Traveling is a magical feeling. Getting up, packing your bag and heading towards your destination; there is a rush of sudden excitement or a gush of happiness, as I can say. But there is one thing that you have to decide for yourself – Are you a tourist or a traveller?
Well, I’m a traveler and this is my story to Rishikesh.
Are you spiritual or a yoga follower or you are entirely different and worship nothing but adventure? Whatever your type is, Rishikesh is the place for you.
Getting to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
It was 11 am in the morning when I woke up to this mystical land. I boarded the bus from Delhi and thanks to jam packed highways, the hours of journey got almost doubled. I had my entire schedule planned; I had pre-planned it, as I wanted to see every nook and corner of the city, of which I have heard so much.
Thanks to ‘the lonely planet’, everything seems too easy when you have this guide backing you up.
So, it was day one and what could have been a better beginning than going to Laxman Jhula, and later experiencing the spiritual Ganga Aarti at Har ki Pauri.
I kept my luggage in my hotel room and took a quick yet refreshing shower. Later, I had my meal of the day and I was ready to walk and explore the city. Well, if you are vegetarian or you are fond of vegetarian food then Rishikesh will not disappoint you. You will easily find both lavish as well as small shops serving you vegetarian delights.
It took almost one and a half hours for us to reach there, and finally I was standing on the one end of the Laxman Jhula. Everything was quiet different than what I had imagined, the Jhula too was a crowed one, and people were taking their scooters/ bikes on it and were honking desperately at pedestrians for the way. Well, what I had imagined was a quiet walkway, where I could stand peacefully and watch the sun set with cold breeze blowing away my long tresses and creating a poetic feel.
To be honest, yes I was a bit upset about it, but then I thought to relax a bit at the beach nearby and wait till this hustle was over. Time flew and so did the traffic on Laxman Jhula. I picked up my belongings and started climbing up stairs to do that the thing which I planned for the day. Finally I was there standing on Laxman Jhula, with the fresh and cold air passing by, everything felt amazing. It was a moment that I wanted to capture. It might not seem appealing to normal people but for a traveller witnessing sunset from that place would definitely be PURE LOVE!
I wanted that moment to freeze but that happens only in fairy tales. No matter how poetic that feels, it was a real life and just like any other day, even this day came to an end.
Pleasant weather, breathtakingly beautiful view, black coffee, candid conversations with random people followed by a decent book and comfortable stay, when clubbed together make a fabulous day. My first stay at Rishikesh was nice, though there were few things which disappointed me initially, but later the evening was accompanied with warmth and beauty.
MUST DO: White River Rafting
The guide gave instructions for around ten minutes before I put on my life jacket, got into the raft and surrendered myself to the mighty Ganges.
Rafting in Ganges is an amazing experience, especially in December when the water is icy cold and instantly makes you go numb. You pay utmost attention to every command coming out of the instructor's mouth, hold on to the oars and cling to the raft for your life. The scare that you get when you enter a rapid and the adrenaline rush that you get after successfully crossing one is mind-boggling. After getting done with the rapids you just float past temples, ashrams and ghats and enjoy the sights of the riverbank life along Ganges.
Also beware as guides will turn your raft upside down when currents !
The cost for river rafting was INR 300-700 per person.
How to reach Rishikesh?
Option 1: Drive down or hire a cab. Takes 4-5 hours. Here's the route.
You can also use blabla car which will cost in the range of 550 - 1000 per seat.
Option 2: Take a train from Delhi / Ghaziabad to Haridwar. From there take a shared taxi or bus to Rishikesh
Option 3: Take one of the many buses available from ISBT Delhi and Anand Vihar. You may also check Redbus.in . If you fail to get a direct bus, take a bus to Haridwar and switch from there.
Where to stay?
To get the best experience stay at one of the camps in Shivpuri.Camp Roller Coaster : situated at site of a rapid named roller coaster.Website - CampRollerCoaster.com | Mo: +91-9634578787, +91-9761162608Price range : INR 800 - 1400 depending on the season.
Camp Dream Life : A beautiful site for camp, on a clean river beach with nothing else but mountains and river. No sign of any other camp or establishment visible till far. Kayak was available at this camp.Website - DreamLifeAdventure.in | Mo: +91-9412402390, +91-8923039770Price range : INR 600 - 1200 depending on the season
What to carry in your bagpack?
- Backpack or safari bags only, sports shoes, at least 2 pair of cotton socks, shorts, slippers, comfortable trekking clothes, at least 3 pairs of change since you will spend a lot of time in water.
- A jacket and couple of pullovers if you happen to visit in the winters.
- A torch, mosquito repellents and vital medicines
Things to know beforehand
- Absolutely no electricity or mobile network coverage in most camps.
- Don't forget to buy your alcohol and smokes before going to the campsite in the night because there are no shops in that area.
- In December it got extremely cold in the night and we required 2 sweaters, a jacket, gloves, cap and woolen socks to get comfortable.
- And of course, a word of caution true for any religious or even otherwise crowded place, be aware of pick pockets and wear minimum jewelry items.