Rishikesh is the Yoga Capital of the world, let it be known, that I am not a yoga-doer.
That being said, I don’t think you have to be to enjoy the fruits of Rishikesh.
The spirit and energy of Rishikesh has a hidden invisibility cloak of peace and serenity that washes over you from the minute you first walk alongside the Ganga river or dance at Triveni Ghat or when you watch the sunrise from the mountains above the city.
My personal opinion is that I think you do have to believe in energy and dip your toes in some idea of spirituality to properly make use of the abundance of positive goodness that will be surrounding you.
However, I still think, whether you were the most hard-headed realist that you would still find love and light in Rishikesh whether you were looking for it or not.
I found calm. I found my feet again. I found my inner joy and I connected to my surroundings.I have always been a believer in universal energy and manifestation, but I did find a deeper connection whilst there, one that lies underneath and doesn’t necessarily have an explanation to it. Not something that is read about in books or really has any type of label. Just a grounded feeling.
My first night the staff from my hotel, EllBee Ganga View, walked me along the river to head towards Triveni Ghat to enjoy the Ganga Aarti, a spiritual experience of music, fire and energy. Men from the Ashram come to perform and stand atop pillars lining the river. They perform with fire and candles in synchronization as anyone who has come to soak in the ritual watches on with amazement.
After the 45minutes is over and everyone has offered to the river goddess, local music plays and everyone from families with young children to total strangers from all around the world, all get up to dance among each other with pure and FULL happiness. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been lucky enough to experience. And THAT, was my night one!
The next morning as I walked up the mountain to Kunjapuri Temple to watch sunrise, I was greeted with a glowing magic. It wasn’t JUST a sunrise. It was a wind of change, that brought a tear to my eye and I had a voice inside me tell me “It’s okay to let go.”
Maybe I didn’t release every pain I had held on to, but I definitely breathed out a weighted breath and put my phone and camera away and allowed myself to connect to my current moment and look back at where I had come, know that I am on the right path of where I am going and although I still have aches to heal, right now, I am EXACTLY where I need to be.
I can’t just say it’s from the evening before, because I think throughout my travels and experiences over the last year I have been coming to this point, but it gave me the confident nudge to allow myself to be present and connect.
I don’t think you can go through an experience like the Aarti, and then come to watch the sunrise and feel nothing. It kind’ve creates a wave of realization where you know every day you can have full happiness, full moments – why would you go back to living in nervous anxiety or worry and disallow yourself that great feeling. ESPECIALLY when you see so many less fortunate than you, seeking joy in simple moments. It kind’ve says “Hey, you don’t get to dwell on this insignificant thing. You are blessed. So, feel blessed.”
I spent the rest of the day roaming around Rishikesh, courtesy of my hotel driver, I went to the two prominent bridges of Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula
Across from the Lakshman Jhula I observed the Trayambakeshwar Temple – a 13 story Hindu temple.
And pretty much after that I was done ticking off a list and decided to people watch, walk through the town and leave my camera and phone in the hotel. Which is exactly what I did.
I loved being able to take so much in in Rishikesh and absorb the true meaning of why people come, I know people go to do Yoga courses and disconnect or meet Guru’s and there are truly so many positive vibes to go and immerse yourself in. But I think people come to find answers to the questions they didn’t even know they were asking.
I went, unknowingly, not sure of what to get out of it – I had NO IDEA there wasn’t a single bit of meat or alcohol in Rishikesh! I had never been so fond of Indian food back in Australia – life update – I LOVE IT. The look on my face must have been pretty funny when I arrived in the evening and was looking forward to a glass of wine from my travels, only to be told no by my hotel. Purest self -commences – NOW.
But I think it was all “meant to be” I was totally confronted by truth and purity. I ate dishes without prior judgement, I truly danced like no one was watching, I spent time with strangers, I spent time alone, I dropped all preconceived societal ideas. I smiled at men smiling at me without thinking “it means something!” I just ebbed and flowed and walked around with a yin and yang inside of me – total peace and calm, yet a buzzing energy coursing through my chest and thumping to my heartbeat.
Rishikesh was the perfect place to start my Indian journey because I was able to learn the lessons and take them with me, ultimately having the best possible experience whilst on my travels.
Thank you to EllBee Ganga View for showing me around Rishikesh – www.ellbeehotels.com