The urge to do something on the Valentine’s day and to utilize the weekend pushed the plans for this trip. Having the fear to do all by oneself and along with a few other fears in the subconscious mind, the excitement and curiosity overpowered the phobias. An early morning cab to the railway station with puffy eyes (specially when we are not used to waking up this early these days) embarked the journey.
The view of the station constituted a big crowd, everyone was rushing here and there with huge luggage, the tea stalls were packed, amidst all this, we sort of managed to find the coach and platform where we had to wait for our train. Two-three cross checks were made as usual to ensure that we are standing at the right place. The train arrived and the six hour journey began. The food served there was just bearable and since we had our snacks packed with us, it was easy to pass the time. Upon arrival at the Haridwar station, we boarded a local auto/tempo to our Rishikesh hotel. That one hour ride was windy and our hair were complaining of dust but the soul was pretty satisfied as the views outside were just remarkable and peaceful. While reaching the hotel which was located at the outskirts, we decided to explore the local cuisines at the nearby restaurants. As the local commutation in Rishikesh is not that upto the mark, the nearby places also appeared to be a bit far. Rajasthani restaurant offered us some amazing desserts like rabri, etc. and the entire meal was very scrumptious, also because we all were hungry!
With some energy extracted from food, we headed towards Triveni Ghat. The Arti, the sun falling on the water droplets, the beautiful Orange sun setting in front of us, the divine fragrance of kapur, the brightness from diyas all over around, everything was absolutely overwhelming.
Time just stopped at that moment for all of us. It was a deadly combination of nature and spirituality. I can go on and on to explain that evening but words may become short.
Rejuvenated and energised, we all went towards our hotel back for a sound sleep. The next day didn’t start as early as expected, all thanks to Ola Outstation ditching us at 6am! We left for Neelkanth Temple via hotel provided cab, the ride was super bumpy and breathtaking as the turns in the hilly patches scared us a bit.
According to Hindu mythology, the place where this temple currently stands is the sacred location where Lord Shiva consumed the poison that originated from the sea when Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) churned the ocean in order to obtain Amrit. This poison that emanated during churning of the ocean made his throat blue in color.
After following the rituals there, we went to a nearby dhaba and had aloo and gobhi parathas (they were damn spicy but I liked the tea). Coming back from there, we went to Lakshman Jhula (I was not scared while walking on it as it was not swinging much that time may be). But yes the co-tripmates wanted to cover the bridge walk at the earliest because they were frightened badly. We started exploring the nearby cafes, markets and small temples. We also went to Tera Manzil Temple, a multi-storey temple located on the banks of river Ganga in Rishikesh. Also called as Trimbakeshwar Temple, this holy shrine has 13 storeys and each storey has several idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The view from the top was worth climbing the stairs. The local streets were full of handmade bags, chappals, cafes, tattoo makers, yog ashrams, priests all around and beautiful offerings of clothes.
Then we headed towards Honey Hut cafe, the ambience was great and I loved the decor. Pizzas, shakes and pasta were tummy satisfying. It was a nice place to chit chat amidst all noise outside.
With such heavy brunch, we decided to walk towards our hotel. The Rishikesh streets are full of traffic, are noisy and polluted, couldn’t find much difference with that of Delhi ones. But as the views are spectacular around, we can adjust with the noise, especially when we’re Delhites.
By the time we reached the hotel, it was dark and after some time, we decided to go to a nearby tea stall and we enjoyed the ginger tea, maggi and butter bun. The amazing cold breeze elevated the taste of everything and we all just enjoyed the whole moment in peace there.
The next day was kept for relaxation and exploring the nearby areas. We went to Neem Beach which was hardly a ten minutes walk from the hotel. It was the most calm and serene place so far, I loved playing with sand there. People were seen attempting river rafting though it’s banned legally there. The water was extremely chilled but all the tiredness and exhaustion just disappeared after putting feet in it. With a spectacular scenic setting in front of us and a stunning coral view, we all just engrossed ourselves in that ambience and enjoyed every bit of it in silence. In the early afternoon, we left for Har ki paudi, Haridwar as we had to catch our train in evening. Haridwar is a place where the unending faith in God transcends into the real space. Seeing numerous people taking bath or washing clothes in the river, it begins a war in the subconscious mind which is between faith in God and the practical approach. I’m not sure how to explain or convince so many people that it’s wrong to put such dirt in the river but the kind of conviction and the trust people place while doing this, is something where you feel helpless about or to argue against.
Nevertheless, after having some yummy rajma chawal, we boarded our train and post the midnight journey, we returned to our homes.
The highlights of the trip for me would be the mesmerising scenic views, the rock solid mountains, the amazing sunsets, the stunning combination of sun, sand and water, the lightened diyas, the divine Aarti, the reflection of sun rays into the water, the waves washing our feet and fading away and the most important – serenity silence 😊
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