Dies ist der FriedensPilger-Blog
This is the peace pilgrimage blog

‚R3‘ Rishikesh first 10 days

The bus ride towards Rishikesh was already a new experience. Because this was just a most simple government bus, as it is used everywhere in the daily traffic. To my surprise it had not only 4 seats in a row, but 5. First the bus was quite empty, then it was getting more and more full. So many Nepalese like to work in India…. here they wanted to travel to Haridwar, a little bit south of Rishikesh. Because I did not know, when the bus had to leave, I just waited. He left something like 2 h after I arrived there. 5 seats in a row, but then I saw, how the bus conductor squeezed more and more people in. The seats where anyway not so comfortable and wide, but he put 4 people on 3 small seats, 3 people on 2 seats, in the back row were sitting 7 or 8. After the bus started all Nepalese felt immediately in to a comatose sleep, as if there where totally knocked out. Arms and heads were hi up or lying on the other bodies. All the bodies merged into a whole muddle of human body parts. My seat neighbor collapsed also, towards me, because I was sitting at the window. His elbow was making his way between my legs, his head found another rest here and there. If there would not be the breathing and the body temperature left over, you could really thing – ‚all dead, or plug in out, or power off ‚. This happened all the way through the night, at the stop in the middle of the night two third went shortly out of the bus, then back to ‚power off‘. It was fascinating to watch, and a kind of ‚unbelievable art work‘. At Haridwar I viewed famous and holy river Ganga first, the typical stairs down to the river I know from so many pictures….nearly everyone left, but the bus filled up at 6:30 in the morning… and we totally arrived in Rishikesh in time!!!

My map helped me to find a short cut to the Ganga, I got some fruits and nuts on the way. And exactly at the time, the sun was rising over the mountains, I arrived at the river bank. Later I found out, that I exactly rested there, where the fire cremation takes place, but this early morning..no fire. Only wood ashes left over at the stone beach and in the shallow water…. Rishikesh city and Laxman Jhula, the part where most foreigners stay is about 3 km, walking way 4-6 km away from each other. In between there are so many ashrams along the river, on both sides. Just overwhemling. One area is free because of to steep mountains. On the opposite side there is a beautiful sand and stone beach. Rishikesh is about 400 m high, but big Himalaya surround the valley. Two suspension bridges connect the river sides, Ganga is up to 200 m wide. Its also the world Yoga teaching place. Crossing the river, I was so happy, to realize, that’s a footbridge…. but soon I got, motorcycles also cross, and they always honk…. going all the way to Bonfire hostel, I had to cross the second bridge. I passed a lot of shops, restaurants and so many beggars…. at least 30-40 times I was asked for donations, coming to a shop…. brrr. The hostel even provides a free yoga class every morning and afternoon, a roof top, and that all with a price of only 200 Rupees (3$), if you stay in a dormitory.
I left for eating at some simple, but colourful and cosy restaurant named Shambala directly obove the river side. Here I met a young lady, who told me, after finding out, that I just had arrived ‚Ah, you are just at the beginning of your Rishikesh journey‘   Hae….?

I thought only to stay for about 10 days, to met Ayush, to orientate myself and to plan my Indian travel journey through my winter-walking break, but in the end I stayed almost all the time in Rishikesh.

funeral
teeth

article in process

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‚R2‘ Bonfire Hostel and Giving and Receiving

Beginning of November 2017

I was again invited by the Bonfire Hostel Chain to stay at there hostel for free, and I had a special invitation for Rishikesh. But Ayush, one of the owners wanted me to mention it in my blog again and again. Everywhere, in Facebook, instagram…. to make some kind of publicity with it for him. The giving was really from the heart, and until now I was never making this advertising thing on my blog. (But I dont say advertising at all is a bad thing) I want a free giving with now expectation. Otherwise I feel a bit ……… but here I mentioned it again and want to combine it with a story of one universal law

It’s the universal law about Giving and Receiving

Receiving is Giving
Giving is Receiving
When you give, you (will) receive
When you receive, you (have to) give

Let me explain. It’s actually very simple. The first 2 lines tell everything. The second line is helping to understand and explain.

But it has to come from your heart. As every prayer or spiritual activity…..
If you do it with your ego mind, it does not work. So your head has to bow to your heart and admit, that this center is the closest towards to the highest source and to your god-self.

