Beginning of a much awaited,and much needed holiday. Albeit a short one,but a welcome one. Destination: Rishikesh. About 250kms from Delhi.
Pahalwan dhaba. Food served fit for a pehalwan. Crisp,stuffed parathas,topped with fresh makkhan (butter)…and served with fresh dahi (yoghurt). Complete only with freshly made crispy jalebis and milky masala tea.
We passed many big and small towns on the way. All decorated to entice shoppers just one day prior to Diwali.
Bull’s Retreat. Our home for the three days we spent in Rishikesh. Homely and welcoming, Named after Narendra ‘Bull’ Kumar, soldier-explorer-mountaineer-adventurer, Bull Kumar goes by so many descriptions, it’s hard to pin him down! The “Bull” moniker comes from his cadet days with reference to his fierce resolve, and muscular build. And it has stayed with him ever since.
Seen here also is the resident dog, Aasa, a gentle, friendly and amicable creature. Easy to be with and happy to give company.
Bonfire bonhomie. Cool pleasant evening. Good wine. Better company. Crackling fire.
The Ganges or the Ganga. Mother Ganga to Indians. Cleanser of souls. Prayers are offered to her every evening. The Ganga Aarti is famous and attracts most visitors. Even if one isn’t particularly religious, the calm atmosphere is contagious. Sitting on the steps next to the Ganga, one finds oneself introspecting involuntarily.
These are little leaf baskets filled with flowers, also holding incense sticks and nestling a tiny tub of camphor. As dusk approaches, one is supposed to light the camphor squares and then gently release the baskets of flowers into the river, thereby offering our prayers to the Ganges.
The rounded rocks, stones and pebbles on the riverbed, and alongside the river just beckon you to come and sit on them. To dangle your feet in the oh! so deliciously cool water. One wonders what stories these stones would tell if they could speak.
Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed “Yoga Capital of the World”,has numerous yoga centres that attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it.Sure enough, on one of our walks , we came across this group practicing yoga on the riverside.