Uttarakhand is one of country’s most celebrated landscapes with places like Almora, Binsar, Mukteshwar , Landour, Chakrata, Auli (the list very long) to travel to, which makes up for a perfect weekend getaway near Delhi.One can go trekking, river rafting, camping, practice yoga , mediation and what not. So for quick escape from Delhi, we planned a weekend trip of two distinct halves-Rishikesh and Dhanaulti. We made Dehradun the base for this trip. Managed to visit Rishikesh but not Dhanaulti as the weather was was not in a good mood.
Day 1-Rajaji National Park
It is also known as a Tiger reserve. Now, to visit such places (the animal kingdom) one has to be an early visitor. Early as in E..A..R..L..Y…7 AM! which by no means is me, so I could not see the Tiger abode, up and close. I was not completely at fault though . I went by the information available on the web. Almost every website mentions the timings for visit as : 6-9 am and 3-5.30 pm. That made me happy, atleast some places have considerations for people like me and are not discriminatory like the rest of the world- early to bed , early to rise, something nice happens to you, otherwise you are doomed.
But then it was too good to be true.We reached there sharp at 3 pm. En-route there were no signages. Here GPS is your best friend but without an exact location mentioned, Miss Rose (the GPS audio) can only land you IN the jungle, literally. So please rely on local people more than “Miss Rose”, if you plan to make your way to the place on your own.
At 3 pm we were told-” today we are done with our last jeep safari, it just left. You can make your reservation of Rs 2100 for 2 people today and can come again at 7 AM tomorrow”. Really…7 am?
It was so disappointing, because the drive from Dehradun to Rajai National Park was 2 .15 hours long. Nevertheless, on our way back, we found a huge open green patch with several wild horses peacefully grazing the green grass. It was hard not to stop by. This was for the first time I saw wild horses and the sight truly special!
Day 2 – Rishikesh
Original plan was to first visit Beatles Ashram and then spend time by the river Ganga. But then in this trip, nothing was to go as planned. First came the rains unannounced, so had to drop the plan to go to Dhanaulti. Instead excitedly headed to Rishikesh, to visit the Beatles Ashram. But by the time we reached, it was already 3 pm and Beatles Ashram was another hour away and I had no information on the visiting hours. So to save myself from another “we are closed” incident, I thought it would be wise to spend time in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a place to stay and experience the calm it brings with it. If one wants to go beyond river rafting , then travel to this place to do some yoga practice, take meditation classes , Ayurvedic cooking classes, painting, music classes to take. What I liked is the availability of drop-in classes almost everywhere. One can just pay and attend the class one wants.
If one wants to test his/her adventure skills river rafting ,bungee jumping, rappelling, mountain biking, cliff jumping, valley crossing, waterfall trekking, zorbing and Kayaking are some viable options available in plenty.
For food lovers too this place is a great option. Cafes upon cafes offer you fresh home made breads and cakes with a spectacular view of the river Ganga. Most of these cafes are near Laxam Jhulla.
German Bakery , near Laxman Jhulla
If you like to keep it Desi and would not trade your ginger tea and samosa for anything in this world, the old sweet shops will work their magic on you. I had tea and a piece of local burfi (sweet) in one these shops and believe me it was better than what I had in one of the bakeries earlier in day.
How can you not eat at Chotiwala , when in Rishikesh? I am sure those who spent their childhood in North India would have memories of this place. I had mine so it was good to visit it again. The place was clean and food decent. Lunch for 2 costed Rs.560/-
Upon visiting Rishikesh I understood this place needs more time, a day trip does not do justice to this place. The place has effortlessly maintained a balance between the spiritual and adventurous world. For a relaxed vacation ,spend atleast 2 nights in Rishikesh. Corner boredom by going adventurous and feel the energy, then go spiritual to balance the energy.