The giving has to be free of any expectation…. free, from your heart and you will receive. That’s the natural flow. If you give with expectation to get something from your giving, it will not work, or even less comes back. If you give some money it does not mean money comes back. But if you give something for example money with love, you can be sure something with love or ‚only‘ love itself will come back to you in a perfect timing, when you maid not expect it.

I experienced on my journey that even receiving is sometimes giving. Coming to some homes and receiving all the gifts of being invited and hosted and the food, getting care taking… and all of this felt sometimes even as a giving…. just because while I was receiving I was giving. The possibility that someone could give was already the receiving for the same person. This is than a door opening to another level…. so beautiful….

Giving is also teaching you to come closer to your heart. Because there will be anyway a response from the receiving side (even if you don’t feel it yet) so it’s also a good exercise to get more and more open. Nearly every religion is telling you to give away as a basic exercise of spirituality or to grow compassion and love….. and it has so many levels.

So, in case of the bonfire hostel the owner Ayush will receive anyway, and universe is wise, what to give back to him or his company, advertising or not. In fact we could say, we don’t act as humans, but through our god-self, through the universe –  in us…. there is the real flow. Giving and Receiving, Receiving and Giving, all the same when it comes towards realizing what we really are.

It’s good to contemplate and meditate on it….
It’s like a hug with a loved one – giving is receiving….. and that can be also in different levels of realization….

 

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Georg M.

Das ist mehr oder weniger eine private Nachricht an Georg M.

Du hast mir im August letzten Jahres mit deiner Spende aus der Patsche geholfen. Danke.
Leider kann ich dich nicht per email (geaendert?) erreichen, und so waere es schoen, wenn du dich mal meldest.

Herzen
Thomas

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Review 1 (R1) Mandi and two times to Nepal

End of October

I booked a cheap hotel in Mandi center. To get the right room was a bit difficult. So they showed me some rooms and I accepted, even though it was a bit to much money wise. Soon after I accepted I found out, there are much cheaper rooms in the hotel and I moved another 3 times in 20 min…. but not in such good conditions. So I asked for some cleaning tools…… and I did clean all the room…… (next morning the whole hotel crew was cleaning all the other rooms)…..
I walked direct after cleaning to look a bit around the city. And came along a little photography shop. There was someone sitting behind a computer…. but he looked at me through a mirror…. with a big smile on his face…. I smiled for a while back….nice moment……. took some more steps towards my way…..seconds after I turned around, opened his shop door, and Sangeet and me dived into a wonderful long conversation….. For the nights after he invited me to his house….. where he and his wife Tanu and further family welcomed me heartfully….
2 days later we took a motorcycle ride towards Rewalsar, a holiday, sunday and pilgrim destination with some hindu and tibetian monasteries and tempels around a lake. There is also a huge 37,5 m statue of Guru Rinpoche, who founded tibetan buddism, Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava. We went also to a cave further up the mountain, where he used to meditate in a cave. That was just a wonderful day.

I have a one year multiple Visa for India, witch allows me a max stay of 90 days. So every latest three month I have to leave the country, to come in again. This is more or less the only time, when I use transportation. The closest is Nepal. I can get Visa there at any border on arrival. For max 14 days it costs 25 $. Travelling from Mandi to the Nepalese south-west border city Mahendranagar it means a day and night travel by bus through Delhi. All together 25 hours. Nepal and India have an open border. Locals of the two countries don’t have to register or get any stamp. Foreigners could easily cross the border, but in case of any control, we (foreigners) have to look for the Visa and stamps. The offices are to find, but its good to ask someone to find the immigration offices, not always clear signs. Somehow there are some offices kind of in a half jungle. The officer checks very intense my passport and visa. After 90 days I have to leave latest…. and he finds out, with counting the first and this day, its 91 days… this invites a fee of 75 $…. but because, its early morning, 7 a clock, he doesn’t charge…
From the beginning Nepal feels a bit softer than India, I mean in terms of consciousness of feeling with people, social behavior….., beggars are not so penetrating…. It seems to be even a bit poorer, and much more bicycles on the streets….. That makes it also a bit calmer. Just one day later I will leave again…..
I enjoy the day walking around the city, sitting here and there in the sun, under a tree, watching markets and life….
Some tailors are doing there job on the street or in the shade close to some shop. Later the day I remember that I have to do some repairs on my clothes and at my backpack, so I bring my staff towards a nice tailor, who got my attention earlier. It turns out, that he is very honest, he ask very little money, even for a big job. Beside a new sipper at my backpack, my Afghan trousers needs to have pockets (did not have at all) with sippers on each side and some of the fabric of this trousers can be cut off in the middle, just to much. During his work, I become the impression, that he is very honorable but poor. He has a sewing machine, operated by foot pedal, fixed on a wooden board, which is broken. From all my donation money, what reaches me, I have a rule, to give 10 % away. From the beginning of receiving a donation I consider these 10 % not to be mine. During the last months I saved some of that giving-away-money and I feel, this man really deserves some of it. I come to the conclusion to give him 2000 Indian rupees, what is about 30 Dollars. When he is finally ready with the job, I pay him, what he asked for….. and then I am sooo happy to give him the donation. I tell him, this is not a payment, but a donation, what I want to give to him….its for repairing the board and the rest is just a donation, he can use it for what ever its needed…. His reaction is priceless… he can’t believe his eyes and jumps a bit up his chair, stares at the money, as if he has never seen that much and says to me ‚I think, you are God….‘

