A place on earth where you can jump, float, meditate, relax and enjoy a cup of coffee - Rishikesh!
It is the only place in India where you can try Bungee Jumping and feel the adrenaline rush and you can also try your hand at river rafting through the high rapids of river Ganges.
If you are not seeking an adventure you can always spend your time learning meditation, Rishikesh is termed as a yoga capital of the world.
OR, If you just want to relax, you can spend your holiday watching the beautiful landscape at one of the many cafes, sipping a cup of coffee with some good music - Rishikesh has something to offer for everyone.
I have a long bucket list and Rishikesh was right at the top. Here are few things you should know if you are planning to visit this amazing place -
1) Breath Deep and Jump -
Do not look down before your jump - It will help
Rishikesh has the highest Bungee Jumping point in India and that is what I was excited about. I am usually scared of heights and I wanted to overcome my fear by taking this leap of faith. I enrolled for the jump, went to the platform, looking up to the beautiful sky the entire time, shivering while the instructor was giving me instructions, geared up for the jump, took a deep breath and I let my self Gooooo - I screamed as loud as I can and it was one of the relieving experience I ever had.
After my first jump I was confident than ever before and went for my 2nd jump in form of Giant Swing, which is different from Bungee Jumping where you swing like a pendulum from one point to another.
Your trip to Rishikesh will be incomplete if you do not try Bungee Jumping.
2) Go Bumpy in water -
Please do not take any gadgets with you
My adventure bug wanted more which led me to try another adventure sport - River Rafting. Rafting on river Ganga is another high. I can assure you river Ganga will make you feel each rapid better than the previous one. You can opt for various distance which ranges from 9 kms to 34 kms.
If your adrenaline is still kicking, you can try cliff jumping or floating on the river.
I must say it is once of the most chilling experience you can ever have.
3) Practice Yoga/Meditation:
After the high of adventure sports you can calm your body, mind & soul at any of the yoga centers in Rishikesh. One of the popularly known ashram is Parmarth Niketan Ashram where people from all around the world come to learn yoga.
Rishikesh offers just the right setting for practicing meditation as it is away from hustling city life.
4) Go the Beatles way:
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram or popularly known as Beatles ashram. Beatles visited the ashram to learn advance meditation in 1968 and that was the time Rishikesh came into limelight on the world map for international travelers. It is believed that the band had the most productive time when they stayed at the ashram. You will find various graffiti on number of walls which is fascinating to look. Currently, it is closed and people visit the ashram only during day time and there are no options for stay at the ashram.
5) The Divine Experience - Ganga Arti:
After meditation and yoga, you can feel closer to god and experience divine faith at "Har ki Pauri" in Haridwar. "Har ki Pauri" means "Steps of Lord Shiva" - "Har" means "Lord Shiva", "Ki" means "of" and "Pauri" means "Steps". 1000 of pilgrims attuned themselves to single chant of Har Har Gange. The arti presents a spectacular view in evening!
6) The Cafe Life:
If you are visiting Rishikesh for taking a time off from your regular 9 to 5 job - you must spend a day or two at the numerous cafes that Rishikesh has to offer. Each cafe has a different view of the landscape and you can choose your view to spend the day.
My personal favorite which I would definitely recommend is - The Rishikesh Cafe.
7) Ram Jhula/Laxman Jhula:
With river Ganges flowing through the valley, these bridge connects both the side of Rishikesh. You will have to pass through these bridges in some or the other way as you would like to explore both the sides of the valley which is completely different from each other.
Other Important information on Where to Stay? & How to Reach?:
There are numerous options to choose from. Few that I could recommend would be Hotel Devoy Inn which you can book easily on GoIbibo or if you are traveling on a budget trip you can opt for a stay at Bunk Stay Hostels.
For traveling, you can either take a flight to Dehradhun and then travel by road to reach Rishikesh OR if you are a budget traveler you can opt for a night journey from Delhi (I personally avoid spending time in train and like short train travel) - You can book Mussorie express which will save you on time and money. It departs from Delhi around 10 p.m and reaches Haridwar by 7 a.m which helps you get a good night sleep :). You can then get a rickshaw to Rishikesh which will cost you approximately 40 Rs per person - The ride from Haridwar to Rishikesh is fascinating in itself.
I will be uploading about my next adventure soon - Till than keep traveling like a Tripster.