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4.20 

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A Wonderful Week in Rishikesh
Feb 23, 2007 10:03 PM 5010 Views

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If you don’t have time to go to far off places in Uttrakhand, you can still have good time at Rishikesh for all the experiences and can be sure to have good vacations. Rishikesh is easy to approach, provides closeness to nature, mountains view and trekking experiences.


If one is not looking for luxuries, it is suggested to stay at any of Ashrams of your choice. It’s different that you have 5 star ashrams also. Prefer to stay in ashrams on left bank i.e. Swarg Ashram side. From town side one can go to this side by boat. Boats are available near Ram Jhula. Alternatively if you have your own conveyance, just before entering Rishikesh there is a right turn to barrage. You can reach these Ashrams or hotels by this road. Landmark to take right turn is Koyal restaurant.


I prefer to stay at Parmarth Niketan, which has got its own marble-bathing ghat. You can enjoy early morning bath in chilled water of Ganga at 5 am or before and then can attend yoga classes/religious discourses. One can enjoy economical Indian breakfast at Geeta Bhawan’s sweet shop or can have continental breakfast at Green restaurant. Day can be used for visiting various temples, book shopping at Gita Bhawan or other ashrams. In evening do attend Ganga aarti at Parmarth Niketan ghat, even if you are staying at other places. Try to reach early to get place near the activity area.


Second day one can go for long walk from Ramjhula to Laxmanjhula. As you cross Ramjhula, you will come across natural Ganga banks with sand and rocks. One can have long bath/swim here but look for the safe place. Watch others before entering in water. This is lonely place and you won’t find many people around you. This is an Ideal place for meditation or sitting peacefully. Carry some fruits, which can be chilled while you are taking bath. Please carry back the waste and dispose at proper place. One will also come across other ashrams, kutirs etc. On return enjoy your lunch at famous Chotiwala restaurant. Keep evening free for bazaars and aarti.


Third day you can trek to Neelkanth Mahadev, which is around 12-14 km treks. Neelkanth is the place where god Shiva meditated after consuming poison, which had come out of samudra manthan but had no taker. It is a very good trek through forest area and many times people had come across elephants. If you are there in May, June start early to avoid hot sun during day. One can visit temple and have lunch at Neelkanth only. You can return back to Rishikesh by shared jeeps. This would be sufficient for the day.


Fourth day one can go up to Neelkanth by jeep and can trek further up to Jhilmil caves. It’s said that Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are meditating here in form of three sadhus. What ever may be the truth, but I had heard lots about this place. I don’t remember the distance, but one can easily come back to Rishikesh by evening. It’s a lovely trek and introduces you to steep climbs, villages, fields, green grounds and dense forest. Not many people go to this place and hence one can enjoy peaceful long walk. Because of lesser tourist, there are not many tea or eating shops. When we found one, we stopped for tea and also asked him about the lunch. He told that no such facility is there except back at Neelkanth mandir. I asked him to cook something for us as it will take 3 hours to come back to this shop but he refused on pretext that we may not like the food. I requested him to cook dal chawal and left only after his affirmation. When we returned hot food was ready, enjoyed by all of us. This man was not accepting money and took it after lot of persuasion. On the way we met a village boy, who told us that there are wild animals in this area. Jhilmil cave is again a beautiful sight. It seems that a mountain has been hollowed. There are staircases inside, which go up to a height and one can see sky through a big opening near the peak.


If you have another day to spare, go to Shivpuri for river rafting experience. Shivpuri is around 18 km from Rishikesh. Alternatively one can go to Rajaji National Park for seeing wildlife.


So one week in Rishikesh gives you experiences of trekking, rocky terrains, chilled Ganga, forest, satsang and tasty foods. What else one would look for?


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