This day we did the real exploration. We got up early, had a nice breakfast at this gorgeous cafe which attracted many foreigners. The place was Tattv Cafe in Tapovan which had a view of the Ganga too. I somehow wasn't really impressed by most of the restaurants and dhabas in Rishikesh as most of them compromised on the service and quality.
We headed straight to the iconic Beatles Ashram which I had heard about a lot. On the way, we reached the Parmarth Niketan Ashram which supposedly is the biggest ashram in Rishikesh. It was aesthetically done and very pretty to look at. Alongside there were ghats, where you could soak your feet or even take a dip! I avoided that as it was already winters plus the Ganges have a solid reputation of having really really cold water.
For the Beatles Ashram, you have to cross the Ram Jhula and it is then a little ahead of the Swarg Ashram. We stumbled upon this Ashram called the Vanaprastha Ashram which served this super delicious thali at just Rs. 75/- It had freshly cooked vegetables, dal, steaming hot thin ghee rotis, rice, yummy raita, pakora kadhi and mix dal. The best food I had eaten in the entire Rishikesh. Do give it a try!!
Then we started walking again towards the Beatles Ashram which is at the extreme end. Honestly, I found it over-rated! You should probably go there to click some of the insane graffiti work done there and pose yourself too with them as background. That's about it. You can probably read the history anywhere else. They charge Rs . 150 for Indians, 75 for senior citizens and a bomb of Rs. 600 to foreigners, which is a waste in my opinion!
After that we walked back to the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, as I had heard that the Ganga Aarti happened there at 5 pm. I had initially thought to witness the evening Aarti at the Triveni Ghat, but by then we were really tired plus we were told that the ceremony at Parmarth was more private and less crowded. Finally, after killing some time in the cafes in the market, we witnessed the Ganga Aarti at 5 pm and it was some kind of a huge event that day. Probably because it was the last day of the year. I did spot many popular celebrities at the ceremony. The Aarti was indeed the highlight of the day and my mother finished it with lighting the floating lamps in the Ganga, as a popular ritual there. I, myself too, enjoyed a lot.
We had our evening roadside tea with some spicy chowmein then and headed back to our hotel with great memories of the New Year's Eve.