From the Yoga Capital to the Queen of Hills

Tripoto
9th May 2017

Known as the 'Gateway To Garhwal Himalayas' , Rishikesh is a pilgrimage town and one of the holiest places to Hindus. It is located in Uttarakhand in the Dehradun district. Legends state that Lord Ram stayed here with brother Lakshmana to do penance after killing Ravana. The holy river Ganga flows through Rishikesh and is the main attraction of this place. Rishikesh is also known as the Yoga capital of the world because it has a lot of yoga centres and tourists from all around the world come here to attain peace of mind and body.

Day 1

It is one of the most iconic landmarks of this city. Legends say that Lakshman crossed the river ganga on jute ropes at this point and hence it gets its name ' Lakshman Jhula'. The jute bridge was washed of in the floods and then the strong iron suspended bridge was formed in the year 1929. The bridge connects the two villages Tapovan and Jonk. There are number of ashrams , temples etc around the jhula at the ghats .

We spent the evening sitting on the banks of the river and listening to sound of the gushing water of this holy river . The mood of this place was so calming and so serene that it cannot be expressed in words.

Since the Beatles set foot in Rishikesh in the late 60's , this place has been a tourist attraction for anyone who is interested in Yoga and meditation. Impressed by the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the Beatles flew down to Rishikesh and stayed at his ashram which is now famously known as the 'Beatles Ashram'. One can take a look at the eye - catching graffiti and paintings done by the visitors on the wall of the abandoned ashram.

Day 2

River rafting is one of the main attractions of Rishikesh . There are more than 300 companies in Rishikesh that provide this water sport. The Rafting starts from some 16km away from lakshman jhula and ends near the lakshman jhula. We opted for the 16 km long river rafting which also has a cliff jumping point in the middle also known as the Maggie point. The river rafting experience in Rishikesh is totally unique as it has grade 0, 1, 2, 3 rapids. I completely recommend everyone who goes to Rishikesh to go for this once in a lifetime experience . The thrill that you feel when you see that your boat is approaching a rapid and the high of the adrenaline levels makes this experience unique and the risk worth it . The cost of the rafting starts from as low as INR 600 - INR 1500 depending on the distance and the quality of the products that hey provide you with .

Other than River Rafting Rishikesh is also famous for its other adventure sports like fly foxing , bungee jumping , paragliding etc.

If there is one thing you must not miss when you visit Rishikesh is the Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat . The most amazing and spectacular Aarti takes place at this place every evening , when a dozens of pandits come to the ghat and worship the holy river Ganga.

NOTES

Some of the must visit cafes are The Beatles Cafe , The German Bakery, Lotus cafe etc . All these cafes provide great view of the Ganga and the Ghats and can be a really lovely place to spend your evenings and have dinner .

We hired scooties to travel around Rishikesh as it is the cheapest option there. You can find rent them for as low as INR 250 per day.

I stayed at the Zostel Rishikesh in a dormitory room for all girls for INR 450 per night . I totally recommend staying at this hostel instead of a hotel because it provides with cozy environment and a home like feeling . It is also a great place to meet fellow travellers and learn about their stories and culture . I spent my nights on the hostel terrace interacting , singing , dancing with the fellow travellers . Living in the zostel is a experience in its own .

I took a direct flight from Mumbai to Dehradun and then hitchhiked till Rishikesh . Some of the other ways to reach Rishikesh are a overnight bus from Delhi or a car ride .

A small hill station at the foothills of the Garhwali region of the Himalayas Mussoorie is a treat to the eyes. The elevation of this place is 1880 m approximately. Green valleys, the Shivalik ranges, the Doon valley to the south and Himalayan snow covered mountains to the Northeast makes Mussoorie the ‘Queen of Hills’. This place was founded by Lt. Frederick Young who went there for a hunt and felt in love with the picturesque landscapes , the beautiful lush green valleys and the cold climate of this place . You can take a bus from Rishikesh to Dehradun and then another bus from Dehradun to Mussoorie or can have your own private car\cab. Its just a 2 hr 35 minutes ride away .

Day 3

This point is the second highest point of Mussoorie i.e. 6640 ft. One can reach this place by taking the rope way which provides a spectacular view of the Doon valley. You can sip on hot tea and have Maggie while taking in the breathtaking 360 degree view of the Himalayan ranges namely Bunderpunch, Srikantha, Pithwara, Gangotri group etc. The ropeway costs INR 75 both ways .

Kempty Falls was developed as a tourist destination in 1835 by John Mekinan. It is 13 km away from Mussoorie but still is one of the main tourist attractions of this place . The falls a totally worth the 13 km long car drive . You can enjoy a pleasant afternoon taking a dip in the water and uncer the falls with friends and family .

Day 4

George Everest the person who had Mount Everest named after him was the surveyor general of India and he built his park estate in the year 1832 in Mussoorie. You can take a cab from mall road and it’s a 20 minute drive through forests and plains to reach this mountain top where his house is built, one can also hike till this point if they want to. They are planning to convert this house into a museum but as of now the house remains closed for tourists . But one can still roam around the vast estate and actually have a picnic in the middle of the forest . It's also a viewpoint for some breathtaking valleys and fresh air.

Clouds end marks the end of Mussoorie . Its a 2000 acres land full of Deodar and Oak trees. Clouds end also has a resort which was the mansion of the British officer Major Swetenhams built in the year 1838. The hilltop gets engulfed in clouds and hence it gets its name as the 'clouds end'. One can take nature walks, climb hills or just spend the evening sitting at the clouds end and looking a the spectacular view of the sunset into the hills.

Day 5
Day 1

A 1 hour ride away Surkanda Devi Temple is a 2 km steep trek from Kaddukhal village. Its situated at an elevation of 3030 meters. This temple is mostly covered in fog and provides a spectacular view of the himalayan ranges , Mussoorie and Chamba. It is famous for the Ganga Dussehra festival that happens here between the months of May and June . You can also visit Dhanaulti a small village on the way to Surkanda Devi temple . Legend goes that it is one of the famous shakti peeth and that just adds on to one more reason why this temple is so famous and also a must visit .

NOTES

You can spend the evenings taking a stroll on the mall road and shop for some souvenirs for your friends and family.

Cafe by the way and Little Llama Cafe are two of the must visit cafes in mussoorie.

i would suggest hiring a cab for the full day , it is the most easiest way to get around Mussoorie.

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