Here’s how you can escape the city life and get an unadulterated ‘wind in the hair’ experience combined with a spiritual high!
11:00 am – River Rafting
Located 251.3 kilometres away from Delhi, Rishikesh is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas and on the banks of the Ganga.
As per the book ‘Sacred Sites of The World’ – the Ganga is born out of glacial melt in the high Himalayan mountains. From its source in the Gangotri to its assimilation in the Bay Of Bengal, it winds 2,500 kilometres through North India. According to the myth associated with her birth, Ganga was a divine maiden formed out of the water of the gods. King Bhagiratha prayed to Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation, to send her down to wash clean the cursed spirits of his ancestors.
The presence of the Ganges makes Rishikesh a great spot for adventure sports like river rafting.
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Eat and Pray
Once you have spent the day rafting consider a snack. Go to the Beatles cafè at Tapovan or one of the multiple chilled out restaurants by the Ganga in the LakshmanJhula area like Little Buddha Cafe , Royal Cafe and Pumpernickel German Bakery.
I loved the Reese ball with peanut butter and dark chocolate at Pumpernickel German Bakery. As I sip coffee and look out of the window, the multiple rafts dot the tapestry of the brown Ganges.
Further ahead I chanced upon a cave next to the Ganga where a Maharishi meditated for years. As I walk a few meters- in the dark – I am welcomed by the smell of fresh flowers, the warm light of dias and a shivling– stunning. It re-emphasises the fact that we get pure happiness from ourselves- not from others or materialistic pursuits.
There are many things to do in Rishikesh that help you attain a spiritual high. You can attend a yoga session at one the many Yoga Ashram’s there. Yes, Rishikesh is considered to be the Yoga Capital of the World for a good reason! Or how about attending the daily arati on the banks of the Ganga or while walking through the busy lanes of Rishikesh you can go to the famous Trayambakeshwar temple.
5:30 am Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park of India is nestled between the Shivalik ranges and the Indo-Gangetic plains and spreads across 202,630 acres of land. It is the second tiger reserve in Uttarakhand. Here I managed to spot three elephants and a heard of deer. Yes I did spot a pug mark- but that’s where my flirtation with the tiger ended! I started the day at 5:15 am from our hotel and the breakfast, the coffee did help during my 3 hour long safari!
11:00 am The Beatles Ashram
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is famous for the TM or Transcendental Meditation technique. It focuses on returning to oneself, and discovering one’s true nature. He established an ashram in 1961 across 7.5 hectares of forest land and The Beatles came here to practice TM in 1968. The trip proved to be one of their most creative periods and they wrote 48 songs here.
The ashram is not well kept but it’s beautiful and you can feel the energy that the space witnessed in the past.
The most noteworthy piece of architecture are the igloo shaped meditation rooms.
The kitchen and performance area have some stunning paintings and graffiti making the space Instagram worthy.
1:30 pm Roseate Hotel
After a hectic morning it is wonderful to decompress at the 14 bedroom Roseate Hotel. With it’s clean lines, shades of grey and black and it’s modern architecture – it provides the perfect balance to the age old traditional look and feel of the city.
A massage, a swim, a jog on the treadmill and some amazing food in the restaurant called Chidya Ghar is all you need to complete your fantasy of escaping the rigmarole of city living.
Chidya Ghar with Pandomo cement based flooring and satvario marble offers the peaceful view of the blue surrounded by the mountains and the Ganges.
If you are trying to eat clean- the Nainital born Chef will make sure you eat some locally grown organic produce- the only problem is that the food is so delicious you just might eat too much of it. As I get ready to sleep – my body feels a sense of spiritual lightness but my heart is heavy, because tomorrow it’s time to leave.
The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the quickest way to reach Rishikesh.