Cradled in the lap of the mother Himalayas lies the vibrant city of Rishikesh. With so many Ashrams and yoga centers, it came to be known as the yoga capital of the world. The holy Ganga flows through its veins along which many temples are built, making it a very spiritual place. But there is another side to this city! The adventurous side!
One of the most important items in my 2018 bucket list was Bungee Jumping @Rishikesh. I once visited Rishikesh in July but all the adventure sports are closed during monsoon (around July 15- September 15). So, when it was time for my 3rd Himalayan trek, I made sure that it was close to this city.
The trip started on 2nd December. I started from Bangalore and reached Dehradun, The next day my trek began (Kedarkantha trek) and it ended on 8th when they dropped us off at Dehradun. My plan was to reach Rishikesh on the same day and to spend the next two days there, wandering the city alone. But during the
Starting with some blessing
On the 8th evening, we managed to make it to Rishikesh by 5 p,m and headed straight to Triveni Ghat to catch the famed Ganga Aarti. As the sun gracefully descended, the place got lit by the ceremonial Aartis that the Hindu priests were holding. The hymns in the background along with the hum of the river filled the air with a strong vibration that gave me goosebumps. Mesmerized, I stood there trying to take in everything.
After the Aarti, we went to Zostel where I bunked for the next two days. We checked in and freshened up in an hour, and decided to finish the day with the famous “special thali” of the Choti Wala Restaurant. With a happy tummy, we retired for the day.
My trek mates who came with me had booked tickets back home the next day and had only half a day in hand. Beatles Ashram seemed like the best option. After an hour’s walk, we reached there, an ashram that was in ruins amidst the forest. First to catch my eyes were the Stone Huts meant for meditation. Built in a very minimal way it had a room and a toilet for staying and an opening in the top where people can meditate. Most of the huts had a beautiful view of the mountains and the Ganga.
As we explored more of the Ashram, we saw a lot of amazing Graffiti, the reason for which Beatles Ashram got famous recently. Grasping the ambiance of this place, I really felt bad to see it in ruins and as a tourist spot. I wish it would go back into being a meditation center as it was meant to be.
When we came back from Beatles Ashram it was time to say goodbye to all my trek buddies and head for some adventure. River Rafting in the Ganges River for 16 km! With cold water splashing on my face and beautiful views around every corner, it was an accelerating experience.
The perk of staying in Zostel, other than its cool ambiance itself, is that they arrange almost everything there is to do in Rishikesh! All I had to do is to tell them that I wanted to go River Rafting.
This was the most awaited day of 2018! Because the most important bucket list item was due that day – Bungee Jumping! Freefall for 83 meters down a valley with a rope tied to your feet! The adrenaline rush you get when they count 3…2…1… for you to jump is just crazy.
Sorry for the picture clarity!! But this is all you can get from Jumpin Heights. It is better as video Click here to watch it. Jumpin Heights is the Company that does 3 adventure activities in Rishikesh: Bungee Jumping, Giant Swing and Flying Fox. You can do any one or go for its combo packs.
I chose Bungee Jumping and Giant Swing combo. While in Bungee jumping I went all blank when I fell, in Giant swing it was crystal clear. I felt like flying down the valley and till the next mountain. Personally, I loved the Giant Swing more than the Bungee Jumping itself. These two took half the day to get over. Click here to check out the Gaint Swing video.
For lunch I headed to my favorite cafe- The Little Budda Cafe and had some delicious food. The rest of the day I spent walking along the Ganga from Laksman Jhula to Ram Jhula, doing some souvenir shopping on the way.
When I returned to Zostel, they told me it was live music night. It turned out to be a soothing night, with some amazing music, cold breeze, hot chocolate and other travelers. Before I went to bed, I approached the reception to book a cab for the airport. I came across a sunrise point in the event list that they have and figured I had time for it.
Bye Bye Rishikesh!
At 4 a.m, I got into the cab that took us to Kunjapuri Temple. It was about an hour drive from Zostel. We climbed to the top by 5.30 a.m and waiting in the freezing cold for the sunrise. It happened only at 7 a.m. But when I saw the sun, slowly lighting up the skies is various shades before it came out, then finally peeking out from behind the mountains, the first rays lighting the gentle curves of the mountains, all the while the listening to prayers of the city that was waking up, the wait was worth it!!!
Reluctantly, I took a cab towards Dehradun Airport as it was time to leave. Rishikesh had become my favourite city yet, in just two days! With a happy heart, I promised myself to visit again to indulge in the other faces of the city.
- Stay at Zostel (3 nights in Dorm) – Rs. 933
- Beatles Ashram entry fee – Rs. 75 (for students, for others Rs.150)
- River Rafting – Rs. 500
- Videos and photos – Rs. 400
- Bungee Jumping and Giant Swing – Rs. 6500
- Video of both – Rs. 1200
- Transport and entry fee – Rs. 400 (Rs. 300 + 100)
- Kunjapuri Sunrise – Rs. 300
- Cab fare from Dehradun Airport to Rishikesh (or back) – Rs. 900
- *the rates are as of December 9 & 10 2018.
This city is a must visit for all the Adventure Junkies out there!!! For those who can stay longer be sure to explore various cafes for some amazing food and also try your hand at yoga.
What do you think? Does this city have a place in your bucket list? DO COMMENT AND SHARE!!!