Travel Diary – IX- Foothills of the Himalayas:*


We were discussing about our travel plans, for a family trip this season. I gave options on somewhere in North India, as we were going to New Delhi for a visit. Since I love preparing itineraries, I prepared a schedule for a week to the destinations I wanted to go to. There were three options given, but alas, nothing was considered. That is the reason I don’t like planning holidays. We were halfheartedly ready for the trip, thinking about the place with least expectations on the short vacation. We finally ended up to a spiritual place, Haridwar and Rishikesh which is situated in Uttarakhand. Our perception changed in a week’s time, and we concluded that it is a place that one should visit. It is a different feeling being at this place. We fell in love with Rishikesh, which had so many adventures to explore. So let me start with Haridwar which can be covered in two days, the holiest place filled with temples. We went to a few of them, while describing, one of them had idols made of glass pieces, it was beautiful, while the other temple was cave shaped, the dark passage needed to be crossed to get inside. We went to an interesting multi-storeyed temple – Bharat Mandir, each floor depicted an era in the Indian history from the days of Ramayana until India’s independence. It is dedicated to the well renowned heroes of India and great saints from various religions. The eight floor holds the shrine of Lord Shiva from which a panoramic view of Himalayas. 20140423_183246 The visit to Chandi and Mansa Devi temple is a ride of 20 minutes from the town and has to be reached through a ropeway. It is a popular destination because of the cable cars, which offers an amazing view of the entire city. As we got done with these five temples, it was time for the evening prayer at Har Ki Pauri. When we reached the place, it was an enchanting sight to see. People from all across the world were gathered together at one spot, waiting for the aarti to begin. They were buying floral floats with lamps and incense and went to the banks of Holy Ganges to float. We followed the ritual, but I was thinking it would be so much better and the water would be cleaner if the practice of diyas was stopped. Some pilgrims took holy dips to remove their sins. There is no timing for holy dips; it is taken anytime of the day. As the clock struck 7 the chants started, and the priests were offering prayers to Goddess Ganga. A spectacle of sound and color is seen and the pilgrims from different walk of life are enjoying the enthralling experience. 20140424_182439 20140424_184350The next day as we reached Rishikesh, the Gateway to Garhwal Himalayas, we got ready for the exciting activities; we had a list of things that we wanted to do – Flying fox, White water rafting and many more. Rishikesh is a mixture of spirituality and adventure with many tourists. 20140425_080302 The first amazing experience was with Paddle India, as we completed the rafting with our guide Mukesh, our man for the day. The scenery was beautiful as we crossed different hills starting from Shivalik, The waves and currents were fun as the names are given to 20140425_091315rapids (The Roller Coster, Golf course and many more). 20140425_092528The 16 km rafting was completed in an hour as we enjoyed the dip in the cold water. The kayak was in front of us and there were other rafters enjoying the waves. Rowing the paddles with all the zeal and enthusiasm, we had a great time with the conversations. The warm welcome at the base of Paddle India made the trip more awesome. After a quick bite we went for a small hike to Neer Garh, no longer a hidden waterfall. It is an easy walk for half an hour and the force by which the water comes gives a good massage to the body. As Mukesh and Manohar gave us company, we could see the place as a local tourist. And sometimes the journey to a place becomes more interesting as you meet the right people in your travel. 20140425_110759 20140425_092753 20140425_12504120140425_133106 The next was Asia’s longest flying fox with Jumping Heights. We booked for our adventure and got on the bus which would take us 15 kms across to the jumping site. There is bungee (83 mts high) and swing along flying fox. We did not go for bungy as we wanted to do it from the best place at home, The Last Resort, Nepal. As we were harnessed to the wire, which rolled down on release of gravity, with the speed of 160 km/hr, it was not enthralling as we could see the end. We cut Flying fox from our list of things to do. And as we hitch hiked back to the town, we made couple of friends, students studying in Delhi and chilled with them. With the evening and morning prayers, loud, peaceful and happens on the banks of River Ganges. Rishikesh is the place to be if you are looking for hiking, backpacking and an adventurous trip!! 20140426_185239

If you want to experience the evening aarti at Haridwar, check :-

White water rafting :- and also at

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