Come with a plan, when you visit Rishikesh and see it going in the direction you never planned it to go.
I arrived rather happy to get away from the Delhi pollution on Diwali day and found I was stranded in the middle of the road. The destination I was going to required me to take the autorickshaw, but there just weren't any at sight.
“You will have to walk the distance. It’s Diwali!”
Just as I was about to walk it alone, a man on a motorbike came along and I hitched up with him to reach my destination.
Rishikesh is just one of those places you go when you want a ‘quick-fix spiritual high’ especially when you don’t have the time to bathe your spirit in a long adventure inside. Call it the ‘beach bum’s’ easy route to ‘An-Lighten-Mint-Tea’, Rishikesh offers a complete spiritual bath in 24 hours! You may come with a head full of actions you need to take in the next 3 hours, but by the time you wake up in the morning, the next day, you will have forgotten every bit of what you were to do and in its place you find, that you are in deep relaxation, as if there is no tomorrow and nothing to do!
Quell that panic rising inside, let go and flow with the tide.
Rishikesh lies on two sides of the Ganga and both sides give you a gorgeous spread of sound, lights, market-place buzz and ample large doses of the spiritual. Two bridges, Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula connect the two sides of the bank of the Ganga and the constant flow of people, carts, animals, humans, scooters and motor bikes make it a busy passage, almost akin to the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata! On the other side of the bank, away from the main road lie ashrams for travelers who want to stay there and visitors too.
Come October, the place begins to crowd with what I have coined to call the ‘spiritual junkies’, meaning to describe people who will lap up anything – books, ideas, yoga, nature cure, indeed anything alternative, including dope which is abundant in the locality, with the dhatura plant growing wild around.
Yet, Rishikesh is the land of the ancient sages. It carries in its heart years of meditation and silence. It is one place where every sage has had their stay and many have meditated there. It is a destination which is not only known for the ‘other-worldly’ pursuits, but also for this worldly desire. Adventure Sports; mix with yoga and naturopathy, the ordinary coexist with the extraordinary to make it the most quintessential spot closest to Delhi, India.
For the one who rejoices in body, there is an abundance of ways to pamper it; for someone, who believes that the body is but a boat that carries the soul from one side to another, you have the ferry service at Ram Jhula, which takes you directly to Parmatma Niketan, or the abode of God.
But the best of all however, is to cross the bridge from a state of desire to a state of emptiness.
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