Painted in the colours of the Indian flag a pedestrian swing bridge stretches high over the River Ganges in Rishikesh. I sit at an open-air German Bakery sipping a cappucino and watching pilgrims make their way across the bridge. Indian photographers wait to take Indian tourists' photos, they print the shots while the tourists visit the temples. They're only in town for 24 hours. I spent time chatting with them, they're no different than the photographers we have in New Zealand at any tourist site like the Queenstown cable car or at the Sky Tower in Auckland. Vendors on this side of the bridge sell dried corn, peanuts, flowers and other knick knacks to be offered up to the Gods for puja
once the pilgrim makes it over to the temple on the other side. Before they reach the temple however they must run the gauntlet of Rhesus Macque monkeys waiting to relieve them of their goodies. The monkeys work in gangs, and although mostly harmless they are quite frightening. If you're carrying any food at all they will snatch the quarry from your hand.
It's quite humourous sitting back enjoying my morning coffee watching the next poor unsuspecting tourist being mugged in broad daylight. Ahh Rishikesh, temples, Holy men, the Beatles, cows and monkeys … Life here in the foothills of the Himalaya is idyllic as the bells at the temple across the river chime in a spiritual trance the gorgeous days just saunter by.