‘Ram Jhula’ and ‘Laxman Jhula’ act like a border between the Devbhumi and soon to become (or maybe already is), Dave-bhumi. I’ve been to Goa back in 2012, and like everyone was surprised to see the number of foreign travellers. Now, the reason why I’m sharing this fact is because I felt the same at Rishikesh.
It was a big surprise to me, and my fellow traveller, Nishant Shrivastava (FilmyKeeday). There was hardly any Indian traveller to be seen on the main roads and dozens of streets.
Those foreigners were not in their Goa-costumes, rather they were following the Bhagva appeal. Most of them looked lost in their own head and one was even Skating!
I ignited my Avenger 220’s engine at 4:00 AM from my Gurgaon location, and passed through, first the NH8 highway, then Delhi streets, and then UP border. Nishant caught me somewhere at Ghaziabad and then we were together on the track to Rishikesh!
I’ve already done 32k KMs on Avenger but it was the first attempt by Nishant to ride his Avenger 220 (Black) for this long. Surprisingly (even for him), he managed the ride well.
We took two halts for usual t-breaks and then reached the city of Roorkie, better known for the IIT. Following is a picture of a Canal at Roorkie, followed by the picture of IIT we took on our way to Haridwar, our next stop.
Till Haridwar, the traffic was scant and the condition of the road was comfortable to ride the bike beyond 90kmph. But the road beyond Haridwar wasn’t that good. Construction was going on at many spots, and both sides of traffic had just a single pass to cramp in.
At Haridwar, we stopped to capture few pictures and also to wash our sins (as people say). Nishant got into the river and I was busy capturing pictures and noticing the area.
As soon as we hit the 0 mark for Rishikesh, we’re searching for a good food joint. After looking at a couple of options, we both agreed to enter ‘Dilli Bites’. The food quality and taste was good, and the pricing was average, not too high, but certainly not cheap.
Then, the search for Hotel began! We spent our next couple of hours, riding through almost every street of Rishikesh, searching for a Hotel that can offer the river view room. But, we didn’t hit any success so decided to settle down for one, asap.
We checked-in gave our backs some cushions to rest, and then I decided to get a good sleep for a couple of hours. I didn’t have any sleep previous night and was working as usual. While I had 2.5 hours of a good sleep, Nishant went through the streets.
After then, we both decided to try other food joints. The Little Buddha was our next stop, and the ambience of this place was really amazing. It’s a highly recommended restaurant to try in Rishikesh. It even had an impressive view to the holy Ganga (a.k.a. Ganges), which were looking for.
Then we went ahead for a walk, bought a new pair of Kurtas (200INR each, still a scope for bargaining), and went through the remaining streets of the Devbhumi. We tried Barf ka Gola (Chuski) and had cool Soda. As usual, I took the pictures, and Nishant recorded the Ganga aarti.
I was a happy and totally comfortable tech blogger for about 3-4 years (for those who are interacting with me for the first time) but the more I travelled, the more I found it interesting and my usual happy life became boring.
For me, travelling a place is not for just trying out all the popular stuff and do things which other travellers do. Rather, I try my best to be part of the place I visit, get to know the culture, streets, and gather as much information as I can.
I did the same at Rishikesh too. After no streets were left to discover, I went to the Ganga’s shore and sat there. Trying to find a fortune cookie of peace. Believe me, the cookie is there in abundance and it’s the real attraction of this holy city.
For the aforementioned reason, I didn’t go for Bungee Jumping and River Rafting. But I did talk to few travellers, and their experiences were unforgettable.
During the night, we went to East West restaurant and I tried jamming some music with a Sitar (two strings were broken). This is the time, you can see (almost) everyone smoking around the street corners, and almost every place. Rishikesh is a dry city, but other means of getting high were easily available.
Next morning, I woke up early (I rarely get a good sleep at the new place) and went towards the Ram Jhula. Streets were empty, Sadhus were chanting inside temples and couple of young guys were playing our national sport (not Hockey). This morning was absolutely unique than what I had experienced earlier in other places and then I decided to get into the river.
The water wasn’t that cold but the cool breeze managed to make me shiver. It was an experience which is hard to decide in words, and it’s definitely a (must) thing to do in Rishikesh.
The Ram Jhula (also Lakshman Jhula) is not a bridge made of concrete, rather it’s up there with ropes and steel wires. The bridge can still hold the weight of cows, dogs, bikes, locals, and all travellers. My family took me to Rishikesh when I was about 3, and as my father recalled, all these hotspots (Ram Jhula, and popular temples and ashrams) were present. Infrastructure is still the same, but the ambience of the town has changed.
Earlier, one end of the shore held Temples and Ashrams while the other end of the shore (two connected by Ram Jhula) held the primary market. Now, the first end is still the same, but the second one (the market) has become mini-Goa.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a cool place to spend few days off to the hot summer in Delhi or nearby towns, Rishikesh is one of the best options. It’s not for everyone, but even if you don’t believe in God, the town located on the shores of Ganga will still be a pleasant visit.