Have you seen Jonathan Spollen? Missing in Rishikesh since February 3rd, 2012

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#871 Apr 1st, 2012, 16:41
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#871
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Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post Just received an email reply from them
Indeed you did - and i just spoke with the man who is there. What happened was that the campus inc. the former 'Uttarkashi retreat' and school was indeed sold. A little piece of land was retained and relaunched as the 'Krishnamurti Retreat Centre'
#872 Apr 1st, 2012, 16:42
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I was shocked a couple of days ago when i spoke with & sent a poster to a western Swami who runs a very small secluded ashram just a few KM's beyond Garur Chatti & Phool Chatti & he told me he had just visited R'kesh the same day & seen a poster in a cafe, but before that he knew nothing about it,he does live in a secluded spot,but it seems people can be living so close to the waterfall & not know anything about it??

I asked him if he knew of any local caves are other pointers he could give us & here's part of his reply;

Maybe the reason i had not heard about Jonathon is that i live in the forest with not so much contact with visitors, Westerners, mostly with the locals and with Nepalis. Yes, it's very possible he had a strong impulse towards renunciate life. Rishikesh and India to stimulate that in some. There are some caves this side, the largest being just near me, with maybe 8 Babas. I was there a few days ago and didn't see any other Westerners besides the ones i brought for pilgrimage. It does seem that on this side i would have been aware of him if he had come further than Garud Chatti. But around Garud Chatti and Phul Chatti there are many Westerners and Indian tourists. I don't mix so much with outsiders. So i don't keep up wth what's going on in that circle.
At Garud Chatti there is a respected sadhu living up the path behind the temple in a one-room cottage. You may ask him. Also you may ask at the Phulchatti Ashram(3 km after Garudchatti). You can find it on the web. 3 km after that is Atma Kutir. Sometimes Westerners stay there. It's in village Gattughat. From there the road splits, one side going to Neelakantha, and the other towards Badrinath. There's also a cave before Garudchatti on the Ganga bank. The sadhu there is authentic. Above Neelakantha, near me is also Bund Kundi Ashram. But i think if he was in this area i would be aware of it... Yes, this kind of renunciation is without longterm consideration, though maybe sincere. KK
#873 Apr 1st, 2012, 17:07
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#873
This Atma Kutir at Gattughat sounds like worth checking out,but can't find any ref online.
Here's a couple of places nearby that may be worth asking if anyones seen a lone westerner wandering around the forest;

http://www.hotelplanner.com/Hotels/3...shikesh-249304

http://www.raftingmasti.com/Rishikesh_Valley_Resort.htm

http://www.rishikeshraftingguide.com...rishikesh.html

http://www.nivalink.com/shivashish/index.html
#874 Apr 1st, 2012, 19:52
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wrt kullukid's post above

link one Rishikesh Valley- Number in link (toll free number) does not exist

Link two Rafting Masti.. Jonathan not there (some lady doing the bookings answered, hope she didn't just fob me off)

Link three-Camp 16-- the number is a booking office in Delhi. Spoke to Ajay who said that they just book for different rafting companies and do not know about all the people who actually visit, including walk ins. Said we should contact local TV- mentioneld 'Raju Gosain' who I believe is an indiamike member (and a friend of his, he said tell him 'Ajay' from Delhi/Haridwar said so) to put up poster on local TV, he said everybody watches and rafting companies difficult to contact individually

Link four for Shivashish is a third party booking site (nivalink), so phone number useless. I don't have the time to search right now, if anybody posts numbers for Shivasheesh and Rishikesh valley I will call
.
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#875 Apr 1st, 2012, 19:59
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Raju Gusain
- see post number 466 by Jock and Di - page 32
#876 Apr 2nd, 2012, 00:16
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#876
Maybe some better contact numbers here Capt?;
http://rivervalleyresort.in/contact-us.html

But i'm not expecting J to be there,they do treks a stuff into jungle so maybe the guides may have seen him at some time, or maybe you can just ask them to put a few posters up in camp & other camps along the river.KK
#877 Apr 2nd, 2012, 01:37
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#877
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Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post How do you come to get hooked up with these Babas/Sadhus?

I mean do you just stumble down a path and into a cave & it's sort of spiritual love at first sight & then you suddenly decide you're going to spend the rest of your living days sitting cross-legged with this chap? Or does some spiritual 'middle man' bend your ear in Rishikesh about the options/prospects for going spiritually awol in said location?

Can you explain the process as to how anyone would be on a trek one week in full communication with family & the next day be cave dwelling with baba?