Behind my hotel is a recycling station. Glass and Paper is sorted here, also some sorts of plastic, but not bottles. All the glasses get cleaned by hand from about 10 women. They earn about 7000 Nepalese Rupees in a month, which is  about 4.300 Indian Rupees, 67 US $. All together there are 15 people working at this station. And then there are all the collectors, they collect the material by bicycle from where ever in the city, from the rubbish or from small companies. The glass, paper and plastic get weight at the recycling station, and therefore the collectors get some small money. Lots of families have to survive from this kind of income. A little further from the recycling station are some tents. Some families live here, with super basic needs, or less than basic needs. I don’t see any belongings in the tents except of some pots. Some of these families collect plastic bottles and sell them…. don’t know how that works, and I guess the income is even much less than what you can earn inside the recycling station.

The next day, the bus is leaving in the evening, I end up, around midday, sitting under a tree. Not so many people speak English. Under the tree is a concrete area for sitting and resting. People use to gather there. I witnessed the trash laying around earlier…. just knowing, we (humans) have to clean it. Finally to boys around 19, 20 sit beside me. After some small talk I focused on the rubbish topic. Around that tree are so many small plastic pockets, which had tabac in it. People spitting on the ground…. and so on…. They are aware of the mess ….. I have cleaned so many times on my journey – in Turkey around an outdoor restaurant – in Jordan on the property of a farm and becoming Peace project and at the 200 m area at the street – in Greece at a 15 km stretch at the beach, where all the Syrian refugees had arrived….. Also I was not always alone at the projects, but I was always the driving or inspiring forth, it feels now the time has come, to not start alone, and then attract people to do so, too…. so I said…. ‚The nature is suffering, the animals are eating plastic, the water gets polluted, the humans suffer because they can’t breath anymore (and here I mean not only air pollution, I also mean space pollution, the space, the inner space and outer space we need, to feel healthy), because of that the humans can’t connect with nature anymore…. We need to clean the world!!!…. How do you want to start?….‘  There was a silent space…. better than a short answer…..
Some days later I received a message from a friend of one of the boys, a teacher from Mahendranagar, he was interested in doing something for cleaning the environment…… I promised, as soon he is starting something, I am so happy to come to his school and encourage his student, to inspire and present ideas, on my next Visa visits to Nepal…..

From Nepal I went to Rishikesh, I had a invitation, to again stay for free at the bonfire hostel chain….. about this in the next article.

