Land of the gods

September 2017

By Nandini Hoon

Filled with incredible scenic beauty, spiritual fervour, and exciting cafes by the Ganga, Rishikesh is an eclectic blend of Indian and Western influences, says Nandini Hoon

Rishikesh is an enigma, seated on the banks of river Ganga. For millions of years this small town has been home to generations of  seekers, masters and commoners, giving it its unique character. It is here that you will meet people from all walks of life; right from the Silicon Valley techie to the seeking mystic thronging the by-lanes. A beautiful blend of Indian culture and spirituality, and the magic of Western influence, Rishikesh serves as a gateway to relaxation, rejuvenation and a revival of your inner being.

Surrounded by the majestic Himalayan range, Rishikesh is paradise for yoga-enthusiasts and spiritual seekers who want to learn modalities like reiki, pranic healing and meditation. The sight of cool, soothing mist travelling from the mountains and passing over the pure waters of the Ganga leaves the visitors mesmerised. The Ganga serves as a meeting point for seekers, explorers, writers, thinkers and mystics who immerse in her beauty. Rishikesh is also a hub for organic vegetables which lend the rich local cuisine, authentic flavours. Travellers can relax and refresh themselves at the many small eateries, which serve the best of Indian and Western cuisine. Further, the market here offers a variety of fashion choices from traditional to Western wear.

A hearty adventure

Rishikesh serves as a centre point connecting travellers to destinations like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Harsil, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Uttarkashi, Joshimath, Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Tungnath, Chopta, Hemkund Sahib, Dehradun, including hill stations like Mussoorie, Dhanaulti and others. It is an adventure lover's haven where rafting, paragliding and trekking are regularly organised. The rafting camps at Kaudilaya and Shivpuri serve delicious food too including vegetable Maggi, a much loved treat by locals and travellers alike.

Tucking in warm, freshly cooked lentils soup, rice and vegetables at local dhabas is very nourishing for travellers traversing the long routes to Gangotri and Kunja Puri, in the Himalayas.

A quick visit to Tehri Dam or even the shrine of the mother Goddess at Kunjapuri offers nature lovers a treat. The sight of the hills covered in a blanket of mist and fog,  cool winds amidst rainfall, rallies of turbaned bikers on their way to Hemkund Sahib, with yellow fluttering flags on their bikes, never fail to mesmerise the onlookers.

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