinking that my time would have been much better spent if I had just kept to the Ganga.

Often, with righteous touristy zeal, we plan trips to places of interest and then sit down to compose a list of things we must do while we are there. Local attractions abound, and time is limited. So we end up assigning limited brackets of time to each stop. Such a waste.

A bunch of relatives descended upon my house in Delhi a few years ago. They had one day to spend and a gazillion places to see. So they set out early in the morning and their cab took them to Mathura, Agra and other places in the vicinity. They must have spent an average of five to ten minutes at each of these places.

Splendid time management, but is that all travelling is?

Travelling is about experiencing things. Experience takes time and it requires mental space for contemplation. The tourist who hurries through a list of places gets a lot of photos to show his family, but he doesn’t get anything out of a trip.

I have decided that the next time I go on a trip to Haridwar, I will skip all the crowded time-wasters and just sit by the Ganga all day.

#experience, #ganga, #haridwar, #tourism, #travelling