Rishikesh – (S)piritual or (A)drenalin?

These 2 words come straight out of dictionary to describe Rishikesh. A place where your soul would feel confused to go for divinity or rush. Read on to pacify your hormones.

A city situated in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, among the foothills of Himalayas. The sacred river Ganges flows through, making it one amazing destination to visit.

I had my visit here back in April 2017 from a warm Punjab Trip. The city was dotted with pilgrims, adventure-seekers, confused travelers & lots of locals. With scores of devotee flags and people enchanting ‘Jai Mata Di’ (Hail the Goddess), the place was seeming eternal. Tourist season was in full-flow & all hotels & stays were overbooked. Package tour operators were not even entertaining customers as they were enjoying the season with both hands.

Tip: Booking early will save you money!

Rishikesh, as the name suggests, is a land of sages and saints who visited in ancient times. Rishikesh is also known as ‘The Yoga Capital of the world’ as it has a number of yoga & meditation centres to learn & practice. People throng here & stay for months if not days just to attain perfection in this field. Consequently though, they turn into a regular visitor.

 

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(In pic above: One of the most sought after activity in Rishikesh, Yoga!)

TheTwin National Heritage Cities’ of India are Rishikesh and Haridwar. The topology of Rishikesh encompasses hilly terrain, mountainous range & a beautiful river flowing in between. The nature sets in to give you a spectacle. Spiritually speaking, the place has lots of temples, pilgrim stories & sacred places to visit.

This place is as ideal it could get, well suited for all types of travellers. Pilgrimage and spirituality invites old-age travellers with families. Adventure activities pull young couples, solo travellers and foreign tourists.

Pilgrims flock here to witness the evening ganga aarti at Parmarth Niketan Ghat and take a holy dip in the sacred Ganges, considered a step closer to attain Moksha or freedom.

 

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(In pic above: Rafting in the ganges in Rishikesh)

There are a lots of adventure sports provider to cater & satisfy the adrenalin gushing inside you. Camping in nature and staying under stars is the ideal way to go! (This comes straight out of an ideal dream, but hey, you can do this actually)

Caution: Do not forget to check operator’s licence when you go for adventure activities, do it from a trusted brand or entity, they should be registered with concerned authorities

Rishikesh displays a perfect balance & calmness for all type of travellers, as they criss-cross the streets & walk through those same by-lanes of the shopping markets. More often, you will see more foreign nationals, making people confused what this city is offering them (I bet you need to explore this place).

Must noteNon-Veg Food & Alcohol is not permitted due to religious importance of the place.

Lakshman Jhula is one of the iconic spots of Rishikesh (at a distance of 5kms from city centre). It is an iron suspension bridge over river Ganges which connects two villages of Tapovan & Jonk. The other one is Ram Jhula, situated 2kms away from this place.

A number of meditation centres, spa centres, expedition points and ayurveda centres are located in this area. It is termed as the main activity spot of the city, as it keeps buzzing through the day.

The city is a starting point for the famous Char-Dham Yatra (Four sacred-place expedition) of Badrinath (Lord Vishnu), Kedarnath (Lord Shiva), Yamunotri (Origin of River Yamuna from Yamunotri Glacier) & Gangotri (Origin of River Ganga from Gangotri Glacier) where scores of pilgrims participate to experience the thrill.

 

For tourists into pilgrimage & divinity:
Place to Visit Entry Fee (INR)
Tera Manzil Temple Free
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Free
Sivananda Ashram Free
Beatles Ashram Free
Laxman Jhula Free
Ram Jhula Free

One can book stays at ashram too, which provide budget accommodation. Few of them are Madhuban Ashram, Yoga Niketan Ashram, Parmarth Niketan Ashram

 

For adventure-seekers in Rishikesh, below is your list
Things to do Cost (INR)
Camping Starts from 1,300
River Rafting Starts from 800
Bungee Jumping Starts from 3,500
Flying Fox Starts from 1,800
Giant Swing Starts from 3,500
Jungle Safari Starts from 1,100
Rajaji National Park 150 (Indians), 600 (Non-Indians)

Few places from where you can book your adventure activities are Haridwar Rishikesh Tourism, River Rafting in Rishikesh, Jumpin Heights

Additionally,

  • Cost may vary for different operators
  • I suggest you to take combo of above activities as it will cost you cheaper by 10%-15%
  • There are restrictions on who can do these activities. Check before you book as it depends on a person’s medical condition, age & height. (Several factors you see!)
  • The cost of river rafting depends on the length (distance) of the activity chosen.
  • Other adventure activities include Cliff Jumping, Body Surfing, Trekking

 

Therefore, i would highly recommend you a trip to Rishikesh, covering all this city has to offer, from soaking the purity & divinity in the air, to performing yoga & meditation at its centres, rafting along its scariest patches & sleeping under the stars besides the same river. Trust me, you will re-discover yourself. (and do not forget me, Phew)

I am certain you would have made up your mind to explore Rishikesh. Let me know what makes you pack by commenting below.

