The idea of a vacation somewhere new can be exciting, it can also be a stressful endeavor. Finalizing the travel plans .. places to see, food to eat and night long parties.
But sometimes you need a calm retreat, not to stress but to revitalize the mind and body – if yes then Rishikesh is the right place to be for a weekend.
Rishikesh –A small city besides Holy Ganges , boasts of lots of temples and Yoga ashrams.
From Delhi and it is a 6 hours’ drive. There are 2 routes Delhi – Meerut – Khatauli – Muzzafarnagar –Haridwar – Rishikesh. The roads were okay but not that great with a lot of patchy areas.
While returning we took Rishikesh – Bijnor – Khatauli- Meerut- Delhi. I found this route to be better and more scenic and would prefer this, though it is 50 Km longer but still you take the same time for the journey as roads are better.
Most people know Rishikesh for the adventure associated with river rafting. But there is much more to experience than just rafting.
To have the best experience of Rishikesh start early morning and a have a walk around the Ganges … watch the sunrise .. listen to the sound of flowing water … attend a yoga session .. it will give you superb energy for rest of the day.
Bargain hunting freaks should visit the old bazaar of Rishikesh and see the famous Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula. Lord Rama and Lord Laxman are famous characters of Indian Epic Ramayana, Jhula In Hindi means a Swing. As per legend, Lord Laxman crossed the river on a Jute rope and this bridge is to honor him. This an Iron suspension bridge across the river Ganges. The best part of the bridge is that It offers panoramic views of Ganges, temples, and Ghats across the city of Rishikesh .
Among the Many temples of the City, the Shiva Temple across the river gives a nice view of the complete landscape.
A stop at Ram Jhula is a must – which is similar to Laxman Jhula but a little smaller. Newly built and hence more stable when you walk across it. There are lots of small shops selling cotton Items, herbs, idols and are a good place for shopping freaks. The most famous restaurant of Rishikesh –Chotiwala which is always crowded is just next to it. A perfect spot for a local lunch.
If you still have time and then you can take a trip to Chilla village which is more of nature walk across River Ganga & a local village tour to experience the rural lifestyle.
The spectacle of Rishikesh is Triveni Ghat and the Ganga Aarti. It can be easily called a mini version of Ganga aarti performed at Varanasi with is much grand in scale.
The aura created during the aarti is just awesome.
The pundits/ priests perform the puja with large fire bowls in their hands singing Bhajans. The beating of drums and music created by singing the aarti is mesmerizing.
People float diyas along with flowers in the Holy Ganga and at the end the small area around the ghat is lit with burning diyas and its shadows . It creates a very nice ambience which is a feast for eyes and cannot be expressed in words. The pictures speak for themselves.
The evenings are beautiful along the Ganges when the lights in homes start to lit up and the sun goes down.
STAY: There are many Ashrams as well as boutique Hotels. I had selected Ell Bee Ganga View for its view and famous rooftop restaurant – The Sitting elephant
The food and Hospitality were great and made the trip more memorable.
Would recommend to go and spend a weekend in Rishikesh and revive your soul.