MORNING CAME AND RAIN FOLLOWED, leaving Rishikesh with a calm and refreshing atmosphere. With less people on the roads, the town seemed much more at peace, such a beautiful change.
I stayed in my room resting. Not wanting to get myself dirty, I sat on the balcony watching people watching me, read a book and thought that this should be a perfect holiday.
Me sitting on the balcony relaxing and taking in all the sights
As soon as the downfall changed into drizzles, I anxiously found myself a massage center for an Ayurvedic experience. Vicky, my masseur explained the different styles of massage and recommended the deep tissue for Rs 450, due to my sore aching muscles. The oils has a sweet herbal scent, and is warm yet relaxing. The massage however, was not as sweet, and hurts a lot! I kept praying silently for it to end sooner. Nevertheless, it felt good at the end when long strokes take over the kneading, and pressing, and tapping, and manipulating, phew!
With the clouds still hovering near, I wasted no time in my explorations. I waddled through mud in my flip-flops, and sank ankle-deep into dark brown puddles which probably contains diluted cow dung. Yikes! After a disgusting 200m walk from Ram Jhula, I found the now deserted Maharshi Mahesh Yogi ashram, which previously housed the Beatles’ stay. The meditation cells are now covered with vines but the buildings still give a sense of spectacular from its olden days.
SHRI TRAYANBAKSWAR BACK AT LASHKMAN JHULA IS A DIFFERENT CASE. This 13-storey-high temple has different deities on each floors and worshipers flock here everyday. At the top of the temple, I was given blessing ‘puja’ by a priest (with a donation of Rs 50) and took in the captivating view of the river.
The rain soon came back, having me trapped in a cafe drinking lemon mint juice, and missing my yoga class. I met Lakshmi, a guide, who kindly shared with the best destinations he has ever been to. Unfortunately for me, most of the places suggested were closed due to the flood, or too far away for my budget and time. “Maybe next time,” I told him, giving a promise of coming back to India a second time, which is a promise I hope to keep.
Misty river Ganges looks heavenly
Another view of the river Ganges
Me with the red dye on my forehead and holy necklace after receiving puja
Several young men bathing in the river Ganges, asking me to join them
OTHER THAN MISSING YOGA, RISHIKESH PROVED TO BE A HEALTHY PLACE TO BE. Affordable massages and Ayurvedic remedies are sure to heal even the most aching travelers’ muscles, while the belief in God heals you spiritually. The mind benefits from the positive energy. All in all, the legs, after much walking, gets cured by a therapeutic bath in cow feces.
After the rain in Rishikesh, the crowds disappeared with only the hawker still on busy with his business
Obstacles separate me from all the beautiful attractions
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi ashram
Puddles of diluted cow feces