Most people plan their travel to Rishikesh for either watersports, yoga, Ayurvedic treatments or ashrams/temples. We had no agenda other than sitting at the Ganga Ghats peacefully, and it was within our budget. But once there, we discovered, there was so much more than just bhakti there!
Kaise aur kahan?
We took the overnight Volvo and reached Rishikesh early morning and started off to our sorted accommodation. We had chosen a cost-effective stay, Zostel, which was perfect for us. We didn’t have to shell out too much and for the price we paid, it proved worth. A comfortable stay for backpackers, it has quirky and vibrant interiors. Best part — it is hardly a ten-minute walk from the famous Laxman Jhula and Ganga Ghat, another reason why we chose to stay here. Since we had made this trip impromptu we didn’t really have a to-do list, but socialising with some fellow travelers at the place, we got some good suggestions to eat and explore around.
Ganga ki Ghat Pe
Laxman Jhula Ghat: A get-together or satsang, call it what you may, but this a must do when you visit Rishikesh; even if you ain’t the pious one. Every evening post 5:30pm, the Freedom Cafe Laxman Jhula Ghat gets thronged by tourists, localites and artists who immerse themselves in music. The entire ghat gets soaked up in music, and people, as if possessed, begin to dance. If you’re lucky you can witness a jam session of djembe, guitar and singers too. We were 😉
Ram Jhula Ghat DO NOT miss the Parmarth Niketan evening Ganga aarti here. It is blissful! It was like meditation for us.
Walk from Ram Jhula to Laxman Jhula via Laxman Jhula road by foot. The stretch is about two km and is a walk to remember. We felt the insides of our lungs were purified by the quality of fresh air there!
A trip’s memories are incomplete without good food, and so we went out exploring and found Bistro Nirvana and Freedom Café.
Bistro Nirvana is all made of bamboo and is a foodie’s paradise. Delicious food coupled with soothing music, warm service and pleasing staff, what more could we want? Situated at Tapovan, it is easy to reach by a Tuk Tuk/Vikram that will drop you on the main road. It is an easy walk from there till the café. Once here, the serenity of the café is what quietens the mind and soul. We had to sit in sukhasan while having your meals, and that was new. Apparently it helps in digestion. But mazza aa gaya 🙂
Freedom Café lies is on the Laxman Jhula road and offers a beautiful view of the Ganges from its windows. Lucky us, we were blessed with a view of the sunset here. While the food was good (we had Italian, yum), we thought the place could be kept a bit neater for even a better experience. Anyway, the live music played at cafe made up for everything else.
Itna khaaya itna khaaya that we forgot to click any pictures to share 🙁 Next time pakka! But you will find all kinds of cuisine here- from Italian to Lebanese to Mexican — sab kuch!
So next time you wish to hit Rishikesh, inform us, we don’t mind tagging along again 😉
Distance from Delhi: 242 km by NH 334
Time taken: Approximately 5-6 hours drive from NCR
Best season to visit: February, March, August to October; but if you want to river raft, then September till mid-November are your months.
When not to visit: July. It is hot and because of the Savan festival, all roads are choc-o-bloc and all hotels are booked. AVOID.
Where to stay: Backpackers hostels offer budget accommodation for INR 400 a bed, we tried Zostel.
STD code: 0135
Photos: © Priya Goswami