Of Camping & Digital Detox by the Ganges…
To the time I actually broke up with Netflix, and chilled (in the true sense)…
The mighty mountains were howling,
Clouds shuddering and bolts falling,
I have to do this, I really need to,
It’s that one step closer to my calling…
And that’s how the icy soul and frosty feet
Tip-toed into the vastness of the Ganges!
The much-needed solo trip (that I had been longing to do for a while) happened in the lap of the Ganga nadi. It’s a trip that will always be dear to me, close to my heart, one that invoked emotions, pecked voices into my head, and calmed the turmoil within, making me analyze the ups and downs of life, the good and bad, the simplicity of nature, the true meaning of living, and, needless to say, unleash the writer in me, all over again… where I sat on a bed of rocks right at the bay, and wrote to my heart’s content.
Psst… Don’t forget to read ‘the Challenge’ at the end.
I doodled, scribbled, spoke, reflected, sang. I lived.
A Day by the Banks of the Ganga!
This is what a typical day at Rishikesh looks like:
- Wake up & go for a riverside stroll
- Hike around and breathe in some fresh air
- Walk across suspension bridges/jhoolas – explore
- Head to cafes or restos for meals
- Enjoy campfire and socializing
- Watch the Ganga aarti
- Explore ashrams
Handy tips for Rishikesh
- Decide the purpose of your trip
- If yoga or meditation is your aim, pre-book it
- Choose a rate at a property that includes all meals
- Carry your own music/speaker, hookah, books etc.
- Be prepared for sketchy network zones
- Stock up some alcohol and tuck
Things to Do at Rishikesh
For you, awesome readers, here’s what you can do at Rishikesh. Enjoy…
- Yoga Retreat: Rishikesh is the Yoga Capital of the World. If you want to imbibe the flavor of yoga or meditation, you could book a retreat in advance or head this side and walk into a workshop. There a lot of aashrams and centres that offers different types of yoga packages, workshops and teacher’s training courses as well.
- Devprayag: The point where two rivers meet. If you are willing to go the extra mile, head to Devprayag to watch the confluence of the Alakananda River and the Bhagirathi River.
- The bridges: Rishikesh is synonymous with jhulas, and there are two famous ones – the Ram Jhula and the Lakshman Jhula. These are good spots to view the Ganges from a vantage point, however, you should expect these tourist spots to be crowded.
- River rafting: A visit to Rishikesh isn’t complete without some whiter water rafting. Most of the properties offer rafting packages. The sheer thrill of rafting with your pack, braving rapids (and sometimes tumbling off the raft) is tempting enough to try out this adventure sport. Note that January and peak Monsoon months may not be the best time for rafting.
- Adventure Sports: You can indulge in a plethora of activities ranging from river rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, kayaking, zip-lining, trekking, body surfing, cliff diving and more.
- Temples: Go temple-hopping to beautiful ones such as the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Lakshman Temple, Hanuman Mandir, Bhootnath Temple, Shatrughna Temple, Triambakeshwar Temple etc.
- Ashram visits: Visit or choose to stay at ashrams for either yoga or meditation. Do check out the Beatle’s Ashram too (it’s Insta-worthy).
- Yoga and meditation: This is something that Rishikesh is known for. Pre-book a retreat or hop onto a class for a hands-on yoga experience.
- Café-hopping: Go café-hopping through your stay. Try out Beatles Café, Little Buddha Café amongst many others.
- Ayurvedic massage: If you haven’t had a good massage in a while, you’re at the right place. There are Ayurvedic massage centres everywhere. Go indulge!
There clearly is a reason why this breathtaking beauty makes me head back every few years. The perfect place for a complete detox!
- Rishikesh is barely a 1-1.5-hour drive from Dehradun.
- You could book a flight to Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport or simply drive down to Doon from Delhi or neighbouring areas. Rishikesh is just 30-40 minutes away from the airport.
- I stayed at Shivpuri, further up the main town centre of Rishikesh.
- For Shivpuri, add another 40-45 minutes.
- Note: The roads are being revamped and there is a lot of construction going on. Keep 30-40 minutes extra in hand for road-blocks.
Where I stayed:
I booked a Swiss Tent all to myself, at VNA Riverside Camp and Resort – a structured tent with an attached washroom.
- Swiss Tent double accommodation – I didn’t wanna share
- All meals and water
- Snacks and bonfire
- Hot water to bathe
What you need to know:
- There’s no Wi-Fi
- It’s on the other side of the bridge
- Don’t lug the luggage, ask for porter service
- There isn’t much to do around; nothing walkable
- Head here if you want to venture into nothingness
- Lunch = veg, dinner = non-veg (place a request)
- Airport pick-up, drop upon request
- Alcohol isn’t served
The best part is the private bay by the river, with glimmering white sand, clean shores and pure waters.
Just like every other trip or adventure sport, this too had a challenge, that I, most willingly, took up! I can’t tolerate the cold, but I decided to venture all the way up to Shivpuri, and survive the winter chill! Woohoo…
Thanks to layers (and layers) of fleece, Mom’s fuzzy shawl and warm socks, I felt like a stuffed sheep through the trip. Lol. But that’s what kept me warm (and alive).
Watching the aquamarine waters of Ganga had such a calming effect on my mind. It took me back to the days spent at Perhentian Islands where all that we would do was Scuba Dive, chill and write by the shore. All that you hear at night is the crashing of waves… as calming as it gets.
That’s how 2020 began for me! Staring the New Year with a lot stories to narrate, lots of things to do, endless places to discover, only to get back with a heightened sense of adventure.
Psst… Here’s a collage of the places I uncovered while hiking around…
Here’s to starting 2020 on a rather TRIPpy mode! 😀
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