Buddhaful Britt

C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day

Nomadic Nirvana: Rishikesh India

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Copyright BuddhafulBritt 2016

Somehow, as I travel to remote locale’s around the globe, I end up surrounded by drum circles, yoga, and hippies. I must send that gypsy vibe out to the Universe… or maybe the planet is filled with so many of us that we tend to gravitate towards one another?

Rishikesh India is one of those unexpected surprises which grab hold of your soul and won’t let go.

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Maybe the traveling spirits before me, such as the Beatles, have discovered this perfect gem of a village… but I had never heard of the self proclaimed “Yoga Capital or the World” until the bus dropped us off in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Manpreet and I had our wedding in New Delhi, and we were looking to get out of town for some relaxation. His cousin Prince had mentioned white water rafting down the Ganges river, which I found an odd anomaly in India, but nonetheless my ears perked up at the sound of any kind of adventure.

Getting out of Delhi was my only goal; I desperately needed a road trip. On this excursion, we ventured north towards the borders of China and Nepal, but it is only now that I realize… maybe I was called there?

We yoga-loving Americans, envision spirituality permeating every aspect daily life in the mother-land; as if we are on a journey to replicate our own “Eat, Pray, Love” documentary… much of India, however, does not fulfill that fantasy.

But Rishikesh? This was the place of my dreams.

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I had been searching for a place to stay in Haridwar, the city of temples, when I found a deal on a hotel called “Ganga Beach Resort” in Rishikesh for $38.

Manny said Rishikesh was only 15km away and was a much better place to stay, but that’s all he said. He failed to mention that I would fall in love with the village.  No.   My wonderful husband is not a seasoned traveler, so these details elude him.

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The bus from Delhi was an interesting adventure in and of itself, complete with a pervert taking pictures of female passengers and Manny having to “relocate” said pervert to avoid the police being called. There were fleas on the 5 hour bus ride, no bathroom, and only one pit-stop somewhere along a rural highway. The bus was air-conditioned and quite “normal” otherwise.

We drove through Haridwar, and it became apparent there wasn’t much the city had to offer besides a few temples lining the Ganges, and a sky-tram up a mountain to a temple at the top. It was stuck in the back of my mind to at least stop for a visit on the way back to Delhi, though. Which we did.

I’m not the kind to just pass up the chance to say “I’ve been there.” Ya know?

Our arrival in Rishikesh was a major contrast to the hot, desert-like feel of long the drive. The Himalaya mountains start here, and there is a slower more relaxed pace almost instantly.

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We took a rickshaw to our “beach resort” which had an impressive entranceway down a narrow, steep, zig-zagging path. The hotel itself seems pretty amazing at first, but leaves a very blah taste in your mouth after staying a few days. It was not horrible, but also nothing much to elaborate on.

The highlights of “The Ganga Beach Resort” were the view, and the price. Later, we found out that the location of the hotel was on the “wrong” side of the river.

The restaurant at the hotel was mediocre at best, and all of the “cheaper” rooms are on a steep cliff; there are several flights of stairs to get to your room. The “free wifi” listed on their website was ONLY in the lobby; a three story walk down the mountain from our room.

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If you are looking for small, winding streets, with shops, a walkable village, vegetarian restaurants, and Yoga-galore… then you would want to be on the opposite side of the river, via an BEAUTIFUL foot bridge which crosses the Ganges.

Cars and rickshaws must stop to let off passengers, where you are then led down a narrow mountain street lined with shops to the foot bridge.

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This town rolls up the sidewalks in the evening, so you want to be on the east side of the river, near restaurants and people… at least I do.

The east side is where everyone gathers for sunset, plays drums, and mediates. There is a white sandy beach where people hang out… hookah bars, coffee shops and lots,  AND LOTS, of yoga.

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This is also a “dry town,” meaning there is no alcohol for miles so plan ahead and bring your own… weed, on the other hand, did seem plentiful though… if that’s your thing.

As luck would have it, we were in Rishikesh for the Indian festival of Holi, and grateful to have a place to stay at all because everything was sold out. The Ganga Beach Resort was not bad… but I would do some more research next time, with decent hotels ranging from $30.-$70. across the river where the action is.