End of January/beginning of February

After the stay in Rishikesh I had to travel to Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, this time. Last time, at the border, when going back, the officer told me, there is a good change, in my case as a peace walker, that I could get a different visa, which would allow me to stay for a whole year without leaving the country …. So this time I travel by train from Haridwar to Gorikpur. Then with two busses, one to the Nepal/Indian border, one from the border to Kathmandu. The ticket office in Rishikesh tells me 15h to Gorakpuk, first bus 3h, second bus 6h. 24h journey. Because I had to travel by bus to Haridwar first, I left my place in Rishikes at 1 pm. The train was supposed to leave at 5 pm, but had a delay of 7 hours. He actually arrived even later at 2.30 am in the morning…. arriving in Gorakpur was announced for 8 in the morning, but we arrived at 10.30 at night…. luckily there was a bus to the border to this time…. I was still kind of fresh, had the luxury of a sleeping coach… this bus took around 3 h to the border station Sunauli. At the border the normal formalities, but I had to find the offices, not so easy, in the middle of the night, the Indian office was not directly at the border…. Special, I had to wake up the officers, make some loud sounds at the doors, until sleepy looking humans were opening the doors….  Finally I reached the next bus to Kathmandu (289 km) which left at 3.45 h. With my calculation of 6 h I would arrive at a very comfortable time ….. but some other passengers told me, the bus needs 9 h…. aha. In the end the bus needed 16 h… all together 44 hours…. it was already dark. Anyway, the day journey was interesting, very nice scenery, its not easy to build roads in that steep and beautiful valleys….. lots of road works … and I witnessed in the traffic jams, they don’t horn… also very nice…!!! Coming towards Kathmandu I got in a nice conversation with a young men. He told me, that the winter before, they had a big power problem in the capital. 16 h or more there was no electricity…. now they have a better power manager. This manager made it possible, with the same amount of power produced, that the city has now almost all the time power. What an achievement!!!!! And there is a second great improvement: Since half a year honking is by law not allowed anymore, only in dangerous situations, and it works. What a release…. What a step towards the realization of sound pollution. I can only say, congratulations, congratulations, congratulations!!! This men also tells me, that the prime minister or president, I forgot, wants to make Nepal the Switzerland of the Himalayas. Towards nature and economy, transportation…. that’s a good goal to have. There is a train project in discussion, to build route from China through Kathmandu to India. Very good. But it needs also trains inside Nepal. There are none – and tunnels…….and so on. In Kathmandu the air pollution is terrible. I bought after the first night a breathing mask. Its also because of lots of road works and dust, because its dry season.
My idea to get another visa had no success…. so I stay for the next 6 month with my old visa, getting out of the India every 90 days, for more travel adventures. I can say, that I only use trains, buses and planes, because having visa issues. Cars I use sometimes by being with my hosts, for example to get to this office… but I don’t like it very much. Trains I like actually, but the standard and capacity has to be improved very much…. and bicycles I love anyway.
Because of air pollution I did not do a lot in Kathmandu, even stayed because of that in my accommodation. Once I visited a nice Swayambhu stupa and the area around. On the way to the Stupa I got lots of time begged…. puh…. also the souvenir shop keeper are sometimes act somehow as beggars, when in comes to attract tourist… (this is also another kind of pollution, not to leave space) but when they understand, what I am doing, they calm down with there business behavior and become humans again. And then its so nice to really meet. A had a really good time with my new friends there. Anyway I come back to Kathmandu this summer to get a new Indian visa.
I went to Lumbini, very close to the border to India. Again long bus ride. Lumbini is the birth place of Lord Buddha. Uuuuh, and I did not have enough time. Actually there is not a lot left of the palace, where Siddartha was born, some kind of foundation, ok, a little bit more. And I did not visit that place, because I was attracted by what this place has been developed in. There was one UN secretary, who delivered his idea of founding a huge area around the birth place to invite Buddhist from around the world, to build monasteries of different Buddhist traditions. The area is around 3 to 4 km long and 1 to 1 1/2 km wide. What they want to achieve is not completed, but there are huge achievements, huge. There are around 30 monasteries who settled there, there is a Vipassana center, several stupas, a museum, a souvenir market area, the historic area, lakes and water streets where constructed, and a huge peace stupa. The most or a lot of projects are sponsored by different nations and traditions, a temple from Malaysia here, a temple from Korea there…., the peace stupa and a temple close by supported by Japan, but also non Buddhist cultures have invested in this area, for example France, Germany with the Lotus temple. …….. and so on, and so on…. its just great. Its reminds me somehow of the shortly discovered Cambodian temple areas in the jungle…. I think Lumbini is a wonderful chance to show, what happened after this man Lord Buddha got enlightened 2.500 years ago, how many traditions rised until today. And how beautiful, that they all come there together in harmony. What a wonderful idea of that UN secretary and how wonderful that Nepal liked this idea and took action. How wonderful, that the area around is benefiting from it, and how wonderful to honor the Buddha this way. Just great.
It seems, that I will walk there, arriving there in a year from now, again. Then I have more time.

From Lumbini I traveled by bus and train to Amritsar. Again the train was late. Instead of noon I arrived at 8pm.

 

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Dear friends

 

Dear friends,

I walked 2/3 of the way from Amritsar towards Daramshala. About this I will report later.

First I try to update, step by step, its more then 3 month, since I wrote regularly. And there is a lot to report. For me to reflect and for you, to hopefully enjoy reading, maybe getting inspired.