Can you, anybody walk us through the sequence of events about how the average backpacker might end up this way?
Quote:
Originally Posted by kullukid View Post
I asked him if he knew of any local caves are other pointers he could give us & here's part of his reply;

3 km after that is Atma Kutir. Sometimes Westerners stay there. It's in village Gattughat. From there the road splits, one side going to Neelakantha, and the other towards Badrinath. KK

I think Atma Kutir should definiteley be checked out by J's family who are in Rishikesh read the following;

My last week in Rishikesh had been both powerful and magical. Rishikesh indeed has intense energies. I am sure of that... and leaving that town could not happen without a dramatic grand finale...
I spent my last week in a small villiage named 'Ghatughat', about 10 kms outside of Rishikesh. I stayed at a healing/meditation centre that is not yet open to the public (should be launched this summer) which i came by through another day spent with 'Ladu baba', my close 'Sadhu' friend- who I met through Triveni. He invited me to join him on a 10 km walk to an ashram named 'Atma Kutir', about 10 kms outside of Rsihikesh, and since it sounded like a cool experience, I said 'yes'... We walked in the wooded roads for almost 3 hours, talking, singing Hindu religious songs and enjoying the beauty of the ganga and the forest all around.... When we arrived finally, the ashram was full of 'Sadhus', babas of all shapes and colors. Men with white ash all over their face, tikkas on their forehead, lots of sadhus, barefoot, wrapped in orange, white or other rags.. i actually sat with them as Hindu mantras were said, and later sat with them for lunch- rows of ppl, sitting on the floor, and ppl with HUGE pots passing by and refilling your disposable 'Thali' plates (made of leaves..).. it was quite a sight, and describing it does not doe it justice.... so i will leave it to your imagination. At this event- which was the last of a four day celebration for the new moon- i met a wonderful woman - i was introduced to by Ladu baba, who is an 'Osho Saniasi' (student). she has an ashram nearby with a Zen temple and she practices dynamic meditation. We walked over to her place through the healing centre (a shortcut to her home) and there I saw the bamboo huts, where i later retruned to and spent my last week at...
Matagi (mother in Hindi), but a nick-name for a 'mother' of an ashram, gave me a healing massage at the zen temple- four walls- no roof/ ceiling, as i was lying under the beating valley sun. It was a powerful spiritual massage (perhaps not the quite best physical massage..) after the massage- i stayed in the temple, lettign the sun's healing powers finsih the job.. and indeed - once i walked out of the zen temple (which is right by the ganga river) i suddenly saw everything sooo crisp clear. i felt so rejuvinated and fresh!!
I also participated in two Osho dynamic meditations, both involving dancing and movement- followed by silence and stillness.. it was interesting and powerful... but i didnt' quite get to reap the effects of this practice- as i only did it twice....
the rest of my week at the 'bamboo huts' (Rishikesh Valley) was quite magical. I'd wake up in the morning- to the chirping of birds (i saw the most stunning birds i had ever seen in my life there.. one most gorgeous bird was brown with a marvelous turquoise tail and back.. just breath-taking.... bummer my camera is broken....) at about 9:15 am the sun comes from behind the mountains- and the valley is filled with sunshine... lush, green fields of mainly wheat... village women in colorful garb walking on the water 'pipes' which are actually just narrow stone cannels that go all around the fields carrying river waters inland.... (it took me a few days to be able to balance myself and walk fast on the stone canel (which is only a few inches wide..).. but these women do it in their flip-flops, with a huge bowl on top of their heads, or a huge pile of branches / leafs.. and they manage to do it sooo gracefully.. it's cbeautiful!!) the vililage children would come over in the afternoon- where dammoo, the owner of the huts- would give them some classes in English, math etc... (i bought them candies in the nearby store....) after a day of chai, some porrige (a food i was introduced to in india- oats with hot milk...), and some more chai...in the evening, Dummoo, Bahgad (his helper) and i would sit around the fire- for hours- listening to Indian music, surrounded by mountains.. star-gazing- the sky is full of stars- in a way that only the country-side offers... i'd wait til about 11 pm which is when the moon would appear in all its glory.. the night's silence is soo powerful.. other than sounds of dogs barking.. crickets.. it is absolutely quiet....
it was amazing... i soaked in every minute of it....

