India is full of beautiful places and one of them is Rishikesh – traveling here is always a delight! This place is a combination of natural and spiritual beauty. A divine river Ganga makes this place a holy place and surrounding hills makes it natural beauty. Rishikesh is always busy with tourists throughout the year especially during the rafting season. This place is also famous for the Yoga; there are so many yoga centers which are visited by foreigners frequently. There are many things to do here which I’ll be telling you later in the blog. Roaming around in the streets of Rishikesh is always fun. This city is a holy place; therefore, it’s a dry city which means you cannot find non-veg or alcohol here.
I had a recent visit to Rishikesh on 22nd April, 2017 by bike with my friend. We started our journey at around 2 AM from our office which is in Greater Noida. We decided to take the most common route which is like Delhi – Ghaziabad – Modinagar – Meerut – Muzafar Nagar – Roorke – Haridwar – Rishikesh for our journey. Route was smooth till Muzafar Nagar, but from this place to Roorke there is a lane without divider and consists of some bad patches. We took breathers during our journey and took our first long break at Haridwar. We reached Haridwar by 8 AM and decided to have a dip in the Holy Ganga.
This city is one of the famous holy cities of India and was our first destination during our journey. Har Ki Pauri is always full with pilgrims who come here for a holy dip in Ganga River. Evening arti of Ganga River at Har Ki Pauri is a must to see.
When we reached Har Ki Pauri, it was crowded with pilgrims. Without wasting much time, we decided to have a holy dip and then, go for a breakfast. We went to the Mohan Ji Puri Wale’s shop for the famous Puri-Chole and Halwa. This shop is always crowded and you can feel yourself lucky if you get a seat here. In Haridwar city, there are many temples but Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi temples are more famous. Both these temples can be visited by ropeway which in itself is an experience.
Har Ki Pauri: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KEXXPXCqTc
At around 10.30 AM, we started our journey towards Rishikesh and reached there by 12.00 PM. We booked a room in the Hotel Devaaya Palace which I myself found a budget hotel with all the basic amenities. This hotel is situated in the Tapovan, Laxman Jhula road which is a busy road. There is no restaurant in the hotel but it hardly makes any difference, since, there are lots of food shops nearby. There was a bike parking space inside the hotel which was good for me.
Link for hotel’s website: http://devaayapalace.com/contact_us.html
We were feeling tired so we went for a small nap before exploring nearby areas. We woke up around 5 PM and decided to walk around Laxman Jhula.
It is one of the famous attractions in Rishikesh. The view of Ganga River and the Ghats are just mesmerizing. Walking on the Laxman Jhula is an amazing experience. The Ram Jhula is also famous and gives the same experience as Laxman Jhula. Both the Jhoolas (bridges) are always crowded. The two Jhulas are pedestrian; therefore, scooters and motorcycles freely use them. You can easily tourists clicking photographs here. There are many Yoga centers nearby Laxman Jhula. You can easily feel the positive and spiritual vibes while walking through the streets or sitting on the Ghats in this city.
We spent some good time here on the Jhula, clicked some photographs and moved to the nearby famous temple called Tera (Thirteen) Manzil Temple.
It is known as Tera (Thirteen) Manzil Temple because of its thirteen floors. The temple is quite big and is a temple cum shopping complex. There are lots of god/goddess statues along with many stone/jewelry selling shops. The temple has a good view of Laxman Jhula and River Ganga from the top floor. There is a regular Ganga Arti in the evening which gives positive vibes. If you are nearby Laxman Jhula; don’t miss it.
Ganga Arti YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PWtUGYYmIY
We spent around 2 hours in this temple, then, we decided to take a walk till Ram Jhula. There are so many Yoga centers, Hotels, Restaurants along the street till Ram Jhula. Lots of foreigner tourists can be seen easily in this street roaming around. There is a famous Choti Wala Restaurant at Ram Jhula which is famous for its veg thali.
Little Buddha Café
While coming back from Ram Jhula, I noticed the famous Little Buddha Café, as I have read lots of reviews about the this café so we decided to have a dinner at this place. It was jam packed with foreigners but we did manage to find a table for two of us. It’s worth to try and find a table by edge of the terrace to have a wonderful view of River Ganga. I can’t tell about the food quality because we didn’t get our order even after waiting for 45 mins. So, I personally found this café foreigner’s centric and providing slow service. May be I will try this café again in my next tour.
So, this was all about our first day journey and we went back to hotel to get some sleep as we have to get up early in the morning for the famous activity in Rishikesh. Yes, you guessed it right!!! Water Rafting.
Day 2 – 23rd April 2017
We woke at around 6 AM and went a morning walk, it was an awesome weather. We had a walk till Ram Jhula once again and clicked some photographs. We already booked our rafting last night with Paddle Himalayas so we reached their office by 8.15 AM but because of some other fellow raft members our rafting started late. Oh! Let me tell you, that we were going for 26 KMs rafting which starts from Marine Drive. We paid 1000 INR each for rafting which was little high because of the weekend; it can go down to 700 INR in weekdays. So, always use your bargaining skills to book hotels or any other activity during your tour.
In Rishikesh, you’ll find lots of Rafting Camps and other water activities camps so you don’t have to worry about booking and all. Rafting is one of the famous water activities in this city along with the Bungee Jumping at Jumping Heights but for Bungee one has to give our around 3000 INR from his/her pocket.
By 10 AM, our Gypsy was ready to take us to Marine Drive from where we had to start our Rafting adventure. I along with my friend was excited and wanted to enjoy the moment at fullest. After reaching the starting point, our instructor asked us to wear the safety equipments like Life Jacket, Helmets and gave some tips about how to do rafting. There are around 10 rapids in 26 KMs rafting and these rapids are categorized into different Grade levels. It’s always fun when you cross rapids. Just a tip, if you want to enjoy the rafting and feel the real adventure; try to sit in front of the raft. Sometimes, raft just turns around in the rapids and throws you out in the water which is very normal in this activity so no need to panic because you are wearing life jackets. Just enjoy the moment!!!
Visit my YouTube channel where I have uploaded a video of Marine Drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tss5gq7J9d8
After all the instructions, we started our rafting. We had two instructors in our Raft which was good for us. They allowed us to do body surfing lots of time even in the rapids which was a life time experience. Trust me, just jump in the water as soon as your instructor asks if you want to have some fun in the water. The chilling water will just boast all your energy which consumed in Rafting. We were enjoying the rafting and were waiting for the thrilling Cliff Jump. We decided to go for the highest cliff jump which as per the instructor was of 35 Feet and yes, it was at a height. At last, we reached the jumping point and saw many people jumping in the water from the height. Me and my friend along with other raft members walk to the cliff top; however, I was scared after watching the height from top and decided not to jump but after boast ups from my friends, I closed my eyes and jumped into the water. It was simply WOW experience. There are many tea and Maggie vendors sitting nearby the cliff so after a jump we had a cup of tea with Maggie.
Cliff Jumping link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKv5sgZ-LV0
After 3 + hours of rafting, we reached at the end point which just next to Laxman Jhula and we were all set to go back to hotel. In couple of minutes, we reached our Hotel and decided to say bye to Rishikesh.
By 2 PM, we left the city and reached our home by 10 PM. We had some breaks during our journey which includes one of the famous Jain Shikhanji. Once again, one more memorable trip comes to an end.