I have been to Rishikesh many a times, but one day detour just before Diwali 2016 was altogether a different experience. This time instead of exploring natural beauty and spiritual spirit, I had a walk in the history through ruins. After meeting up in Dehradun, me and my friend Kinshuk Madan reached Rishikesh about at 12.30 pm. After settling down at friend’s place (RahUL) we headed to ashram. Place is located about 2km from Ram Jhulla downstream at the bank of “The Ganga”.
After paying dues (150 for Indian and 600 for foreign nationals) we realized that area is rich in birding as well (Birding is new leisure practice that we both are trying hands on) and we spotted few Himalayan bird species. This place falls in Rajaji National Park and is managed by forest department, Uttaranchal.
Right from the entrance we observed a lot of small meditation huts, all over the place, taken over by jungle weeds and other plants and trees. This gave a feeling that these ruins are centuries old, though the place was full of life in late 60s. Back then Beatles stayed here for good length of time, and wrote few songs here. A lot of these huts are well preserved with meaningful graffiti’s all over the walls and roof. It looked like there was no life walking in three dimensional forms, but “spirit is still alive”. Thoughts from the walls, roof and from the corridors are still speaking loud in this never ending silence. Thanks to unknown travellers, thinkers and artists who have left their mark in the form of graffities time and again here. We had three hours in hand, and the place was too big to explore. Apart from hilly terrain, there is a big ground or a grassland perfect for wild elephants, (Rajaji National Park is well known for them) though we did not encounter one.
We started back at 6 and reached Permarth Ashran, which is about 1.5 km towards Ram Jhula to attend a daily ritual ”The Aarti”. I think this is the only place where everyone being as part of this loud practice feels deep silences. It is a daily ceremony, a thanksgiving practice to “Maa Ganga” for her million blessings that showers on us. Lucky are the people who attend this daily.
After this the destination was “Tree House Café” near Lakshman Jhula, where in a good session I realized the Kinshuk was really a lead vocalist in a rock band, though I knew this for a long time. He performed there for long time. Late in night we headed to Lakshman Jhula, where after crossing it, we were supposed to meet Rahul (Our friend at whose place we were settled at). After a struggle for an hour we found him with a group of Israelis in a restaurant. Invested good amount of time there; we headed back to our place with RahUL - a filmmaker, a traveller, a blogger, who is living his life at his own terms.
Next day morning, with memories, learning and urge to go back, we headed to Himachal.