According to the Buddhist philosophy, nothing lasts forever. So, after going through a lot of stress during 1st wave of Covid19 lockdown in the year 2020 and by accepting the ‘new normal’ of masks and sanitizers, me and my husband started planning to take a break from the monotonous life and experience some fresh air of nature. Since, it was the beginning of the year 2021 in January, there were two-three places on our minds that we could safely take a tour like Lansdowne, Udaipur, Rishikesh and Manali which were at reasonable distances from Delhi with good weather condition. After some discussions, both of us agreed to have a Road trip to Uttarakhand.
Embarking the journey from Delhi to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
The distance from Delhi to Rishikesh is about 240 km. So, we packed our bags and began the journey early morning. We experienced many things before reaching our destination like we ate best ‘Puri-Sabji’ thali as breakfast at “JAIN SHIKANJI” in Modi Nagar Ghaziabad, Meerut. There are many shops in that area, so be careful while finding the main and oldest shop of Jain Shikanji on Delhi-Meerut highway road. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery of sugarcane farm on our way.
After enjoying the beautiful landscape and the astounding vistas of countryside while travelling from one city to another, we finally reached our destination i.e. Rishikesh in evening. We had already booked our stay in a beautiful Hotel DIVINE GANGA COTTAGE which has been renamed as ANTALYA. We checked into the hotel and after reaching our room, we got pleasantly shocked to see the mesmerizing view of River GANGA right from our room. This is the best thing which we got from this hotel (The Ganga View) and I can surely term it as the USP of the hotel. As both of us were very much tired for that day so we planned to just relax, eat and sleep.
Next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant and with full energy, we decided to go for “DEVPRAYAG SANGAM” first of all. The journey was just 60 kms only. However, it took almost 3 hours from hotel to reach there because road construction work was in progress at many points and there were multiple traffic jams.
Devprayag is a small town in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. In Sanskrit Devprayag means “The Divine Confluence”. Two of the Ganga’s main tributaries, the ‘ALAKNANDA’ and the ‘BHAGIRATHI’ meet at Devprayag. This place is also referred as the birthplace of the Ganges and the starting point of the Panch Prayag Yatra. This sacred place attracts tourist from all over the world because of its scenic beauty as well as religious significance. Here “Tondeshwar Mahadev Lingam” is worshipped and whose temple is situated just in front of the Sangam.Sangam
So, the Devprayag trip took our whole day and we returned back towards our hotel late in the evening. Before going to hotel, we decided to visit the famous LAKSHMAN JHULA which was very nearby to our hotel.
Lakshman Jhula is a suspension bridge named after Lord Rama’s younger brother Lakshman. The entire bridge is made of iron and is situated at a height of 70 ft. from the river. It was built in 1939. The bridge connects two villages on either bank of the River Ganges, namely TAPOVAN and JONK. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Lakshman crossed Ganga on ropes of jute and hence the bridge has been named in his honor. Many temples and famous markets are also present around the famous Lakshman Jhula.
- TIMINGS: 5:00 AM in the morning to 10:00 PM in the night.
- FEE: There is no entry fee.
Hence, the Day-2 completed at this point and we went back to our hotel.
Next day we woke up early in the morning and decided to go for a small trek to the banks of the river GANGA which was located just down to our hotel. We followed an unconstructed path from the hotel to the banks of river and it was amazing trek of just 10 minutes. The river bank was full of mountain stones. We decided to sit for a while on the river bank. It is difficult to describe the scene and feeling of joy we experienced while sitting there. The clean, fast flowing river is a soothing sight for sore eyes. It is said that the river washes away your sins. I would not be surprised if it could do that.
We did some Yoga, Pranayam and Photography on the banks of river.
As soon as we returned from the banks of river Ganga, we quickly finished our breakfast and got ready for our next destination i.e. NEELKANTH MAHADEV TEMPLE. It took us a little more than one hour to reach there from our hotel by car.
As per Hindu mythology, the temple has been built on that sacred point where Lord Shiva had consumed all the poison to save the Earth. The poison had come out during the Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean) done by the Devtas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons). Due to this, his throat turned blue in color. Thus, Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth. The word Neel means blue and the word kanth means throat.
- Piece of Advice : Beware of free parking, they will stop you 2 km before the temple and will ask you to buy Pooja thali or some offerings instead.
Coming back from the temple, we visited the Ram Jhula.
It is famous landmark place in Rishikesh city. It is an iron suspension bridge over holy river Ganga. The bridge was constructed later than the Lakshman Jhula, in the year 1980. Both these bridges are quite similar in design. Ram Jhula is placed a few miles downstream from Lakshman Jhula and connects Sivananda Ashram with Swarga Ashram. The bridge is also bigger than Lakshman Jhula. The total length of the bridge is 450 feet. On both sides of bridge, there are various temples, Ashram and markets. Ram Jhula offers offers a panoramic view of river Ganga and Rishikesh City.
We had done few more things like Boat ride in the Ganga near Lakshman Jhula, exploring other banks of river Ganga and local markets of Rishikesh city etc. Here, I would like give a special mention to a cafe named 60s Green Cafe Hills. It is the best place to enjoy all types of meals and snacks in Rishikesh. The cafe’s ambience was craftly designed with comfortable seating indoors and outdoors and many interesting quotes.
And here ended the day-3 of our Rishikesh trip.
We were short on time, so we decided to go for our next destination Haridwar in the night only. We checked out from our hotel in Rishikesh and headed to Haridwar out in the night. We reached our hotel in Haridwar at 10:00 pm. After dinner, we put an alarm of 5 o’clock morning and got off to sleep.
Haridwar is one of the most ancient pilgrimage centers in India. Har ki Pauri is believed to be the place of exit of holy river Ganga from the mountains. Hari means (Lord/God) and Dwar means Gateway. Hence Haridwar means Gateway to the Lord. According to the India mythology, it is one of the four places where drops of elixir (Amrita) accidentally spilled over from the pitcher or Kumbha, in which it was being carried away by the celestial bird Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. These four spots have today become places where the Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 12 years in succession – Nasik, Ujjain, Haridwar and Allahabad. Millions of devotees and tourist congregate from all over the world to celebrate this celestial event and perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganges. World famous Ganga Aarti takes place in Brahmakund area of Har ki Pauri, a sacred spot where it is believe that the elixir (Amrit) felled on earth.
Next morning means on Day 4, we went for Ganga Aarti at Har Ki Pauri Ghat. The Ganga aarti in Haridwar is held twice daily-once in the morning and once in the evening. The time of the Aarti depends upon the sunrise and the sunset of that particular day. Usually the Aarti is held between 5:30am to 6:30am in the morning and in the evening 6pm to 7pm. It is mesmerizing to watch the whole ghat getting illuminated by the shimmering lights of the three-tiered lamps of fire in the hands of the priests. People float Diyas, with burning flickers and flowers in them as symbol of hopes and wishes.
We performed the Ganga Aarti at Brahmakund area of the Har Ki Pauri Ghat. Our soul was filled with immense peace by the aura of the whole ghat.
After the Ganga Arti we filled our little gallons with the holy Ganga water from the river at the Har ki Pauri ghat. Then we came back to the hotel and after taking the breakfast, we checked out of the hotel. The hotel staff bid us goodbye with Holy Ganga Jal. We thanked them and started off for our journey back to home.