Rishikesh

Friday 23 August 2019

The end of working in India! It’s gone by very fast.

The traffic between Gurgaon and Delhi is horrendous. It’s taken me 90 minutes to travel 8km.

But today, leaving the office at 3pm, I made it to the airport within about 20 minutes (which is just past the hotel!).

Off to Rishikesh for the weekend.

It was a short 30 minute flight. And then a 40 minute drive.

I’m staying at a guesthouse in the Tapovan area – a backpacker/tourist part of the town. It’s a bit of a maze of buildings and construction sites.

Straight to bed.

Saturday 24 August 2019

I was up early – the light shining through the non-existent curtains. But now in the daylight, I have a view of the mountains.

I popped to the cafe next door for breakfast, given I didn’t eat lunch or dinner yesterday…! It was a very western traveller style cafe. With a menu to suit. And I got over excited. I haven’t had western food for the past month. So I ordered a smoothie bowl.

It was super disappointing. Lesson learnt – stick to Indian food.

For the rest of the morning, I wandered around the town.

Through the area of Tapovan, down to the famous bridge – Laxman Jhula. I’ve heard it can get chaotic, but it wasn’t too bad. No cows on here today!

The bridge gives views down the Ganges river, one way very rural and nothing there! The other, just small bits of the rest of the town. And the famous Swarg Niwas & Shri Trayanbakshwar, a 13 story pink building full of Hindu shrines.

I walked all along the eastern side of the river. Past shopping areas, small cafes and bathing ghats on the river banks.

Lots of cows hanging around. And sadhus washing under taps and hanging out with the cows.

By the next bridge, Ram Jhula was a busy temple and shops selling temple paraphernalia.

I crossed the bridge, then walked back up to Tapovan. Ideally I would have got a tuk tuk, but couldn’t find one! As it was far too hot for walking. And I had already walked rather too far in this heat.

I got back around 1pm and was just too hot. So needed to lay down for a while.

I had spoken to quite a few yoga centres, but none were open today, or weren’t doing drop in classes. Except one, said they had a 4pm class. Which I headed out to, then turns out wasn’t on anyway.

So I just went for dinner.

I went to a cafe which had views out across the Ganges. I ordered Indian food – chana masala (chickpea curry). But they westernised it and it wasn’t that great.

Sunday 25 August 2019

I left at 8am this morning for the 1 hour drive south, to Haridwar. This town is 15km south of Rishikesh, but again built around the Ganges.

Haridwar is Uttarakhand’s holiest Hindu city, and one of the 7 important Hindu pilgrimage sites in India.

At Har-ki-Pairi Ghat, it is thought that Vishnu dropped some nectar and left behind a footprint. This is now a bathing Ghat, where people will come from all over India to dip themselves in the Ganges here.

I was a bit unlucky and it started to rain enroute. The rain hadn’t put off the locals – it was still busy!

That ghat area was busy. People everywhere. Lots of bridges connecting different sections of the river. Cows wandering between the crowds. Monkeys running about stealing food. And lots of people swimming. Or watching others swimming.

After an hour of walking across the various bridges connecting little islands around the Ganges, I found my driver and we started heading back to Rishikesh.

He kept stopping at every single temple. And there are a lot here. They are all fairly new – and many very theme park like! Lots of large plastic characters of elephants and tigers and waterfalls. Very weird. I didn’t bother going around them!

Back in Rishikesh at 11am and luckily the rain had stopped.

It was already hot. And despite the rain, I was dirty and sweaty! So second shower of the day!

Then I headed out. Some shopping. A bit of wandering about. And lunch, at a cafe looking over the Ganges.

I ordered a mini thali. It was ok – not the best Indian food I’ve had. And I really wasn’t feeling hungry, despite not eating all day. Perhaps because it was just too hot.

After a bit of lazing around, I headed out for 4pm yoga. Yesterday I was told this would be on. But nope, cancelled. How annoying. I’m in the yoga capital of the world and I can’t find a yoga class.

For dinner I popped back to the cafe next door. It looks so nice. And has a huge promising menu. But it’s just not good. Masala chai was not masala. I got pancakes (I know, massive mistake again ordering western food) and whilst they looked pretty, they just weren’t that good.

Monday 26 August 2019

My flight back to Delhi today was supposed to be at 7.45am. Then got moved to 8am. But I had an email last night to say it had been delayed to 9.30am. A bit annoying, but at least a bit of a lie in.

Once I reached the airport, it turned out there was a 7.45am flight. And an 8am font, which was moved to be a 9.30am flight. Since I had booked my 7.45am flight a while ago, they since put another 7.45am flight on. And the 7.45am went as normal. How completely ridiculous.

So by the time I got to delhi, I couldn’t be bothered to go out into the city anymore. And just went swimming instead.

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