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A Stroll Through Rishikesh

The cold water was embracing my body. The hullabaloo in my mind was put to rest with every wave of scented flowers. I was amenable to this change. Just like clay on potter’s wheel. There was rhythm. There was music.

It was like a thread and needle piercing flowers one after another to form a beautiful garland. There was a pain but it all went away as if Thanos snapped his fingers to reduce the burden on the earth. My spirit felt freedom and I retrieved myself back on the surface of the Ganges to witness the sun rising with the mighty Himalayas in the backdrop.

Every deep breath I took, there was freshness. Not the freshness of morning river or the nature around me but the spirituality blossoming inside me with undisturbed calmness. I stepped closer to myself. I could see myself into a mirror in which I could enter and suddenly I was pulled back with a loud thud of an object jumping on the rapids shouting “HO HA HO HA” with oars in their hands.

Yes, I was in Rishikesh. A city which is considered dandy by many because of its growing popularity but once you step inside everything becomes surreal and deeper. Every year Rishikesh invites millions of travelers seeking adventure, serenity and purpose in their lives.

Here are my top five ticks to add in your bucket list while planning a trip to Rishikesh.

1. Meditate at Vashishtha Cave

The silence of the cave is the one which you cannot find everywhere. Vashishtha Cave in Rishikesh is the walk to nature and asceticism. It is an ancient cave where the son of Lord Brahma, Guru Vashishta meditated. A legend states that the sage was extremely depressed after losing all his children and decided to commit suicide but River Ganga didn’t allow him to die. He, therefore, decided to stay and meditate in the cave. When you reach near it, you’ll feel the eccentric energy swiftly touching you everywhere. It is the best place to acquire peace by going on a silent retreat.

2. Row with the Ganges

No Rishikesh trip is complete without a splash in the waters of Ganga. River rafting is a thrilling experience that you must do at least once in your lifetime. It offers the ability to get close to nature and celebrate companionship with your friends and family. Also, Rafting is indeed a good exercise. It improves your aerobic fitness, flexibility, and strength. Strong arms? I wouldn’t mind.

3. Channelize your Sacral Chakra at Ganga’s Beach and Beatles Ashram

The spiritual city has beautiful Ganga beaches and ghats to rest upon. They smell of incense sticks, the sound of mantras, and the sight of beauty. I sat there to visualize the best in me, penned down beautiful rhymes, and looked at my watch wondering how fast time flew away.

Another place to wind away your thoughts is the Beatles Ashram. In 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi visited this land for the first time. He was enchanted by the serene beauty of the place and requested the UP-forest department to lease him 15 acres of land overlooking the Holy Ganges. Later the ashram became a home for the Beatles where they composed many songs.

This abandoned ashram is a hub of art. As you take your first step inside, you’ll see the graffiti all around. It made me sing out loud, “ Here comes the sun doo dun doo-doo here comes the sun and I say it’s all right.” You don’t believe me? No? Hey! You are doubting something serious. Which is why you shouldn’t miss it.

4. Pack Sandwiches for Neer Waterfall

Whenever I travel back to the set of memories from my trip to Rishikesh, this particular paradise reminds me of the hymn that my friends and I used to sing in unison during morning assemblies at school. It goes like this, “There shall be showers of blessing, this is the promise of love;” This may sound weird but I feel I found my showers of blessing at the first sight of Neer Waterfall.

It is a spirit of happiness which flows gleamingly through the small stones. But when large ones come in their way, it cuts through them and moves swiftly. I sat there for hours sipping chai, listening to it closely. Nature really talks. So slow down, add this to your list, and enjoy simple pleasures.

5. Dance on the Bells at Triveni Ghat

Ganga Aarti has a very significant role to play in the lives of pilgrims and locals of Rishikesh. This ceremony is believed to be known for removing pain. Hundreds hurdle here with every sunset to bow down to the Ganges for nourishing the land, beauty and mother of our beloved country.

Dried leaves bowls arranged with flowers and a lightened lamp in the center is offered by the devotees to the river. They float on the pristine cradle of the Ganges and drums beat to sing the hymns.

I was enchanted by this breathtaking view. But my favorite part was when the harmonium and bells were played. My feet were hypnotized. They felt so light and danced without missing a beat. It gave me a chance to forget my worries. That night I was born again.

Rishikesh has added wonderful experiences in my life. Which I would carry all along with me where ever I go. Yes, it is surreal. Every spot, activity, and people of here have something to say and learn from.

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