The area, where I am now is beautiful. Tourist come here rarely. Its at a water reservoir, called Beas River. I am invited by Sunil’s and Rina’s family. They have one 3 year old son. And…. sure, they don’t live alone, all the relatives are also living in that house surrounded by nature. Sunil stopped me yesterday, passing by his immigration office. He saw me walking on the street, drove behind me, and blocked with his car my way.
Earlier the day, the beautiful family I stayed with, invited me to stay for a while, some days….. Because I packed already before the breakfast….. I was kind of ready for walking….. and the offer came at the breakfast table, I had to find a answer inside…. stay or walk….. ok…. then I took the invitation. But then they stepped back from the invitation, because they forgot, no-one will be at home (wedding)….. ok…. then I went back to the walking plan.
When Sunil stopped me, I just walked an hour or so….. and came for a little while (as I thought) to his office, he then offered to come to his home – very friendly – ….. so again, changing plans…..
So now I am sitting in his office, at an extra desk, with a laptop, so I can finally type with 10 fingers (in the last year always only using my smartphone)…. and I want to go for it. Maybe I can update all of the last month in the next days……

Univers is really perfect, isn’t it? (In the last days I was thinking, coming to a city, I mostly do my writings, but wouldn’t it be much more beautiful, to stay more in nature, where also thoughts can flow better, to write, and then continue walking towards the next city….. Cities are always a kind of mark points, but mostly there are not so great to stay there toooo long…. as I feel often, and especially there is air pollution and sound pollution….)

Smile
Thomas

 

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on the way again

Dear friends,

I am walking again.

I started at the 1st of February at the Pakistan border. Walked to Amritsar. Now I am going step by step towards Daramshala.

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little update

Dear friends.
I have been on a 10 days Vipassana retreat.
Because I feel, my process is not completed yet, I go from tonight on on another silent journey by myself. Here for I found a beatiful place at the river Ganga in Rishikesh.

Out of the silent time after 10th of December

Blessings around the world
Thomas

I arrived in Mandi

I enjoyed

The last two days have been so beautiful.

Finally I reach a lonely street.

Nature pur.  And even a jungle. Wow.

Today the climate changed again, while coming further down. Bamboo and bananas are growing around Mandi.

And Mandi is my first non-tourist Indian city. I will explore tomorrow.

After I have to get somehow (proparbly by bus) to Nepal to renew my Visa.

5 1/2 years

Today is day 2114 of being with the peace walk.

5 1/2years

16098 km

15 countries

At least 30 people walked with me.

 

on the way to Mandi

I suffer

It’s my last week before having a 3 month walking break.

The luggage feels heavy. It is getting warmer coming to a lower and lower elevation. I don’t wear so many clothes anymore and I have more staff then before walking through Ladakh.

Coming down into the world ‚people’s world‘ everything gets more heavy. Walking on the streets, even though it’s not the main road, which is super crazy, I don’t see mountains and nature anymore. There are mountains and a big river, but walking on the street, it’s not visible and feelable anymore. Dust and horning. Fast driving and, sound and horning…… It’s painful. And people also forget that they are living in a great super nice valley. Symptomatic, there is one big house at the river side. All windows are towards the street. Towards the river no window. People forget, the life source is the water, not the street. Painful. ….. And than, all the creeks and rivers which are used as dumps…… sooooo painful……. People at the street are not in a good mood….. And they don’t know, that sound, dust and pollution is making them so…..

Male dogs are marking everything and anywhere. Here in India, and before also in Afghanistan (some other countries I have seen not so obvious) the menfolk is spitting everywhere. They bring it up with a loud unplesent ugly noise, and then they are spitting it out. All the time. For me it is a type of unconcious way of marking the area. Because there are so many people on this planet, it does not make it less embarrassing. Sometimes it feels to me as again a unconcious way of having a ejaculation on the street, or better said as a replacement of a ejaculation. 

In Europe I feel so good, when I can leave human concioussness bubble at around 1700m and up. Here in the Himalayas it’s, when I come over 2500m…. Sooooo goood. Coming back in lower elevation….. I become kind of nam….. the eaes are closing up…..it feels like to become under water. Already in Manali in about 2000m elevation I felt a bit like that. Under water. Where is my planet earth, sure I can feel her, but ‚under water‘ it’s so difficult to feel the mountains and the beautiful sky. ……

……..

Two or three more days to walk to Mandi….. Puh….. And maybe very nice…..

I love this Mother, Mother Earth…..

Thomas