I was tired and bugged up with the daily routine so when I got an offer to visit Rishikesh, like an eager traveler I lapped up the opportunity. I wanted to experience Rishikesh raw, so decided to give a miss to all the resorts and hotels and booked myself in the luxury tents named Aspen camps.
We booked ourselves in an overnight Volvo (would recommend you to opt for sleeper category). They give you a full berth to sleep but two words of advice:
a)One berth is shared by 2 persons, so book tickets in a pair of 2, otherwise you will end up sharing the berth with a stranger.
b)Please take a light blanket or woolen bed sheet otherwise the air conditioner will freeze you.
Early morning we reached Natraj Chowk in Rishikesh and from there we moved to Aspen camps, which were located in Pauri Garhwal region.
The location of the camp is awesome, it is located on the tributary of river Ganga and surrounded by mountains. The best part was, that one can reach the campsite after a short hike. I was totally mesmerized by the place. After ages, in the afternoon, I slept under a tree shade. I never felt the need of bed sheet, as the grass was very soft.
Once we were over with our lunch, we decided to visit Parmarth Niketan Ashram for Ganga aarti. I am not a religious person, but once I reached there, I felt an immense peace and calm. This aarti happens in the evening and is generally visited by 60-100 people. The intriguing part is, forget about Indians even foreigners are an equal participant in the aarti.
While returning back from the aarti, I clicked a picture of pothi baba. There are shops selling eateries, where outside the shop, on a raised chamber, sits a person in sadhu’s get up and he is called pothi wale baba. After returning back to the camp, we attended a barbecue session, talked about life, priorities, and spiritualism. I was too tired so decided to call it a day.
Next day we woke up early and went for a nature walk to Kaali Kund, this place has a small waterfall. It is being said that Lord Shiva stopped here on his way to Neelkanth. Oh yes, I discovered porcupine quills during the nature walk. Also, the naturalist told us the medicinal advantage of certain plants. This was new to me, as many of the plants which I considered wild, were good herbs.
After returning to the camp, I decided to go for river rafting. I would say that river rafting is not an adventure sport but it is a medium to challenge self. It fills you with an immense satisfaction when you navigate through those rapids and reach banks safely. I went for 16 km rafting, where I came across 12 rapids, of which 4 were really dangerous rapids. Rafting like other sports teaches you the value of teamwork. If that is lacking, then crossing rapids safely would not be possible. In a way rafting is liberating, it fills you with immense confidence.
After a lovely dinner, I hit the bed, as early next morning, we were supposed to leave for Delhi by Jansatabdi.
There are few moments, incidents or holidays which one can never forget. My Rishikesh trip was one such trip which I will not easily forget.