Rishikesh is one of the holiest cities in India. It’s known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas and Yoga Capital of the World.The Beatles (you know George, Paul, John, and Ringo) visited Rishikesh in the late 1960’s. Rishikesh is located on the Ganges or as the locals call it Ganga River. As a holy city, Rishikesh doesn’t allow or sell meat, fish, eggs, or alcohol.
We didn’t know that part. Especially the alcohol part. It was fine but would have been nice to know our time in the town was going to be dry. The power in the town is spotty especially in the evening hours and downpours were frequent.
Why did we end up in Rishikesh? Andy always wanted to get into the Ganges River. Yeah I was pretty surprised too.
We flew from Goa to Delhi and then took a short flight to Dehradun Airport. It was very stormy when we arrived and started down pouring when we decided to pay for a cab to Rishikesh. Our cab driver was a super nice guy but couldn’t find our hotel which was a little nerve-wracking. The roads in Rishikesh are very narrow and not great. There is a tremendous amount of traffic trying to get around so people are honking constantly. And there is no sidewalk so pedestrians and cyclists are competing for space on the narrow roads. It makes you a little scared.
We found the hotel that Andy nervously booked a day prior. When you spend less than $20 American dollars you shouldn’t be surprised with what you get.
Rishikesh was beautiful but also noisy and dirty. There were a lot of stray dogs, cows, oxes, and monkeys everywhere. So there was a lot of feces on the road. I mean a lot! When it started down pouring the puddles on the road were really gross because you knew there was a lot of shit in the rainwater. And you try not to think about how dirty it is but it’s hard. Then the power goes out so you hustle back to your hotel and clean off. There are few lights in the town and due to the dark (due to the height of the Himalayas it gets dark at around 6pm there) and the weather, you are stuck in your hotel room. With no beer. No tv. And suddenly you feel very American. And very spoiled.
I think I found spirituality in Rishikesh a bit differently than most people but I did feel a pull to the mountains. They were beautiful. The Himalayas reminded me of the mountains in Oregon especially how the clouds and mist surrounded them. There are wild elephants in the area but Andy and I weren’t lucky enough to see them. I would like to go back to the area again and trek up into the mountains.