If Haridwar is the holy city, then Rishikesh is considered the Yoga city. Rishikesh is one of the names of Lord Vishnu which means “Lord of the Senses”.
Rishikesh is just 16 kilometres and half an hour away from Haridwar, yet the differences between the cities cannot be exaggerated. Haridwar is a city for the religious tourist whereas Rishikesh is for the spiritual tourists. It is, but does not seem to be as commercialized as Haridwar. Its very green and beautiful and the large number of Ashrams that dot the city make it seem a very calm and serene place for the spiritual seeker. I could see why the Beatles lived here and enjoyed their stay in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram. The flavor of the season, in India atleast, is undoubtedly Baba Ramdevji. He also has a huge campus here and he has set up his enterprise here that churns out herbs and ayurvedic medicines reaching out to most of Urban India.
This being one of my earliest photography expeditions, the snaps seem to be great examples of bad photography to me as I browse through them right now. Here are some of the ones I found the best though.
Check out the Yoga advertisement on the right side wall.
I was and still am squeamish about having a bath in a river. I, in fact wasn’t even ready to dip my feet into the river. I still haven’t figured out whether it is a result of my being agnostic or its a result of my usual disdain for convention.
A holy dip at the Triveni Ghats is considered to be very auspicious by many.
A view of the Tera Manzil Temple from beside the Laxman Jhula at Rishikesh.
White Water Rafting is a big sport in the area around Rishikesh. In fact many adventure sports like rock climbing, rapeling etc. draw a lot of tourists to Rishikesh. The Ganges is comparatively quite sedate by the time it reaches Rishikesh and so most adventure sports enthusiasts need to start from somewhere more upstream. But Rishikesh has many adventure sport facilities too. Here is one boat going down the Ganges.
The serenity of these streets though, is what struck me the most. It was a very peaceful and calm environment in Rishikesh. With the chirping of the birds and the Ganges flowing nearby, the environment all along the banks of the river was what attracted me most to this place.
Another wonderful treat at Rishikesh was having food at a restaurant called as Chotiwala’s. It had a special mention in my Lonely Planet and so I sought it out. The best part of having food at the restaurant was that they provided many different varieties of Thalis – Bengali, Gujarati, Rajasthani etc. – and everything was vegetarian – of course. I had a Bengali thali and liked it, though it wasn’t much different from the Gujarati one, except for the larger quantity of rice. More of it in the Foodie section though.