Tag Archives: Rishikesh

Magical Rishikesh – Uttarakhand Chronicles

This was another one of the destinations that had the magic and enchantment of the natural beauty that surrounds you. One of the reasons besides of course the travel enthusiasm that I had to visit the famous Ram & Laxman Jhoola at this destination, was to go to the Parmarth Temple. I was told that every evening the aarti that happens here is truly spiritual and that this quest is not to be missed.

On the banks of River Ganga, across the temple worshipers sit in front of a majestic Lord Shiva statue behind the Parmarth Ashram temple… It is truly a magnificent view and something that I wanted to experience it myself. But that had to wait. Before we did that on a beautiful evening, we decided to explore in and around Rishikesh. It was certainly very amazing as we went out for a stroll at night towards Laxman Jhoola and explored the shops that sold amazing handicraft and artworks across the river…

Laxman Jhoola At Night...
Laxman Jhoola At Night…

The whole experience of looking at the gigantic bridge which has lasted there for ages takes you off your feet. You keep wondering how long it’s been hanging there… Well certainly about a 100 years. But what’s important is how quickly it takes you from one side to the other and you wonder how the sight completely changes. Once you get on the other side, you can take a long walk towards Ram Jhoola and other places that are even more enchanting. But the long walk makes you ponder how you got there in the first place.

Some really great work you find in the shops when you walk past them across the bridge. This is when you are walking towards Ram Jhoola.

That’s a sight of the Laxman Jhoola during the day… All buzzing and clear… Very few people really take the time to admire the sight of this amazing heritage! Most regulars just walk by it nonchalantly. Little do they know that this has great significance for many people and how beautifully arduous this majestic architectural symbol is…

Ram Jhoola
Ram Jhoola

Now, that’s the Ram Jhoola. Much bigger and more magnificent than the Laxman Jhoola. Incidentally we were told by one of the locals, that even though it’s called the Ram Jhoola, it didn’t really carry any significance to Lord Ram. In fact this bridge was made for Lord Shiva, as you can also see in the Shiva Statue near the Parmarth temple… However, since there was a Laxman Jhoola, (near to the oldest Laxman Temple in Rishikesh)  they decided to credit this one as Ram Jhoola…

Lord Shiva at the Parmarth Temple
Lord Shiva at the Parmarth Temple

As the evening sets in around 5.30, I recommend that you drop all the work you are doing and head towards this beautifully amazing and enchanting place called the Parmarth temple and set yourself for a showstopper that will spiritually heal you and take your breath away. It truly did for me. Sitting across this magnificent statue while the river Ganga flows steadily and voraciously under it’s feet, it gives you a clear view of what you want to see. There are no cloudy judgements, there is no way to think beyond anything that is blurry. Just clear view and conscious thought. They start the Maha Aarti around 6.30, but the best thing to do is to go and seat yourselves on either side of the steps that are near the river. With the cold water gushing at your feet, an enchanting spiritual chant at the back of your head, this is true devotion. Something that will make you think about what the true meaning of life is. A MUST-DO if you are in Rishikesh.

This had to be one of the best experiences there and I have to attribute it to the most beautiful and enchanting place there is in Uttarakhand. If you have ever been there or planning to go there. Do let me know what your views are…

Valley of Flowers – Yet another SriniOnTour…

Valley of Flowers - Backpacking Begins...
Valley of Flowers – Backpacking Begins…

So, I’m all set with my backpack  and with a lot of hopes from this trip. This journey has long been on my bucket list and I’ve been working quite hard to make it happen. Finally, this is part of my first ventures as a part time travel writer, and beginning my career into a whole new dimension. Yes, there are a lot of ifs and buts still, as far as my whole plan goes, but that’s the best part about it…

As far as this trip is concerned… I’m sure there isn’t any doubt, that this is going to be another #SriniOnTour that will rock. This time around, I may not be able to blog on the go, due to connectivity and rains, I’ve decided to  avoid carrying my laptop… besides my backpack is already about 10 kgs… which we would carry all the way up to the West Himalayas. So I’ve decided, I’d upload a lot of photos on twitter and facebook and showcase my journey as a live photo-blog.

http://facebook.com/srinistuff

http://twitpic.com/photos/srinistuff

Also joining me on this trip are a some of my close friends with whom i regularly go on trips/treks.. Swapnil, his wife, Mangesh and his friend…

From the twitterverse, my new found friends @irohan and @_vishalg would be part of this trip.

