Rishikesh Walking Trails – A Mystic Experience

Pilgrims visit the Himalayan city of Rishikesh while on their way to the Char Dham of Uttarakhand. Many tourists visit to enjoy activities like camping by the Ganges and water adventure sports. And few come to explore the ‘Rishikesh Walking Trails’. They are attracted by the culture of spirituality and meditation that is professionally practiced in countless centers. Rishikesh, nicknamed the “Yoga Capital of the World”, truly presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and global diversity.

Rishikesh has Yoga Ashrams at almost every corner of the streets. We reached our hotel in Rishikesh around 3 in the afternoon. We found that our hotel too had a Meditation center, where sessions are held every morning. A little far from the bustling city center, adjacent to a hillock, the property was blissful. One could spend evenings here, lazily resting on the easy chairs. But we had a walking trail in mind. We unpacked our luggage. Put on some light woollens and embarked upon a sightseeing tour of the town.

Tapovan to Jonk

We followed the lanes downhill, as guided by the locals, and reached Sacha Akhileshwar Mahadev Temple. Surprisingly, Wikipedia or even Uttaranchal website does not provide much information about this temple. This temple houses a huge Shiva-Linga, which is almost 15 feet high and about 8 feet in diameter. The imposing stature, coupled with the scent of ghee and dhoop, enunciates deep religious enthusiasm here. Truly a unique experience in Rishikesh Walking Trails.

Lakshman Jhula

This was the place where tourists were gathered around local guides who were leading them towards the Laxman Jhula. Laxman Jhula is the most defining image that adorns Rishikesh Walking Trails. It is a 450 feet long iron suspension bridge across the river Ganga, connecting Tapovan on one side and Jonk on the other.

We walked across the bridge and reached the 13-storeyed wedding-cake-like temple of Swarg Niwas and Shri Trayambakeshwar, built by the organization of the Guru Kailashanand. Popularly called Tera Manzil Temple, it has dozens of shrines dedicated to Hindu deities on each level, interspersed with jewelry and textile shops. Ashrams and guesthouses and street-side stalls selling all kinds of things sprawl on both sides of the road. They sell devotional items, dresses and gifts and souvenirs, and a variety of food preparations.

And the Journey Continues…

While at the entrance to the bridge, I got introduced to a girl from Paris. The tattoo on her arms made a street-girl-child very curious. The child’s mother sitting by the stairway on the western side showed the foreigner the shape of a heart inked on her own wrist. The foreigner introduced herself as Margo. She wanted to know if the tattoo was for her husband, but she could not obviously express herself in Hindi; so I played the translator. The woman replied that she had got the tattoo when she was very young and that it actually signified her brother. She further iterated that her husband was long gone, leaving her to fend for her daughter alone. And after I translated all this, I had to convey her want for alms too. Margo obliged and gave the child a 100 rupee note and left with a “Namaste”.

What makes Rishikesh extraordinary is how tourists from all across the world intermingle and blend multiple cultures into a singularity. This girl from France unpretentiously chatting with an urchin, a girl from Chile sipping coconut water, a man from New Zealand walking barefoot while playing his Djembe – all these snapshots offer the rich and multifarious ensemble that Rishikesh symbolizes.

The Beach

As we followed the Rishikesh Walking trails along the eastern banks of the river Ganga, towards Ramjhula, a dusty road opposite the Laxman Jhula Police Station led us to a white-sand beach. The green waters, the boulders and rocks scattered along the beach, the green forest on the other side – it gave us the best backdrop for a mini photo session. Some people sat on the sand, enjoying the ambiance; few stood on the rocks and posed for the camera. A couple of foreigners were engaged in physical exercises. One must certainly not miss this beach if in Rishikesh!

We had to reach the Parmarth Niketan Ghat to watch the Ganga Aarti, and hence we left the beach and walked ahead.

Ganga Aarti

When we reached the ghat, people – Indian and foreign nationals – had already gathered on the stairs leading up to the riverside. We left our slippers under a bench and made our way downwards, wherefrom we could experience the Ganga Aarti at its glorious best.

Regardless of one’s ability to understand Hindi or Sanskrit, the power of the Aarti fills the hearts of devotees with universal spirituality. Enthusiastic female foreigners, with Diya in their hands, lip-synced to the Sanskrit mantras, while a few others were busy capturing the moments in their camera. I stood there in awe of the proceedings, as the Pujya Swamiji of the Ashram sung prayers in baritone. His students performed Yagna on the ghat, offering their prayers, waving huge lamps to the River. The lamps were intermittently passed towards the crowd behind so that devotees may feel the warmth from the flames with their palms. The purificatory blessings, believed to be conveyed from the deity to the flames, are thus passed on to the devotees.

Chotiwala Restaurant

After the ceremony ended, we explored the area. This is the very place where a couple of Chotiwala restaurants are located. Choti is the Hindi word meaning a tuft of hair kept in the back of the head as per Hindu custom. The person in the logo of “Chotiwala” is a rotund figure, having a long, almost erect Choti, and a saffron napkin on his shoulder.

