Away from Traffic, heat, pollution, anguish, and fanatic rat race of the city life, is a place better known as the gateway of Himalayas. We paid a visit to Rishikesh last week about which we had been planning since we were in 3rd Semester but somewhere it couldn’t happen. Par ‘Der aaye durust aaye’.
The calmness, peacefulness, sacredness of ‘fresh’ air, lush green forests and beautiful hilly landscape made it an unforgettable and truly amazing experience. No wonder why it attracts stream of sages from world over to seek salvation. Even the Beatles couldn’t escape from the euphoria of its surreal and serene beauty.
Away from the comforts of city life, was our camp surrounded by serene mountains, lush green forests, situated on the bank of mighty Ganga. The serenity and tranquility in the ambiance just took my breath away. While moonlight interrupted the darkness it somewhere added to the spookiness in the surrounding. Scared initially because we were the only tourist group in the camp, we later realized, sitting in Mother Nature’s lap, there was nothing to afraid of.
Tents were without electricity, so we were left with only lanterns. And the best thing was limited Mobile phone coverage. I had always wondered how our lives would have been, if there were no Mobile phones. I guess, it would have been wonderful. No contact with outside world and that brings you intimate not just with Mother Nature, but reconnects you with your inner self.
The camping activity usually starts with bonfire, about which I was very excited. I brought my guitar along for the same purpose. However, we were late and so missed it.
We had our dinner as soon as we reached the camp. The food was very delicious. Loved the way it was served. The guide asked us if we would have Beer. I wondered how anyone can think of boozing over here. Not because of any ethical or religious reason. There is enough of euphoria, enigma in the air. Just relax and enjoy sitting in nature’s lap. The word Rishikesh itself means ‘The lord of Senses’ , still people want to lose their senses .
After dinner, we chose to sit outside the tents. Just enjoyed the scenic beauty, lovely breeze, moonlight and staring at stars. (Yes, staring at twinkling starts at night is something u can’t do in Delhi). Went to sleep around 2.30 and to my surprise, woke up exactly at 5 a.m. It was more of an achievement for a lazy chap like me. I didn’t sleep last night and the day was tiring because of journey and lots of activities we were supposed to do the next day. Still I was fresh.
In the morning, I took my guitar and started playing with its strings. But soon I realized the noise of my guitar was somewhere killing the tranquility in the air. For an hour, I just kept staring that scenery which I would rejoice whole of my life.
At around 8:00 am, we left for trekking to the Neergarh waterfall. It was bit hard and tiring but it was all fun. Once we reached the waterfall, the sound of milky white water and the scenic beauty around left us spellbound. While climbing the rocks, I got hurt on my head. It was paining a lot. But as I stood below the waterfall and water fell on my head, all the pain disappeared. Perhaps, it worked as physiotherapy.
Trekking and rock climbing was not just a life time experience, rather a life time achievement for an overweight like me!
White Water Rafting
After that, we came back, had breakfast (which was again great) and headed for the dreadful White Water Rafting, which was the highlight of this trip. Fingers were crossed as we wore helmet and life saving Jacket. Each one of us had been asking the guides, would it be safe? What if we get drowned? After 10 minutes of lecture on what to do and what not to, we boarded the boat. We did a rehearsal of his commands, in calm water and began our journey.
Soon, we came face to face with the first rapid. Hailing, GANGA MAIYYA KI JAI thrice, we went ahead to fight the mighty waves. The first rapid almost kicked me out of the raft. Had I not hold the rope tightly, I would have been thrown away in the river.
Then came the most dreadful one ….when we were supposed to get in the raft holding the ropes tightly. That was really breath taking one.
Tackling this one without any causality boosted up the confidence within us and we fought with other rapids bravely without anyone getting hurt. However, I later realized it would have been fun if anyone of us (not me) was thrown out by a rapid.
The guides asked us to get into calm water. Well, I don’t know swimming and it’s written in my kundali K mujhe pani se khatra hai. I don’t believe in such stuff but it was clear warning from my mother not to do anything of this sort. She won’t have allowed me to go to Rishikesh had she knew I m going to do all this. Luckily, she didn’t know what rafting was about when I told her about my plans. Still, I took it as a challenge and prepared myself for it. It took lot of self-determination but in the end, emerged as a winner. The water was really very cold. Holding hands in hands, we kept floating into water for about 10 minutes. It was again a lifetime experience.
The whole rafting experience was really thrilling and amazing. Each rapid turned and twisted us leaving no stone unturned to throw us out of the raft. The cold water splashed like melted ice-cubes on our face (This phrase has been copied!)
All those rapids, waves and whirlpools did teach me one thing. If we stick to basics , be confident and have faith in our self, we can tackle any emergency n life.
After rafting, we relaxed for an hour at the bank of the river. It was great walking barefoot on glittering white sand.
Pani Da Rang
Before bidding adieu to the river Ganga, as a memoir for lifetime, we recorded Pani da Rang. I played the guitar and my friend Anshuman accompanied me with his voice (coz I have a very pathetic one). It took half an hour to practice the song. It was amazing to have a JAM session on a rock along the river bank surrounded by majestic mountains, with legs drowned in water and cool breeze flowing.
Finally, at around 5 pm, we left Rishikesh with a heavy heart, with a promise of returning soon. Returning back through those serpentine roads did stimulate our labyrinthine apparatus, yet the nauseating feeling couldn’t stand anyway in front of the enthralling experience we had.
I missed bonfire, cliff jumping which I would really like to do next time. Then, Bungee Jumping has also been introduced recently here. Leaving it for next time, I sign off for now.
Rishikesh is not just about adventure ,rafting and trekking. There’s something more to it. The divine aura surrounding this holy city would leave you enthralled and mesmerized.