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Rishikesh: The land of thrilling adventures and beauty of 'Ganges'

  

A pleasing, gratifying and a green holy city in the foot of the himalyas which remains indistinguishable every time you are here. I decided to explore it once again for a pacific vacation.

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Since it had to be a calm and peaceful vacation away from the pervade of my city Sunday evening it was when I decided to leave. With an effortless and convenient transport in Delhi, it was just a matter of time when I boarded a Volvo for Rishikesh. The 240 km journey never looked weary in the hours of darkness. The distance was covered with a blink with some good food on the way.

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Early morning, the sun was still under the sea and I walked through the streets of Rishikesh to the famous Triveni Ghat along with several monks and locals who bathe in the holy water before the sunrise. You will find the ghat crowded at anytime of the day and every time of the year. The moment was divine when the Sun hits the Ganges, the dark water becomes the flowing light and everyone on the ghat perform the namaskara to the sun and the holy Ganga, the river which gives them everything. It is believed by the inhabitants that the river has performed supernatural and mystical miracles; the holy water can cure you with the worst of disease. Sitting there and watching the Sun crawling over the water, the eyes never wanted to blink.

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Camping is what I wanted to do the next, over 300 camping servers and one which I had to pick. A native told me about the camp Hideaway, which seemed to be in some corner of the world by his words and I left for their office in Tapovan, famous for the Lakshman Jhula. The camp was 22 kms from Tapovan and I hired a two wheeler for the next 24 hours. The camp includes your rafting, mountain trekking, meals and the tents. A cheap affair and I left for the camp. Driving on the mountains gives you an acoustic and prodigious experience and so was mine, with the Ganges on one side and the mountain on the other I never wanted an end to the road. Somehow, after a dozen references I found the camp and yes, it was in some corner of the world people were unaware off.

The Splendid beauty of Rishikesh was glancing in the camp. The place with no electric connect was something special. 60 big and small tents and I decided to choose the one nearest to the river. A long walk in the camp and I found the options of volley ball, badminton, swimming and meditation in a peaceful environment. A good breakfast and the guide was ready to take the group for the trek along the river. The 2 km trek to somewhere near Mohan Chitti gives you everything you look for in the nature. Following the Ganges with some incredible species of trees and flowers with some difficult rocks to climb is an adventure of a lifetime. The 2 km long trek was over when we reached a lake not known to anyone. This was the place why the camp was so far. Swimming in the water as deep as 60 feet with the lifejackets on was a nervous experience but a memorable one. The soul stirred when the guide climbed a mountain and then jumped into the lake. The cliff was 30 feet up and if you are up there the only way out is to fall in the lake. The cliff from the lake looks very different from what it is from the top. All my nerves were tight, heart beat was at the top gear and the only option was to jump. Look at the sky, smile and let go. The mind was silent, heart was relaxed and the life was easy, the feeling when you come out of water. To overcome my fear I decided to go again on the cliff but the sentiments were same afraid, fearful and frightened. This adventure would defiantly be in the core of the cerebrum. A well spent 2 hours at the lake and a walk back to the camp for the luncheon.

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A good meal followed by the famous Lemon Ginger honey Tea of the hills made me sink and lie down in the tent. Kayak, is what I found next and started sailing in the shallow water since there was no guidance, after struggling for an hour volley ball on the river side was what I opted for and joined the group. Playing on the holy sand with the nature surrounding you is no less than meditation. The starry night was now showing itself and it was now time to freshen up and engage you with music on the lonely planet and the snacks. Cool breeze, potato wedges, music and a beer is perfect combination to feel your soul from within. Again the time was furious to run away, 120 minutes were through: dancing, laughing and admiring the grace of the ‘Land of Ganges’. The Exotic dinner was now waiting and Lanterns are all what you have in the camp for the visibility. A rich vigorous food and a lemon drink made the supper out of the ordinary. The chicken cooked in the Garhwali fashion made sure that I eat my fingers along. Heavy meal, a walk again into the dark and I was all set to sleep on the river side in my pergola.

The day was full of surprises and I was waiting for what this serene terrain has for me when I wake up. The birds, wind and the river rouse you which are like the morning bells. The morning is quiet and a rinse in the water gets you ready for what is up next. I did my breakfast and started my ride towards Bhrampuri, the start point of the rafting. 9 kms on the raft in the lethal water was waiting. The rafting in Rishikesh is a must and attracts tourism from all the parts of the country and beyond. We received instructions from our guide and were set to march. Instantly a rapid called the roller coaster was hit and the wave of water from over us made us feel the nature of this water. The heart was excited and afraid, it wasn’t simple but we have to overcome it. In the 9 kms rafting we crossed 5 rapid waves which gave us in and out but has given us a reminiscence of a lifetime. The jumps from the raft in the running water were remarkable. A halt at the famous maggi point allowed us to recover our breath. Tea and maggi is an obligation at this point and this savor is nowhere else. Again a halt somewhere near the basin and this was a jig from the cliff again. 20 feet jump in the running water, deep breath and nerves hold tight, it was again one hell of an adventure. The destination was Rama Jhula, and we were now there leaving behind all the hardships.

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The time seems to be in a hurry whenever you are on a vacation, 2 days and one night was all I had here and few hours were in my hand. The Bunging Jumping in Rishikesh is considered to be the highest in Asia, this is what I wanted to experience next. 15 kms ride towards the mountains and through the forest was a standalone Bridge prepared for the jump. 83 meters high and anyone would be excited though afraid to see the spot. The fortune was not in my favor and I had to return, the season was finished. This is a place where you will want to return and I decided to come back here and compete with my fear. To wander on the streets of rishikesh is something you would never want to miss. I returned my vehicle in Tapovan and was determined to walk through the streets. You will find people from all over the globe strolling in the market. The market on both the sides of the Lakshman jhula is full of activity throughout the day. The religious market keeps you engaged in the artistic stores around you. A good walk on the Lakshman Jhula, feeding the fishes and looking at the imaginative work of people here in the stores. Into the sudden afternoon it was now time to find the best place for a meal. From vegetarian Dhaba’s to elegant cafes everything was available in one basket. Freedom Café was where I wanted to go. On the bank of river ganga under the Giant lakshman jhula was the café. As the name suggests, freedom is what you have here. With no policies enforced, people come in here and eat what they want to, drink what they want to and smoke what they want to. “Freedom of living” the inspiring phrase on the doorway. I decided to eat the special freedom sandwich with a classical Mojito. Low psychedelic music and some beautiful people all around I wanted to sit there watch the Ganges and hear the music for long.

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Taking away some magical moments with me it was now to time to say goodbye to the “Land of Ganges”. On the bank of this beautiful river admiring the goddess Ganga I performed the final namaskara and was grateful for what all has been given by her, for she makes this land divine. Everything yet again was happiness. The delightful moments in Rishikesh will now be forever in the soul. There is something for everyone here; it is just the perspective you look into it with.

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From the Char dham yatra to climbing the high hills of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is the perfect halt for a day to feel the nature and get yourself amused for further beyond. The untouched land of Uttarakhand or “Dev bhoomi” (Land of God) is yet unexplored. The hidden gems of this state have sites which will be cherished for the entire life. It was just Rishikesh, which is just the beginning.

From the best hill stations around the world to the historical temples, from some highest peaks to the exotic valleys and from the greatest rivers to the heavy forests an excursion on this divine land is an obligation.
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