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Holi, had been on my bucket-list since I was in high school, and I couldn’t believe I was so lucky to get this experience with my son..in India! My expectations were rather low, since I had been hearing that it is more of a “religious celebration” in India than the “rave-like” party celebrated in various locations around the world.

Trust me on this, Rishikesh did not disappoint:

Holi is known as the festival of colors, and symbolizes the beginning of Spring. It is held the day after the full moon in March when the entire country throws colors on each other in a general atmosphere of playfulness. There are several Hindu variations to the story, but generally it is a time to let loose, and enjoy.

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The outdoor adventures around Rishikesh are abundant, such as bungee jumping, zip lining, himalya hiking, camping, cliff jumping, and white water rafting down the Ganges River. Most of the tours are relatively inexpensive compared to other places I have travelled, and seemed to be European owned with high safety standards.

Prior to Rishikesh, my impression of the Ganges River, or Ganga as my nephew liked to constantly point out, was that of the dirtiest river on the planet.

Haven’t you heard about how disgusting the Ganges River is your whole life?

I am sure maybe further south, where bodies are cremated for burial, the river may not be suitable for swimming. BUT, I assure you… this fresh, crisp Himalayan run-off was the most beautiful water I have ever seen.

It was insanely clean and crystal clear. We jumped from cliffs, swam in the river, and even had a taste of the enchantment the river holds.

To me, the Ganges was truly as magical as the anchient stories say. .

Rishikesh is one of those rare locations where I crave spending a lot more time. I left a piece of my soul there… and DYING to return. Even my ten year old son, Cairo,  says he wants to buy a home there so he can own a piece of heaven.

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This is THE place where Americans envision “finding themselves” at an Indian ashram or retreat. The atmosphere is laid back and filled with love; an hour long massage only cost about $20 with the sounds of the river to ease your stress.

This village should be on everyone’s list at least once in their lifetime.

There is no doubt something magical is happening in Rishikesh… It draws you in, and won’t let go.

Subscribe to BuddhafulBritt.com for more Nomadic Nirvana

Namaste.

For more stories in the Gori and the Sikh category, click—> HERE

Read about “My Indian Boyfriend “—>HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Indian Astrology —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: The Dress —> HERE

Surviving Long Distance Love—> HERE

Open Letter to my Husband—> HERE

Our Honeymoon, Rishikesh India—> HERE

Fiance Visa Process—> HERE

US Embassy Interview—> HERE

Journey to New Delhi—> HERE 

First Trip to Jaipur India —> HERE

Our First Diwali—> HERE

Giving Thanks, Shukryia  —> HERE

Being Sikh in America—> HERE

The Indian Grocery—> HERE

A Path to Happiness—> HERE

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32 comments on “Nomadic Nirvana: Rishikesh India

  1. lukewedwards
    April 18, 2016

    Nice post, sounds like a really amazing trip.

    Like

  2. Britt
    April 18, 2016

    Reblogged this on Nomadic Nirvana.

    Like

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    June 1, 2016

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    June 17, 2016

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  17. Mallee Stanley
    July 2, 2016

    How did your son react to India?

    Like

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  22. Himadri Negi
    January 9, 2017

    I read so many blogs on Rishikesh – this is my favorite so far! I am from India and Rishikesh is definitely my favorite place ❤ I go there 2-3 times a year and I plan to write about my experiences in Rishikesh soon.

    I wrote my first blog on Dubai, do give it a read and suggest me if I should improvise before I start writing about Rishikesh 🙂

    Thanks in advance!

    Like

    • Britt
      January 9, 2017

      Thank you so much for reading! Rishikesh is on my mind frequently. I hope to return sometime very soon! I’m happy to hear you love it as well.

      Like

      • Himadri Negi
        January 10, 2017

        I shall write about Rishikesh soon and you can get some more information on the places you could visit the next time you are there.

        Like

      • Britt
        January 10, 2017

        Fantastic! Please let me know!

        Like

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