on the way back this 'short-cut', bahgad and i stopped at the 'babas house' on the way back to the bamboo huts... these babas- i met them before- live together in this shabby home- in tents/ shacks... inside the room they were in that night- there was a fire (in a bowl..) mice running around... a 'chillum' (pipe) being passed around- and the babas- talking and chilling... i spoke to one baba- the one who actually speaks english.. a beautiful, dark and distinguished looking man. He tells me he used to work for the govenment- and has a degree in Hindu as well as English literature... we talk about non-conformity and the true meaning of 'freedom', of not having to answer to anyone.. and having little to no obligations.. attachments... needs... and your life is devoted to spirituality... it was quite an amazing experience.... after about an hour- we headed back to 'home'..
the next day i went with Ladu baba to visit Rahib Baba in 'Atma Kutir'- up up the mountain.. We have this amazing time together- me and my babas. We all kinda blend together.. with our own spiritual orientations and all... soo shanti and chilled.. you feel a sense of comfort around these ppl.. (well, i do..) I ask swami (Rahib-baba) if there is a water- fall nearby and he sends one of his personal workers- to show us a 'secret' path to a water-falls, where there are a few caves and shrines... in one of these caves Rahib-baba lived for a year... meditating and practicing spiritual rituals alone.... the way is a bit of a nature hike- and we pass the most grant, stunning tree i have ever seen. its branches and its trunk are comprised of various parts which are intertwined and wrapped around each other.. and then there are these branches drooping over like drapes- the height of 30 meters or more.. honestly, words can't do it justice.... i was amazed!
the waterfalls are powerful.. and right beside them there are a few small caves.. most of them turned temples (you ahve the little shrine area...) Rahib -baba told me that when he was living in the mountains in a cave- in the cave right beside his a tiger gave birth toa baby.. i ask him how close he was to the tiger- and he basically says- as close as you are to me... (a few feet..)
he says this as i jump away- at the sight of a little spider walking towards me.. (lol..) 'how will you be able to survive in the wilderness/ caves..' he mocks me.. but deep down i do hope that perhaps one day i will, too, experience some solitude and spiritual 'sahdana' (work) in a cave/ in the mountains.. (i'll keep you posted....
i went back that night to have dinner with Rahib baba and from 8 pm to 9pm there's silence been kept in the ashram- so i tried to meditate (quite unsuccessfully.. lol) but at least i shut up for a bit..
i headed back to Rishikesh for my last few days (to say a proper goodbye to the most powerful place i'd experienced so far in India..)

Source;http://www.planetranger.com/site/php...2486&jid=37807
I wonder if it's possible to contact this blogger who was there in January??? KK
#878 Apr 2nd, 2012, 01:52
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#878
Quote:
Originally Posted by kullukid View Post
Source;http://www.planetranger.com/site/php...2486&jid=37807
I wonder if it's possible to contact this blogger who was there in January??? KK

I think the Blogger Ahuva Priya is a Israeli called
Danny Zehavi. Ahuva means blessed in Hebrew.

http://www.123people.com/s/danny+zehavi

http://pipl.com/directory/name/Zehavi/Danny/
#879 Apr 2nd, 2012, 02:29
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#879
Quote:
Originally Posted by kullukid View Post
Source;http://www.planetranger.com/site/php...2486&jid=37807
I wonder if it's possible to contact this blogger who was there in January??? KK
This was written in January 2008
#880 Apr 2nd, 2012, 02:36
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#880
This part is a little frightening. It shows that there are indeed predators in the spiritual tourism industry, so much so that that the police are on high alert:


Quote:
one day- Dummoo and i went to Rishikesh- to pick up some groceries.. and the cops stopped Dummoo- bc he had a western passanger (there have been a few incidents of Indian locals taking advantage of foreigners, so the police is cautious..) and his bike was seized (he had no papers..) at this time it's hard to find share-jeeps..(a squished jeep, packed with indians- but cheap.. otherwise you have to hire a full jeep yourself and it's 'really expensive' - $10... lol) so i was unsure how i would get back to the village...
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

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#881 Apr 2nd, 2012, 03:17
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#881
FWIW, This is what I have heard from Indian friends: the police will stop vehicles driven by Indians with western passengers to check and make sure the driver has a "guide" license.

If not, the driver can be "fined", (or he can come up with a bribe).

Not sure how concerned Indian police would be with westerner safety...
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#882 Apr 2nd, 2012, 03:29
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#882
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Originally Posted by sab kuch milega View Post FWIW, This is what I have heard from Indian friends: the police will stop vehicles driven by Indians with western passengers to check and make sure the driver has a "guide" license.
Wow that's KGB-esque and then seizing a bike. Something's up. Are you not allowed to just make a friend? Probably they are alerted to the 'usual suspects' who make a living partying et al with the new recruits that hit town.
#883 Apr 2nd, 2012, 03:31
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#883
It's just the time-honoured way of bribes in India, nothing personal!

But..not to hijack this important thread, just posted to show that there are many ways of interpreting behaviour in the wonderful world of India
#884 Apr 2nd, 2012, 10:18
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#884
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Originally Posted by kullukid View Post Maybe some better contact numbers here Capt?;
http://rivervalleyresort.in/contact-us.html

But i'm not expecting J to be there,they do treks a stuff into jungle so maybe the guides may have seen him at some time, or maybe you can just ask them to put a few posters up in camp & other camps along the river.KK
Spoke to Alok at their camp just now and emailed them at his email id. He has promised to reply and printout/display the poster. Let's see. Will report here if...


