Rishikesh Revisit


At Dehradun railway station, we enquired about the taxi fare to Rishikesh. The drivers appeared to charge extra, so, we booked  a taxi through Uber. We reached Rishikesh at around 7PM. Since Laxman Jhula is under construction, we had booked Zostel at Tapovan side. The hostel is okay. 

We freshened up and walked to Tattv cafe - one of my favourite cafes in Rishikesh. I had a tasty vegan pasta there. 

After dinner, we walked to the banks of the river Ganga. My favourite spot in Rishikesh is the Sai ghat. The water level had gone down. We could walk down to the river. There were a few visitors sitting silently by the river. 


In our dormitory, we had one more inmate - Meeth is 18 years old. He is from Mumbai. He had studied in Mauritius for a few years before moving back to India. He therefore spoke descent French. We conversed a bit in French. He has just finished his Grade 12 from an IGCSE school and wants to become a pilot. Meeth was on his first Himalayan trek. His father had insisted that he go on this trek. 


Next morning, I woke up at 6AM and walked to Sai ghat near Laxman jhula. Ganesh joined me. The water level had come up. I walked along the bank and found a rock to sit on. It was peaceful. 

I was slightly disappointed that on the other side of the river, the rocks were removed to aid the new bridge construction. Laxman jhula was declared unsafe for use last year and a new bridge is being built next to it. The locals say that the new one is going to be better. It would have glass flooring. But the beautiful rocks that once sat under the bridge, near Laxman jhula ghat, are covered in mud to form roads for trucks to come in. Terrible! If such modernisation continues, I may have to walk further along the river to find some undisturbed natural environment.  

I met a sanyasi (Ascetic) from Bangalore. He was probably younger than me. He hailed from Malleshwaram and he told me that he mostly lived in Gangotri. Though he called himself a sanyasi, dressed like one too, he acted nothing like one. He imitated the Mangalorean Kannada accent and asked me why I did not speak that way. He called Ganesh Junior NTR (A movie star from Telugu film industry). He asked me if I worked in movies. He seemed up to date with the current trends in the Indian cinema. I might be judging him too soon here. Perhaps he was excited to see another Kannadiga.

He told me that he was expecting some visitors from France and therefore he had to stay in Rishikesh for a couple of days. He hesitantly asked me if I could do him a favour. He explained to me that as an aparigrahi, he could not possess anything. But he was in need of a blanket and asked me if I could offer him one. I saw nothing wrong with that request. He was after all asking for a blanket to beat the cold nights and I was able to help him. So, I agreed to bring him one the next day. 

Before returning, Ganesh took a dip in the river. On our way, back we met Divyesh near Bangalore Cafe at Tapovan. It had been 2 weeks of travel and we were missing Dosa and idly

Ganesh and I took a walk to Ram jhula and Tryambkeshwar temple. I chose to stay outside the temple and shop some kurtas. Since the bridge isn't open, the visitors have to cross the river by a boat or walk several kilometres. Therefore, the business at this side of the bridge has been severely affected. 

Next, we walked to the Beatles ashram. Turning this into some kind of a sanctuary, they were charging Rs 150 as entry fee. Which is ridiculous. I rather pay that money to some poor vendor than to see some ashram where a bunch of musicians meditated. So, we walked back to Ram jhula and visited the Geeta Bhavan canteen. Geeta Bhavan ashram offers free food daily around 1PM. The food at the canteen is really cheap and tasty. We had some masala poori, jalebi and some local sweet. I also bought a blanket for the sanyasi. 

After lunch, we returned to the hostel and took a nap. At 5PM, the three of us took a shared auto rickshaw to Triveni ghat. On the way, I stopped at Rajasthani Sweets Mishthan Bhandar and had samosa. The ghat was crowded. We picked a spot and watched the Aarathi for a while. 

Divyesh and I decided to leave early and head to Ram jhula. We like the ghat near Paramarth Ashram. The place is quiet, less crowded and peaceful. Ganesh joined us there a little later.  Sitting by the Ganges and watching the river flow, is such a soothing experience. The force of the flowing river calmed me down and allowed me to surrender my thoughts and experience complete awareness of the present. 

