Rishikesh: The Sanctuary for All

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Rishikesh: The Sanctuary for All

A statue of Shiva in Rishikesh, India

Rishikesh: The Best Sanctuary for All

During two full months of my Indian adventure, Rishikesh was one of the only places that I felt comfortable. When I posted ‘I’m Having a Hard Time in India’, people who’ve previously been to India strongly suggested me to go to Rishikesh to rest for a while. After coming back from Varanasi – Bodh Gaya – Kolkatta trip, I choose to live in Rishikesh for a while, thinking ‘There’s got to be a reason why everyone says I should go’, and there was.

 

Quietness (I didn’t know it was possible)

As I expressed my difficulties I was having in India, I needed some quiet time to detach myself from the environment. Rishikesh has been the perfect place. Down near the river is still hectic with hustle and bustle of the town, but I found my peace at High Bank. There are wide range of guesthouses, from simple rooms to luxury suites. The simple corner room I stayed was only 300 Rs per night.

This was quite a retreat to getaway from sound of the traffic. Only sound I hear on regular basis is from birds, monkeys, dogs, and cows.

 

Ashrams and bridge over the Ganges (Ganga)

Ashrams and bridge over the Ganges (Ganga)

 

Diverse Food Options (and they are good!)

Thali is great, I had so much joy with it, but it gets tiring after having it for one month straight (two or three times a day). The choice of side dishes are not limited, and special or deluxe thali also loosing their charm after ten or so times. I was craving for some other kind of food (it was also the very first time I was missing Korean cuisine), and then I landed Rishikesh.

I stayed at High Bank in Rishikesh. There are many restaurants (most of them are named German or Swiss) with a wide selection. Surprisingly, the foreign cuisine here is actually pretty good. Most of them have similar menu, contains rosty breakfast, shakshuka, French fries, pizza, and burger. The margarita pizza I had was one of the most delicious pizza outside of the US and Italy (seriously), and their vegeburgers are quite awesome.

 

Pilgrims in Rishikesh for the holiday

Pilgrims in Rishikesh for the Shiva holiday

 

Yoga Practice (even if yoga is not my favourite activity)

Rishikesh is the yoga central in the world. Every other person I met here were training to be a yoga instructor, or practicing yoga quite seriously. I’m neither, but like to practice yoga (nearly) everyday. There are numerous yoga centers and ashrams all over city as well as daily classes in guesthouses. It is a common belief that the meditation in Rishikesh will bring you one closer to attainment of moksha (the liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth), as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it.

I went to three different classes: one right near my guesthouse taught by a local Indian teacher, a class with American-Chinese (my rough guess) teacher, and one with an authentic Indian yogi. The classes are between 150 – 200 Rs (for one class). To be honest, yoga isn’t my favorite activities. I would choose many others before yoga as my workout, but I understand the benefit of practicing. I’ve tried it several times with different instructors. Meditating is supposed to be good for our mental heath, and yoga is a good way to find the peace.

 

The Ganges (Ganga) River

The holy river, the Ganges (Ganga), is one of the reasons why Rishikesh is special. This has a different vibe than another holy city, Varanasi. Rishikesh is more relaxed than Varanasi (remember the burning ghat?), and the river is much cleaner due to proximity to the source up in the Himalayas. The water was quite rough from the heavy flooding a few weeks ago.

 

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

6 Comments

  1. Andi says:

    I’m dying to visit the Ganges!

  2. Charu says:

    I just wrote about Auroville…and I mentioned RishiKesh…it is my father’s all time favorite place. When I was growing up that’s all he would say, “I’m going to Rishikesh…” he wanted a peaceful life. Honestly, Juno, Auroville is exactly like that too. Neat post!

  3. Tyanajones says:

    Hi…Great post, Rishikesh is one of my favourite place. I am glad that you shared this post.Thanks for sharing.

  4. Victoria says:

    Sounds like the perfect place to chill after arriving in hectic India. Definitely one for the list as I’m planning on doing the Rickshaw Challenge next year and will need somewhere to chill afterwards!

  5. […] is a sanctuary for all travelers who go through India. If you are interested in yoga, this is definitely a place to […]

  6. Nomadic Foot says:

    Really Rishikesh such a beautiful place to find peace. i have been here so many times and wanna go again and again. Feels great when people like you come here and wright about it. thanks.

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