Taking promotion to a different level altogether, a person dresses up like the cartoon himself. He dons heavy make-up on the face like that of a stage artist. Also, he sits on a throne-like chair right at the entrance. He holds a wire which is connected with a big bell, which he rings as people enter the restaurant. I went forward to seek his permission for a photograph. The “Chotiwala” man didn’t as much as nod his head. Evidently, behind that decorated face lies a person tired of maintaining the same pose all day long, to attract and amuse tourists. This is the most sought-after restaurant for delicious snacks in Rishikesh.

Ram Jhula

We walked another few meters up to Ram Jhula. Ram Jhula is also an iron suspension bridge, like Laxman Jhula. It connects Muni Ki Reti in Tehri District with Swargashram in Pauri. Ferry service across the bridge is available, but the service continues only till around 5 pm. So we walked the span of the bridge and reached Ram Jhula taxi stand. From the junction, we booked ourselves an auto back to our hotel.

We thus concluded the Rishikesh Walking Trails that enriched us with experiences that were unparalleled. I would never be able to forget the charming and delightful moments that touched the chords of my soul during this adventure.

Author

Arko

An honest SCORPIO who is crazy about movies, and overly passionate about travel.
Believes in immortalizing the moment, either by way of the photograph or literal documentation of the journey.

23 thoughts on “Rishikesh Walking Trails – A Mystic Experience

  • July 20, 2021 at 1:26 am
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    I went back to Rishikesh while reading your blog

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    • July 23, 2021 at 2:05 pm
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      Thank you for the appreciation.

      Reply
  • July 21, 2021 at 6:55 am
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    This sure was majestic! Such unique sights to see!

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    • July 23, 2021 at 2:07 pm
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      What is most attractive about the place is the variety. From shops selling Pizzas to centers for practicing meditation, from boat rides across the river to suspension bridges – there is a wide variety to explore in Rishikesh.

      Reply
  • July 21, 2021 at 11:36 am
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    looks like spots where journey can only be continued with excitement.
    well captured and described

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    • July 23, 2021 at 2:08 pm
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      Thanks a lot 🙂

      Reply
  • July 21, 2021 at 8:32 pm
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    This seems like this walking trail was a great experience. I enjoyed reading about your experience.

    Reply
  • July 22, 2021 at 12:16 am
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    What a beautiful area and it seems like you had a lovely adventure exploring the rishikesh Walking trails. I am personally not the biggest yoga fan but I do appreciate much of its art & physical focus. So it would be neat to see all that in and around Laxman Jhula. The River Ganga looks absolutely beautiful and I noticed you highlighted some of the beaches but I didnt see a single person in the water. Is it clean enough to swim in?

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    • July 23, 2021 at 3:23 pm
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      Precisely – I had had a wonderful adventure in Rishikesh. Whether you love Yoga or not, this walking trail fills your heart with a sense of peace, tranquility and satisfaction.

      Reply
  • July 22, 2021 at 12:58 am
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    The temple that is shaped like a wedding cake sounds like somewhere I would love to go and explore.

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  • July 22, 2021 at 1:08 am
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    More places to visit when going to India which is awesome. This place looks interesting and hope you enjoyed the trip!

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    • July 23, 2021 at 3:25 pm
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      India offers a wide range of variety when it comes to tourist spots – right from desert sand in the West to the Himalayas in the North and East; The beaches in the East and Jungles in the centre. Visit India for some wonderful experiences and memories!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2021 at 6:28 am
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    I would love to walk on this trail. There are so many things I’d like to see in person like the different shops and landscapes.

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  • July 22, 2021 at 7:11 am
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    I love the bit of chaos that came with the place. It gave Rishikesh its character. It’s a magical place that I would like to visit someday.

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  • July 22, 2021 at 9:49 am
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    Everything looks so much fun! Looking forward for the days we can travel freely and no worries

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  • July 22, 2021 at 12:01 pm
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    A truly mystic experience and the supsension bridge is truly impressive! Thank you for your sharing and I virtually explored an unknown place that I have never been to! – Knycx Journeying

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  • July 22, 2021 at 1:17 pm
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    the place looks amazing and I would LOVE to take a long good walk there. thanks for the route

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  • July 22, 2021 at 7:21 pm
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    Its one of the placeI would want to go back to and explore more.. went years ago..

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  • July 22, 2021 at 7:25 pm
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    My husband loves the outdoors and would love to visit and take long walks. Nice place to visit.

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  • July 23, 2021 at 12:09 pm
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    What a fun walking experience with a diverse number of scenerios. For me, as I love the water, I love the beach!

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  • July 23, 2021 at 1:15 pm
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    Awesome share here, thanks for specifying here how all these experience were.

    Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 2:13 pm
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    The beach is my favorite. I love the green waters

    Reply
  • September 23, 2021 at 2:10 am
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    Nice blog, very informative it help me a lot.

    I had very great experience with shaantamresort traveler must stay there.

    Reply

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