We had dinner at a restaurant near our hostel. 

21-April -2023

The three of us went back to the Sai ghat next morning. I met the Sanyasi and handed him the blanket. I was a bit guilty that the blanket was not thick. So, I asked him if it was okay. He seemed a bit suspicious by that question. He took a look and told me that it was slightly thin but he would be able to manage. 

I then chose a rock to sit on and stayed there for a long time. Spending early mornings and late evenings by the Ganges in Rishikesh is a beautiful experience. 

We had breakfast again at Bangalore Cafe. Since chutney and sambhar had onion or garlic, Divyesh ordered a jain style Aloo Parathan. Hearing jain food, the owner (a young man in his early 30's) approached us. He asked Divyesh why he does not eat onion or garlic. I told him that the Jains did not want to harm any animals and therefore ate only fruits and vegetables that fell off the tree. There was another customer who was sitting next to our table. He was a young Bengali boy who was currently working in Bangalore. He pitched in and added a few more points. The owner said - Well, they do not eat onion and garlic because, it increases sexual drive. They therefore eat sattvic food. We did not disagree with that either.

He continued his rambling and said how he always questions his parents and how everyone must be logical in matters such as this. We chose to keep quiet and not get into any kind of argument with him. 

He then told us about an incident that apparently happened in the Taj hotel at Bangalore, where he was once an apprentice. A group of customers ordered Jain style dal curry. The head chef is said to have added gosht soup (Mutton based gravy) to thicken it. “They won’t know it anyways”, the head chef is said to have told him. He then told us that the customers liked the dal a lot and appreciated the chef. He laughed. But no one else did. Not only was this anecdote unnecessary, it was extremely insensitive. In fact, Divyesh was the most offended. He replied - "God is keeping a tab of this". 

Seeing that the joke had not impressed any of us and that we could be now doubting him, the owner of Bangalore cafe clarified that it wasn’t he who had done it. We jokingly asked - Hope the aloo parathan won’t have something like that in it. With a nervous smile, he said he would not do anything like that. He then vanished from the scene, never to be seen again. 

But he had disturbed the mood on our table. So, to set things right, I said to Divyesh that it is important to have a good reason behind one’s value system, not necessarily a logic. That meant - It was important that "He" is satisfied with the reasons for his beliefs. He does not have to logically prove it to others or convince them. 

We got ready and had lunch at a cafe near our hostel. We had booked a taxi to the airport. On the way, we dropped Divyesh at the railway station. Divyesh and I meet only for treks. This was our 5th trek together. I have known him since he was 18 years old. In these 7 years, we have developed a strong friendship. Being way too older than him, I am also protective towards him. 

At Rishikesh town, the traffic was terrible. We took about an hour to drive the last 3 kilometres before the railway station. But we reached airport on time. I bid farewell to Ganesh, and headed to my gate. The flight back was uneventful. 

Har ki dun trek and the stay at Mussoorie and Rishikesh was such a wonderful break. I returned to Bangalore rejuvenated to take up new personal projects. 


  1. Bonjour cher ami,
    J'étais très heureuse de vous lire et très heureuse de votre gentil passage sur la dernière publication de mon blog. Je trouve dommage que beaucoup d'entre nous désertent la blogosphère... Facebook et Instagram font le plein !! Personnellement je suis inscrite également sur ces réseaux sociaux mais je tiens à écrire sur mon blog qui est une sorte de journal artistique.
    Merci pour ce récit de votre temps et les merveilleuses photos qui accompagnent vos bons mots.
    Je vous souhaite une excellente journée et à très bientôt,
    Je vous envoie du soleil de mon sud français, La Cadière-d'Azur.
    Gros bisous,

    1. Bonjour...
      C'est vrai. Beaucoup de Bloggers que je connaissais ont quitté. Mais, j'adore garder un souvenir de ma vie ici. Merci pour votre message.


Post a Comment

Your thoughts are valuable and encouraging! So, please leave back a comment.