Our Rishikesh Experience
from David Schidl
Rishikesh in Uttarakhand is a beautiful small city in the mountains. It is located at the foothills of Himalaya in Northern India. Approximately 100,000 inhabitants live in this city. The streets are very crowded but only few cars can be seen. The vehicles are honking all the time, though, which is a bit annoying. It’s famous for their yoga and meditation education. The city is full of tourists who look for spiritual satisfaction, pilgrims and sadhus (holy ascetic Hinduism men).
Things we did in Rishikesh
1. Rafting on the Ganges
Our half day rafting trip was a great experience. We (6 Indians, Marlene and me) went at about 10pm with the car and the boat approximately 20-30 minutes down the street next to the river. After short instructions on how to use the paddle, we started our trip with the boat. It was great to row through bigger waves. We made a short break at a cliff where we had the option to jump into the water (approximately 5 meters). During the boat trip we were also swimming in the Ganga when there was no strong current.
2. Shopping in Rishikesh
The shopping mile after the Lakshman Jhula Bridge is really nice and you can get a lot of gifts, for example handcrafts, bags, clothes, cards and many more presents. If you are lucky you can take some pictures with monkeys.
3. Trekking & Waterfall
Our Trekking trip was organised by the hotel. We woke up at 4:15 am and it took us and the guide about 1 ¼ hours to get to the Kunjaa Puri (height 4050 ft). It is about 15 kilometres away from Rishikesh. There was a small beautiful temple where you could watch the sunrise. Unfortunately, it was very foggy so the view was not the best. When you have a good view you can also see the Himalaya. After breakfast we walked down the mountain. We saw incredible rice fields and a beautiful waterfall called Neer-Ghar-waterfall. We stayed there about ½ hour and we enjoyed a swim in the waterfall. If you are brave you can also climb up about 20 meters next to the waterfall and swim there.
Our accommodation, Divine Ganga Cottage
The hotel, Divine Ganga Cottages is surrounded by other houses and rice fields. You have a great view of the Ganga from the terrace. The staff is very friendly and helpful. They offer taxi services, rafting, trekking, spa/massage treatment, ayurvedic doctor consultation, yoga, wild life safari, bungee jumping and of course laundry. On the terrace you can enjoy different dishes and drinks from 07:00 am to 10:00 pm. Marlene had a Stress Release Head and Body Massage (Mardanam–1 hour) which she enjoyed a lot. Our room was quite nice including a TV, a little desk, a shower and a western toilet. Wi-Fi is also available.
Places to eat in Rishikesh
Little Buddha Cafe
On our first day in Rishikesh Marlene and I went to the Little Buddha Cafe. This restaurant looks like a tree house and you find a lot of alternative people in this location. Marlene ordered a pizza and I got a plate with vegetables. Both tasted bland. The fruit and the mango lassi were really good and fresh.
Devraj Coffee Corner
This little nice German bakery is next to the Lakshman Jhula Bridge. You have a nice view of the Ganga terrace. The coffee is okay. Our dessert, an apple flambé, was delicious. The breakfast is really good; they offer croissants, muesli, porridge and more.
This small restaurant near the Lakshman Jhula is a restaurant with an open kitchen where you can see how they prepare the meals. You get South Indian food at a very cheap price. The meals are okay and a bit spicy.
This little restaurant is not so easy to find because it is not located on the main street. There we enjoyed the best food in Rishikesh. The vegetables are from their own biological garden and the drinks and the meals are delicious. They offer Indian, Mexican, Israeli, and Italian food. You can sit on cushions in a pyramid-shaped tent and the staff is really friendly.
It took us 45 minutes to come to this small nice restaurant. It is near the second bridge called Ram Jhula. The café offers various great creamy lassis and the desserts are delicious. The staff is very friendly.