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12 ways to Pack smartly, Travel smartly & not feel carrying a cupboard!

We all love to travel & explore places. But have you ever given a thought that the baggage we take with us hampers our energy & memories just because you have to carry it everywhere. There is no denying that only you have to carry it for yourself, so why not make it light & travel freely all around.

No chik-chik, no jhik-jhik.

Let’s delve into how you should make the maximum productive use of every inch available inside your bag without carrying those extra clothes which you never wear on the trip.

“You see some clothes just hang around with you in your trip & comeback home safely without getting touched. But the best part is, they travelled a new place”

So there is no point taking those extras, you can still get a coolie at the station or a carrier at airport, but in your hotel room, it’s you who have to pick that suitcase up & keep on the bed (Bad Practice though! I just said it, I don’t do it, neither should you)

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Manage stuffs in a way that brings out the best in you, avoiding hassles of planning days before on what to take & what to leave behind. Just pack & leave by following these simple guidelines. It is not a standard one-size-fits all, but more or less common to every traveller. It also depends on the type of travel like leisure, business, adventure or any other type of excursion.

1. Always keep your clothes folded in a proper way & not jumbled like you have just thrown them in a dustbin. Folded & well-kept clothes yield more space.

2. Take a maximum of 2 pair of Jeans (keep in mind that you are wearing one while travelling), as these are immortal products which never expire nor they retire (we say rough & tough), until you try to tear one yourself to make it look fashionable. You can wear lots of Tees on a single pair of jeans.

3. Always place your Jeans or Towel at the base of the travelling bag, as they are somewhat sturdy pieces of items that are used the least when you are on the move.

4. If you have a hotel booking or are going to make one, the towel you carry becomes redundant, as it is already provided by the hotel. So be sure to avoid carrying it for no reason.

5. Take Handkerchiefs & not cloth napkins, as they are made of pure cotton, dry easily & beyond a doubt slimmer when folded well. Cloth Napkins on the other hand look stuffy.

6. Keep all your toiletries in a well-maintained kit & not plastic bags. The reason behind is plastics bags assume the shape of the stuff kept within, which looks very bad & shabby plus it has a risk of getting torn which may lead to liquids oozing out of it, while kits have more space, have sections according to the things you want on your travel, like shaving kit, toothbrush, toothpaste, face creams, cosmetics etc.

7. Keep paper soaps and not a full soap, to wash your hands. This will save a lot of space as paper soaps are nothing but thin sheets.

8. Keep more T-Shirts rather than Shirts, as they are easy to fold & are comparatively lighter. Shirts on the other hand, are clumsy to maintain, as they have to be kept-well till arrival (as you can’t risk wearing a shabby looking shirt when you arrive, but t-shirts mostly remain intact)

9. The biggest load of all, your footwear. Try to take cloth-made footwear (canvas shoes) over leather-ones as they are light in weight & easy to carry & fold. If you are going to wear just one pair throughout your journey (not recommended at all, as it might stink after a few days), then you can wear the same while you travel & not keeping in the travel bag. Take a max of 2 pairs of footwear (again wearing one while traveling)

10. If you traveling to a cold climate destination, wear a handy jacket on way to avoid stuffing it your baggage. Even if you have to put it in your bag, don’t fold, rather keep it open, as it takes more space when folded & becomes bulky.

11. If you require a neck pillow, carry ones which can be inflated at the time of use. Cushion neck pillows take unnecessary space when not in use.

12. Do not carry heavy DSLR’s (forget this point if you are obsessed with your thing or are a professional photographer) if you have got a worthy smart phone camera. These days mobile cameras are well equipped and they take superb pictures.

P.S. According to different travel styles, airlines come up with estimated baggage you carry on their flights by doing an analysis of what travellers mostly carry in their bags. This table helps you to plan out & save your money on extra weight. This is highly recommended for people who look for weighing machines after packing their suitcases, and guessing how much will the suitcase weigh? Any guesses?

You might have never come across this table below. (I mean come on, who weighs clothes & other travel stuffs! Ridiculous!) So I weighed it for you, to decide how much you can carry.

Items Weight (in Kg)
A Jacket 1-1.5
A Pair of Jeans 0.4
A Shirt / T-shirt 0.1
A Typical Empty Suitcase 3-4
A Travel Backpack 1.5-2.5
A Shoe Pair (Cloth) 0.75-1
A Shoe Pair (Leather) 1.5-2
A Shoe Pair (Running Shoes) 1-1.5
A Laptop 2-2.5
A DSLR Camera 0.75-1.25
A Travel Kit 0.5
A Towel 0.25-0.5
A Leather Belt 0.2

 

From the table above, you can easily figure out your post-packing suitcase weight sitting at home.

If you are travelling for a wedding, thanks for reading so far, none of this applies on you. 🙂

The only suggestion is to travel by train or road, so that you won’t get charged for that extra luggage.

I tried to cover most of the essentials which these days traveller carry. Let me know your experiences about packing, I am sure you will be having some crazy ideas. Comment below & spread it to the world.