A Visit to Religious Rishikesh
This Summer we decided to head out to the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ a famous place of worship and meditation. Yes, you guessed right – its Rishikesh. We took the Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Dehradun at 11:30 am and promptly reached in two hours. We were picked up from the airport and driven down to Rishikesh.
Our cabbie was an excellent guide but his slurry soft accent was so difficult to follow. However, the drive was so exciting as I just wanted to get a first glimpse of the Magnificent River Ganga as soon as possible. And when I did, I let out a childish squeal. Cannot explain how it felt, the pure water glistening in the sun. It was a breathtaking feeling beyond compare.
And now I just have 24 hours to soak up the religious vibe of the city before we head to the mountains of Mussorrie.
Aloha by the Ganges
Aloha by the Ganges was our hotel for the next 24 hours. A perfect hotel amidst the scenic beauty of Rishikesh and alongside the Holy Ganga. As the name suggests this hotel has a breathtaking view of the River Ganges flowing. The water looked so pure from above. Couldn’t wait to get a closer feel of it.
Aloha is a sprawling property that not only offering five-star amenities like spa, swimming pool etc but also conducts adventure sports, special picnics, nature walks and yoga classes.
Things to do in Rishikesh
It was just a one day in Rishikesh and I wanted to do it all. So much to see and do. After resting for a while, we were ready to explore. Thi holy city is vegetarian by law, and meat and alcohol are not legal here.
Cows are sacred and protected, and they roam freely on bridges, streets. They are also found entering shops and are petted lovingly.
The Ganga Aarti starts at sunset. Make sure to get a place in front to experience it better. The chanting of bhajans and synchronization of lit diyas is mesmerizing. We got our turn to offer aarti to the sacred Ganges. It was a spiritual evening spent at sunset along with other devotees. This is a must do during the Rishikesh visit.
Another famous attraction of Rishikesh is the Lakshman Jhula. The bridge is known to be of mythological importance and is connected with great Hindu epic, Ramayana.
Our hotel even arranges a morning trek to this place. The bridge is a connection between the two villages of Tapovan in Tehri Garhwal district, on the west bank of the river, to Jonk in Pauri Garhwal district, on the east bank. On the bridge, we bumped into people from all walks of life. Some locals cross over on bikes, honking for walkers to get to one side. The view from the bridge has to be experienced. You can feed the fish below from the bridge.
A similar suspension bridge like the Laksham jhula, Ram Jhula is bigger and busier There are many Hindu ashrams and religious centers established on both sides of the Ganges here too. The famous Chotiwala Restaurant is in the vicinity along with Parmarth Niketan and other temples located in Swargashram.
Here the Ganga water was so shallow, I could see the river bed clearly from above. This bridge gives a panoramic view of the holy river the Ganges and the temples situated nearby. Many shops selling Rudraksha and other items of holy sentiments.
Its a must to walk the narrow streets and mingle with the locals. Some just give you the most amazing tips on how to live a stress-free life.
All this walking had really made us hungry, on exiting the Ram Jhula on one side we couldn’t help but notice a man with a painted face and long Choti. He was the mascot who welcomes diners. It was opened in 1958 and hasn’t changed at all. It serves up delicious cuisine from across India. It’s a famous landmark beside being an eatery in Rishikesh for over 60 years.
The Chole puri was to die for. Truly amazed at the cleanliness and hospitality of this place
I had set an alarm for 5.30 AM to take the nature walk organized by the hotel but it was so fascinating to wake up much before that with the chirping of birds. The air was chilly, and the sun was just about to rise from behind the mountains. This was one rare moment I was one with nature, just wanted the moment to cease.
I was walking along with nature, being immersed in its natural beauty and allowing the feeling of calmness to get over me with positivity.
River Rafting/ Kayaking
I had been hearing so much about river rafting in Rishikesh that I wished to try it myself. Our holiday Adventure desk advised us a small three seater raft for beginners and assured us safety with a lifeguard on shore. We were taken by jeep to a near destination, beautiful white sands and crystal clear water.
Life jacket and helmets were worn. Paddle technique learned.
Now we were ready to embrace River Ganga. The water was cold and fast, in fact, at one turn I fell off the raft and went deep down inside. But luckily the float got me up. I grabbed the end of the boat and the boatman got me up again. Wow, what a feeling. Har Har Gange!!
Rishikesh visit is incomplete with a visit to the Parmath Ashram. A pious place next to the banks of the Ganges. The ashram is perfect for “Me time.” Here one can meet devotees from all over the world. Just visiting the place gave me eternal peace.
Attend a Yoga class
Being the yoga capital Rishikesh has many courses in Yoga offered to all. Our hotel had a yoga class for all guests which I attended before breakfast. After the asanas and breathing exercises, the glass of detox juice was wonderful.
After a day filled with activity and action, it was now time to head to the Queen of all hill stations – Mussoorie.
Await my next blog post to discover more about this charming place.