Namaste Rishikesh, India

The Ganges River flows through Rishikesh, which is nestled at the Himalayan foothills. The area is a beautiful retreat from the many bustling cities of India. Its beauty and peaceful nature epitomize its reputation for yoga and meditation.

In addition to being known as the yoga capital of the world, its popularity for meditation is in large part due to an ashram built by Yogi Maharishi Mahesh.

Nestled in a Tiger Reserve, he taught the Beatles Transcendental Meditation in 1968.

They studied there for 6 weeks, writing many songs (18 of them were recorded on the White album). It has since been referred to as the Beatles Ashram.

It is no longer operating as an ashram and due to the wildlife, visitors are prohibited at night.

The spirituality of Rishikesh is one of its most beautiful aspects. Rishikesh is one of three locations in India where the Hindu Aarti ceremony is performed on the Ganges River each day at dusk.

Our hotel offered a complementary guided walk along the Ganges to Triveni Ghat.

A ghat is a set of stairs or a pathway to the Ganges.

While Aarti is a religious Hindu ceremony that can be performed anywhere, it is performed on the Ganges at dusk in three cities: Rishikesh, Hardiwar and Varanasi.

The city is replete with beautiful temples, statues and ashrams.

While we knew of its yogic and mediation reputation, we were not aware of how perfectly suited it would be for an array of other activities; it offers trekking in the Himalayas, bungee jumping, rafting, a safari and several other adventures that would provide good reason to extend our trip next time.

While we did not get to partake in all that Rishikesh has to offer, we were able to sneak in a walking tour of the city and a Ganges boat ride.

Before arriving, I had read many recommendations to avoid the urge to take a dip in the Ganges. This tradition is believed by the Hindus to wash away your sins, yet several people warned that the water was polluted and could make us sick. While I have no scientific basis for the decision, I can say that witnessing its beauty in person left no question. Our hotel offered a private ghat where we were able to take our dip. Truthfully, my only fears were either getting a bit chilly or slipping. It was a beautiful experience.

Two famous suspension bridges cross the Ganges in Rishikesh: Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula. These bridges are shared by many; mostly people, monkeys, and motor bikes.

Jhula is a Hindu word for bridge.

The monkeys run amok and are known to snatch anything remotely edible.

We were able to capture a few brief moments between playing Frogger with the motorcycles.

Aside from one rather sizable monkey brawl, we enjoyed watching the monkeys play along the bridges.

We were very happy with all of our adventures in Rishikesh. Our only regret is that we didn't have more time!

Created By
Sharlene Moore
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