What a blissful place it is ! I am talking about Rishikesh — a small town situated besides the holy river Ganges.
Rishikesh is around 20 kms from Haridwar — a famous pilgrimage site in India. Unlike Haridwar which is generally very crowded with devotees , Rishikesh is quiet and calm place. Infact I would say Rishikesh is a very interesting place. This place has something to offer everyone. Because of if it’s rich physical and cultural existence this place is famous for all good things. Needless to say, Rishikesh is well blessed by mother Nature. It is one of the best adventure sport destinations in India. If you are interested in adventure sports do check for schedule before planning. They are generally closed in monsoons.
Rishikesh is also considered as birthplace of Yoga. It attracts lot of foreigners who come here to learn and practice yoga and meditation. So don’t be surprise if you get to see a foreigner clad in dhoti practicing yoga on the banks of river.
We visited Rishikesh in August, when camping and adventure sports were closed so we spent most of our time roaming around the streets and ghats. We stayed at a river side property near Ram Jhula. Its location is unbeatable. There is a ghat right outside the hotel back gate. We enjoyed morning and evening walks on the ghats witnessing some local residents sitting and chatting on the ghat stairs, some pujaris offering their prayers, some health freaks running across, some kids playing around and a tea seller selling hot tea and coffee in the cold and breezy weather. Moreover it was very convenient for us to take dip in the river at any time.
Ram Jhula and taxi stand are at 5 minutes walking distance from this place. If you want to cover both bridges (Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula) you can take auto to any of them and, cross it and then take auto/taxi to other Jhula from other side of the Jhula. There are taxi stand close to both the Jhulas. Shared taxi costs 10 INR/person or you can book it for 100 INR.
You will find many shops and eateries near both the Jhulas. There is a famous joint called Chotiwala near Ram Jhula, however you will see many chotiwalas in town, this one is said to be original Chottiwala.
If you are looking for something different than regular Indian food you can check out cafes near Lakshman Jhula. Yes you read it right ! Rishikesh is also known for its cafe culture. There are some good river side cafes offering pleasing views and tasty food.
Other than roaming around the town and watching The Ganga flowing endlessly you can go for trekking. There are some treks to nearby waterfalls and Neelkanth. Neelkanth is around 20 kms from rishikesh and is known for its religious importance. As per hindu mythology Lord Shiva consumed poison evolved during Samudra Manthan (which was done for obtaining nectar from sea), placed it in his throat because of which his throat turned blue in color and hence this place is call Neelkanth (Neel signifies blur color of poison and Kanth means throat). We took a cab to Neelkanth. On the short journey we captured some nice views. Taxi to Neelkanth can be booked from taxi stand near Swargasharam — it is the area on the other side of Ram Jhula. Full cab charge 1000 INR for return trip. Generally round trip takes around 3 hours depending upon road condition and time spent at Neelkanth temple.
So if you are stressed out and looking for a break from your busy routine, plan a visit to Rishikesh. It is only 240 kms from Delhi and can be reached by car or bus. If you prefer train ride, Haridwar is the nearest station.
I experienced tranquility and peacefulness of mind , its time for you to explore !