A State of Tranquility – Maneuvering through Rishikesh
Vacations can be a drab and dull time, with nothing but a television series to devote one’s attention to. I broke free from this routine by deciding to pack my bags, and ticking off one of the many places on my bucket list.
Rishikesh, a tiny hill station located in the foothills of the Himalayas, along the banks of the Holy Ganges river, is primarily known as a pilgrimage site. This is a popular misconception, and anybody who has visited Rishikesh will agree with me. Also known as the ‘Yoga capital’ of the world, Rishikesh is one of the top ten adventure sports destinations in the country. With the Ganga gushing out of the mountains at a ferocious velocity, you get to experience euphoria and thrill like never before.
As you enter the Garhwali terrain, you can see numerous jeeps shuttling rafts and boats around. It was this sight that made me feel that Rishikesh was so much more than just a destination for holy trips. While few foreigners could be seen meditating, a considerable portion of the crowd indulged in adventure sports. Rishikesh also lives up to its tag of being a spiritual destination, with the Ganga Arati being a sight to behold.
Popular destinations in Rishikesh
Arguably the most exciting part of one’s visit to Yoga Capital, river rafting is the primary source of attraction for all adventure loving people. Rishikesh is home to the Ganga’s purest waters, before they get contaminated while rushing through the plains. The gurgling river water, spouted by the Gangotri glacier, provides the perfect river rafting atmosphere. The rugged setting offers some gargantuan rapids, ensuring your adrenaline levels are well in excess of the normal limit. The best time for this adventure sport is during the post-monsoon season, when the river is nourished and full. Avoid rafting during the December, because other than possessing a strong resistance to intense cold, one cannot be faint-hearted while trying to conquer these falls.
Lakshman and Ram Jhula
This architectural wonder has a deep religious history. It is believed that Lord Lakshman once crossed the River Ganges at this location, using only jute ropes. Hence, you shall see people rushing here in large numbers to offer their prayers to Lord Lakshman. One of the prime tourist attractions of Rishikesh, the bridge connects the village Tapovan to Ponk. A similar iron suspension bridge, called Ram Jhula, is built two kilometers away from the Lakshman Jhula. It emanates a certain vibe which makes it seem attractive even to the most non-religious people.
The Beatles Visit
The iconic band ‘The Beatles’ visited this quaint Garhwali city in 1968. Their visit is marked by their place of residence, which is popularly known as ‘The Beatles Ashram’. This popular tourist destination is very close to a popular 60’s cafe, whose coffee is simply too good to miss!
Rajaji National Park and The Ganga Arati
Nestled in the Shivaliks, this national park is a treat for the eyes. Home to various flora and fauna, the National Park is one of my top spots to visit in Rishikesh. It would be nothing short of a crime to visit Rishikesh and not experience the Ganga Arati. As you bustle across the Ram Jhula to Triveni Ghat , you can see thousands of saints, all lost in deep penance. Despite the commotion and crowd, sitting down along the banks of the Ganga is extremely soothing and calming, as if the waters of the river had transported you to a world of your own.
Featured Image: Divya Sinha