“There are 3 types of travelers in the world. One that travels while on a business tour, the other with first-aid box and a map, while the third traveler is the one who packs the bag with a tooth brush and paste.” said a friend.
Traveling to me is discovering. My trip to a tapri is as enriching as to a forest. I seek ‘novelty’ factor. Very rarely, a place have already visited excites me. But this journey was different. May be because I was going with the flow …
My first trip to Rishikesh
Went on a bus to Rishikesh, 5 hours of bumpy ride. Must have reached at around 6am. Once there I saw the Ganga flowing green and pure for the first time in my life. I was mesmerized by its sheer purity. As I walked on the streets of Rishikesh, sun welcomed me with its rays.
I knew very little about this place hence my eyes were rejoicing the sanctity of this place. Slowly, the city unwrapped itself. People and animals made their way. Animals and humans co existed peacefully.
‘Sab Milega’ the two words that pull tourists in hefty numbers, day in day out. Yoga class, Hindi speaking class, cooking class, music class you name it and get it. Restaurants some fancy others not so, try and serve the tourists with pancakes, fruit salad to nutella etc.
My friend wanted to buy some ganja that is grass a form of drug which is readily made available to tourists by the sadhu babas. They also serve you bhang which is an elixir of cannabis. Liquor is prohibited including non-vegetarian food. Though, tourists serve the sadhu babas with liquor to please them when required. Ask the sadhu babas if it’s appropriate to intake drugs? Pat comes the reply, “Lord Shiva consumed ganja.”
Another, service they are secretly offering to tourists is sex. Bizzare as it may sound you will find some tourists even living in a tent on the streets of Rishikesh.
There are number of small restaurants, we chose to go to the German bakery. Had some cakes and banana milkshake.
Second trip to Rishikesh
It was the festival of colours Holi and I and my friends decided to get together and head to Rishikesh the previous night itself. We took a local bus from Noida to Kashmiri Gate. All along the way, we played holi with colours. Passengers were baffled seeing colours all over our face. We tried to take the cheapest bus to Rishikesh. But we could not find one, so we opted a bus going to Haridwar at Rs139. Once reached Haridwar, we were fortunate to have got a lift in a car from another co-passenger in the bus we commuted.
We started our day with a hot cup of tea and headed to Last Chance, a cottage near the Beatles Ashram. One of my friends took me to the Beatles Ashram. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram is popularly known as Beatles ashram after the renowned music band Beatles stayed in the ashram. The ashram is one of the factors that pull tourists to Rishikesh to huge numbers. We paid a nominal price to enter the ashram. There are several domes with attached bathrooms. The ashram is at present in ruins with no maintenance at all.
The 6:45 pm Ganga aarti is a must see. Students from Parmarth Ashram recite songs for half hour paying homage to the river Ganga and Shiva.
Later in the evening we headed to Freedom Café a small pub which serves mix of Indian and other countries cuisines.