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A July trip to Rishikesh

First week of July. It’s time to leave Gurgaon with the family, at least the time of a long weekend. Four months since we have moved and we haven’t really ventured outside our society! Gurgaon is not the most entertaining place and we somehow get super lazy to drive one hour to go to Delhi …

My friend was in favor of flying (to Dehradun) and I booked train tickets (to Haridwar). So that I would not have to experience more turbulences than necessary! And you should see how much they feed you in this 4 hour train with full on AC: chai, toasts, chai, breakfast, lunch and more if there had been time! However it was a little less funny on the way back when we were nearly 2 hours delayed...

We went for three nights in Rishikesh. It was completely off season, with the rain, and most of the guest-houses were empty. Especially those oriented outdoor activities – for example, it has become very trendy to do rafting on the Ganges. I would have been really happy to stay at the Glasshouse on the Ganges of Neemrana (cf the posts and photos of my previous trip in 2008) but it has become far too expensive, monsoon or not monsoon! For half the price we stayed at the Rainforest House, a guest house, which doesn’t look anything fancy from the outside, but the rooms are very nice, the family room open to the outside, offering a completely vegetarian cuisine which tries to incorporate Ayurvedic principles, a great yoga room, monkeys jumping around and the Ganges at a few minutes’ walk. There are a few disadvantages, mainly the quite dicey 500 metre walk down from the main road (and up on the way back), the owners (an Anglo-Indian couple who built the house), nice but they really keep to themselves and a more than fluctuating phone network – although personally I see it rather as an advantage! 

Despite the humidity, Rishikesh is definitely charming during the rains... Including the ‘Beatles ashram’ (Maharishi Mahesh Ashram) and the Vashishta caves which are by the Ganges and offer the opportunity of a nice walk along the river, with more nature than in Rishikesh city.


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