The Himalayan Paradise : Rishikesh
Are you the type who believes that life is incomplete without a little adventure? Are you bored of the monotony and monstrosity of life and all the exertion that life brings with itself? Are you tired of your boss shouting at you all the time? Only if I was talking about those “Telebrands ads” and not a place that can help you get rid of it all. The place that is being talked about here is Rishikesh. Located at the foothills of Himalayas on the banks of the holy river Ganges, Rishikesh is THE place to help you lose yourself to the beauty of nature and relax your mind, body and soul.
The town's name is very holy and pious as Rishikesh is the name of Lord Vishnu, also known as the “lord of the senses”. The town very well justifies its name as it won’t be wrong to call it the “lord of the senses” because of the sensual pleasure that one gets on arriving here. Rishikesh is well connected by road and railway to the various states of the country. The nearest airport is the Jolly Grand Airport which is at a distance of 21kms. As I landed in Rishikesh, I decided to give up on the luxuries of a hotel and go for camping instead, as Rishikesh is known for being the camping capital of the country. The joy that one gets on being surrounded by water and waking up to the chirping of the birds instead of an alarm clock is unparalleled.
My trip to this beautiful town started with my visit to the “Triveni Ghat”. It is as the name suggests (tri=three in Sanskrit), a confluence of three sacred rivers which are the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. It is believed that a dip in this ghat purifies the soul and washes away all the sins. The evening aarti/ the Maha aarti also take place at this ghat which is a mesmerizing sight to behold. Watching all the “diyas” floating on the water of the Ganges is a treat to the eyes and the senses. The ghat holds a high religious value among Hindus as the “Pinda Shradha is also performed here. After washing away my sins at the ghat, I headed towards the renowned “Ram Jhula” and “Lakshman Jhula”. It is difficult to tell one from the other as both are iron bridges built over the River Ganges. The only difference that I noticed between the two was that the Ram jhula is bigger than the Lakshman jhula but the latter being shakier than the former. It is said that Lakshman built the Lakshman Jhula to travel from one end of the river to the other. The iron bridge is the modern avatar given to it. The Ram jhula came in much later to compliment the other. The view that I got from the Lakshman jhula was breathtaking. I stood there and imagined myself to be alone on the bridge and enjoyed the cool breeze that was blowing my hair away. I noticed everyone bending down from the bridge and throwing something inside the river, on looking down I found huge number of fishes gathered beneath the bridge as people were feeding them. It was amazing to watch them crowd around every morsel of food thrown to them by the travelers. The distance between the two bridges can be covered on foot. One can also spot temples like “Terah Manzil temple” famous for its thirteen floors and the “Lakshman Temple” around the Lakshman Jhula.I made sure to go to the top floor of the terah manzil temple as it gave an amazing view of the surrounding beauty of the place. Being a lover of nature, it was cherry on top for me.
Terah Manzil Temple
I saved the rest of my trip for adventure sports as that was what I had come to Rishikesh for in the first place. So I decided against visiting any more of the spiritual centers and dedicated all my attention to adventure sports. The first on the list was river rafting as Rishikesh is the hub of white water rafting in India. If you are travelling to Rishikesh, then you must jump onto a raft and enjoy the tumultuous waters of the river Ganges. I opted for the 26kms package that covered most of the rapids. One raft was capable of seating 8 people and the guide. It was an amazing experience to be in the middle of the river and with the rapids coming in one after the other and knocking people off. After I was knocked off the raft in the middle of the rapid, to swim into the cold water was a delight in itself. The next on the list was bungee jumping. I was scared by the prospect for once but decided to go for it nevertheless. The drive to “jumpin’ heights” (located at Mohanchatti, near Rishikesh) was amazing as I noticed a great view of hills and the Ganges all along. As I reached the spot, my instructors who were all very professional instructed me on how to go about it. As the long elastic cord was being attached to my ankles, my heart began to beat faster than ever. The adrenaline rush that I experienced on jumping can never be put in words. What better than 83 meters of free fall and the feel of gravity. After the fall, as the cord started contracting I was smiling from ear to ear and was overjoyed by the success of my jump.
White water rafting in the Ganges
Cliff diving near Lakshman Jhula
The last on my list of adventure sports was cliff diving. There is a cliff located in the Brahmpuri stretch, just 2kms from the Lakshman Jhula. The average height of the cliff is around 20feets and the water below the cliff is mild. It is one of the must try adventure sports in the town. After jumping of the cliff once, I was so inspired that I went for another jump. The experience of jumping of the cliff was awe-inspiring. I was jubilated by the kind of end that I got to my trip to this wonderful town. By the end of the trip, my hunger for adventure was satiated and I was on seventh heaven.