Edit: Folks, I am calling or contacting by email anyone that kullukid wants called. In case I miss any number/link-to-be-called of his in a hurry in future, could anybody please remind me? You will know because I always post after I attempt contact. Thanks
Last edited by capt_mahajan; Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:15..
#885 Apr 2nd, 2012, 15:41
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#885
Many thanks to all of you who keep contributing. I read the site daily, even though I do not respond every day. There has been a fair amount of speculation about the factual details, so I am going to update IM'ers with what we know so far. Long term watchers will note that there is more detail and a couple of more sightings. Although we have not confirmed sightings beyond mid February, we do have a clearer picture of Jonathan's movements over the period. I hope this additional information will help to jog some memories for you.

16/12/11- checked into Ganesh Inn Hotel
30/12/11-checked out of Ganesh Inn Hotel
30/12/11-31/12/11 – where did he stay?
1/01/11 checked into Rajshtan Hotel
10/1/12-checked out of Rajastan Hotel

10/1/12-talked with Sitigiri, a South African female Sadhu. She thought he didnt look well. Jonathan told her he had just been kicked out of his guest-house (for not eating?). He was shocked and incredulous that this was allowed to happen. He had a bowl of muesli with her. This would be the period that his kidney stone would be passing (causing severe pain, lack of appetite etc)
10th-13th - where did he stay?
13/1/12- checked into Ishan Hotel for one night.
13/1/12-last cash withdrawn in 2 transactions of IR10,000 and IR5,000 (location Swargashram ATM - in bank records, date of 17th)
20/1/12-rang Lynda on her birthday. Had said he had detoured (1.5hrs) to a road to get a signal. This signal came within the range of the Laxman Jhula tower.
28/1/12 texted to say was back
28th-30th - where did he stay?
30/1/12 checked into Dharm Yatri .
31/1/12-checked out to go on a guided trek but checked back in again on 31st as road was closed.
Between 31/1-2/2/12- he met Matt, an American guy. Jonathan started the conversation. He asked Matt if Shantimai gave meditation classes, but Matt said no and instead gave him the name Anand in Jaipur Gems instead. He said Jonathan was very skinny but seemed in good spirits.


Between 31/1-2/2/12- met Nandani, a Dutch nurse, in the German Bakery. He mentioned that he was in a lot of pain and she could see him ache when he moved. J spoke about having just done a 10 day fast with a friend.


2/2/12-checked out of Dharm Yatri for Dehli.

Between 1st and 6/2/12- met Terry, English guy, at the chai shop near Neelkanth bridge. Jonathan had AT LEAST 2 bags with him, a rucksack & a day bag. Terry thought this was strange and asked him if he was heading up the hills.. Jonathan said no, he was on his way down from the hills he had gone beyond Garur Chatti Waterfall. Been on a 10 day trek.


10th-14th/2/12- last confirmed sighting with Lauren in the German Bakery. Lauren started the conversation. They talked about the book, Shantaram, which they were both reading, and went on to discuss how the media (negatively?) affects society. He told her he was a writer and that he was coming from somewhere he didn't like.



Same period 12th or 13th – sighting on road to Joshimath. Not 100% confirmed.


Between 19-22/2/12-last suspected sighting, by Sudama on the Laxman Jhula side of the suspension bridge. Sudama recognised the long sweater Jonathan was wearing because he had sold it to him from his shop beneath the Oasis restaurant.



As you can see, there is more detail to this report than the previous one. Of particular interest is the comment by the English guy, Terry, who saw Jonathan around 2/2/12 at the chai shop at Neelkanth bridge. He said Jonathan had two bags with him, a daysack and a rucksack.
•Are there any IM'ers who were at the chai shop or on the track around this time?
•Has anyone seen the rucksack and if so, can you describe it? We only found the daysack, so we think he may still have the rucksack with him.
•Or he may have left it with somewhere for safekeeping in Laxman Jula – anyone any suggestions where people leave big bags if they are going trekking?

Secondly, Jonathan may have spent a couple of days in the bridge area around Laxman Jhula, in mid-February. There are no records of him staying in a guest house at that time.
•Does anyone have any ideas about where he could have been staying?
•Did anyone recall a tall, thin westerner, wearing a long, creamy sweater (Nepalese in origin, comes down to your trouser pockets, good quality, noticeable), possibly carrying a rucksack?



Thirdly, we know that Jonathan saw a hospital doctor in mid December and was diagnosed with a kidney stone. This may have affected his desire to eat/drink and may have caused persistent physical discomfort. It sounds like it might have been upsetting him around the time he was last seen at the German Bakery.
•Does anyone recall seeing or talking to a European who was in physical discomfort, who may have been moving slowly?



I know some of these questions are similar to ones asked earlier, but it is helpful for us to cast our memories back and perhaps tease out something that could help the search move forward. Thanks once again to our regular contributors and our newbies, your kindness is amazing and strengthening.
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