This journey is also inspired by my conversation time and again with Chris Collins – (http://nicolaskumar.com/) Author of (Valley of Flowers)  – Chris, thanks for all your advice and help… As soon as I’m back from this trip, the first thing on the agenda is to get the book and read it… That way, I’d be able to relate to everything in it much better. 🙂

So here’s the plan (Some details might be helpful for others who plan to travel here)

Leave for Haridwar via Dehradun Express tonight…

Reach on the 31st July, just in time for the Maha Aarti.. Which is a beautiful and a spectacular sight and something that we should not miss… Hari-Ki-Pauri as it’s popularly known…

Haridwar

Haridwar

1st August

A few more locations in Haridwar, mainly…

Maya Devi Mandir , located on upper road. This temple is one of the 51 “shakti peeths” and its the presiding deity of Haridwar. It is from this temple Haridwar derives its other name Mayapur.

Maya Devi Temple

Bharat Mata Mandir, 5 km north of the center. Dedicated to Mother India, this is half temple, half nation building exercise, with seven floors stacked with deities, saints, and secular heroes of all Indian faiths. Some signage in English.

Bharat Mata Mandir

Bharat Mata Mandir

Bilkeshwar Mahadev Mandir , Shiva temple located on a hill.

Depending on how much time we have on our hands, we’d plan to see these places.

2nd August

Rishikesh

We take an early morning train to Rishikesh. Hemkunt Express – Leaves Haridwar at 6.50 AM and reaches Rishikesh by 8.00 AM. That’s the only train available in the morning. Else we might have to take Vikrams/Rickshaws costs (Rs.60-70) max per rick.

I checked out info for white-water rafting and most places say the season is September-November and March-April-May ideal for rafting. But we can get to know once we are there….My friend Swapnil has also got a few contacts, who say they might be able to arrange for the rafting.

White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting

 

Let’s see how it goes. Besides River Rafting we can visit these places on the 2nd at Rishikesh…

 

Lakshman Jhula, Trayambakeshwar Temple, Lakshman Jhula. is 13 stories high, with different deities throughout.  edit

Lakshman Jhula

Lakshman Jhula

Triveni Ghat, This is a bathing ghat. Daily in the morning and evening there are thousands who take bath here and enjoy the Maha Aarti being performed. It very soothing to sit on the banks of the river and enjoy the cool breeze from the river.

3rd August onwards we report to YHAI Basecamp and follow their itinerary…

4th  August – We take a bus from Rishikesh – Joshimath

Enroute Joshimath

Enroute Joshimath

5th August –  Orientation walk / Visit to Auli and Tapovan

6th August – Joshimath to Govindghat by Bus…

Joshimath to Govindghat by Bus

Joshimath to Govindghat by Bus

6th August – Govindghat – Ghangaria Ghat (A trek of 13kms) This one’s going to be the real test as the place that we would trek would have rain, and there are some really slants that we have to overcome carrying at least 10kgs of backpack is certainly going to be a challenge. While we have trekked over 20-30 kms in a day, this 13km trek would be with full supply backpack and the altitude would be quite challenging, add to that the cold and rain… Should be fun at the same time.

Govindghat to Ghangaria Ghat

Govindghat to Ghangaria Ghat

7th August – Ghangaria Ghat to Valley of Flowers… Now this is the most beautiful place that we hope would really make the 13km trek the previous day, worth it’s while… It’s about 8kms to and fro. This should be easier as our backpack would be at the camp and the trek is much lighter. But the beauty of the park and the flowers in the valley… would really be amazing.. The photos will tell you for sure 🙂 Stay tuned… In the meantime you can also read my poem about the Valley of Flowers here

Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers

8th August – Ghangaria Ghat to Hemkund Saheb – This is another amazing place, a worshipping shrine for Sikhs, this place is divine and much more beautiful in terms of the scenic locations and I hope to get a glimpse of some glacier / Ice as well…

Hemkund Saheb

Hemkund Saheb

9th August – We trek back to Govindghat.. The 13km trek.. This should be easier as it’s downhill…

10th August – Govindghat to Badrinath is around 25 kms and this would be a bus journey. Some rest to our ailing legs 😛

Badrinath Temple

Badrinath Temple

11th August – Badrinath – Vasudhara falls around 16km trek to and fro. This is a beauty… In the cold and the rain, it’s quite a pretty sight I’ve heard.

Vasudhara Falls

Vasudhara Falls

12th August –  Badrinath to Rishikesh and check out after breakfast…

Post that, since it’s a long weekend and we have a couple of days on our hand we may just chill in Rishikesh and then head back to Delhi on 13th or 14th August, from where we catch a train and reach Mumbai by 15th August and celebrate Independence Day at home 🙂

All this ordeal would be quite an experience and certainly a journey worth sharing… For now, I’d be updating pictures at

http://facebook.com/srinistuff

http://twitpic.com/photos/srinistuff

 

So stay tuned and hope you enjoy the updates.

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