Monday, 9 October 2017

Rishikesh

Day 3
Haridwar + Rishikesh + Mussorie

If you had missed the haridwar post.. Click here



Our plan was to take a dip in Ganga in the private ghat behind our hotel, then head to Rishikesh which is just 20 kms from Haridwar. Venk and Lakshmi went to the bank, I had some packing work in the room, so I planned to join then later. When I came out of room, there were lots of monkeys. I was too scared to proceed, there was a lady from Kolkata, with whom I got acquaintance the previous day, She said .. just day Jai shree ram and walk without any fear, so that those monkeys wont disturb us. When I was almost nearing the bank, it almost came to attack me, I shooed it and it went. Then it went to that lady and she couldn’t manage it, it pulled her saree and tore it. Then the hotel boy came with a big stick and shooed them off. It was such a scary scene. Now I have super monkey phobia. She warned me about the Laxman Jhoola in Rishikesh which too has very very mischievous monkeys like this. So I made my mind that I will not take risk and end up with rabies. She was the only person in the trip I could talk in English to. Rest all broken hindi and sign language only.



All the shock flew away once I got into the water. It is such a holy feeling about Ganges. It is no doubt it is such sacred. Ganga mata ki jai.
We settled the bill and started off to Rishikesh. The road was not so great. We reached there by 40 mins. We parked the car and there was a guide who charged 100 Rs, said he will show around Rishikesh. Since we dint have any much knowledge of the place, we agreed.
It is such a lively place.. One side dancing Ganga and other side majestic shivalik range and such a great feeling to watch this scene. We look teeny tiny in front of that huge river and big mountains. Ganga is so wider here compared to Haridwar. Heard it is much wider in Varanasi. Next on my wish list.
Things to do :
  • River rafting  ( open from Mid of Sep – Apr)
  • Ram Jula – Hanging bridge
  • Laxman Jula – Hanging bridge
  • Paramananth Temple.
  • Gita Bhavan
  • Shopping rudraksh, Spadikam
  • Yoga training.
We started our plan with a hearty breakfast.  Choti wala restaurant overseeing Ganges.  Good food with a great view.  From here we did some whatsup video call with my appa, inlaws, and showed them the place. They felt as if they were with us in the trip.







After breakfast, we took a boat ride to the other side of river. Boat ride is Rs. 15 per person. When we were in boat, about 5-10 sadhus just jumped inside the boat, including a foreign sadhu. So much of rishikeshi feeling already.







After going to the bank, we were taken to few temples by the guide. Then we walked thru the Ram jula a hanging bridge and came back to our side. This bridge was built by British with no pillar support, just a huge hanging bridge. We can feel the vibration while walking. There were absolutely no monkeys in this area. So I was feeling much better.


When came back to the parking and planned to go to Laxman Jula which is 2 km away to Ram jula. After parking, walked for a while and reached near the bridge and saw those big big monkeys, I decided to call off the plan. So we just headed a cafĂ© nearby and the enjoyed the laksman jula  and paramanth temple view from there. When I watching the bridge, one lady with so much fun took pics of monkey, just when she turned the other side, the monkey pulled her hair violently.  I felt blessed that I dint attempt to cross that bridge.




We walked back and had a lemon masala soda and sat a bench to watch the Ganga bank scenes. I wanted to take pics of sadhus but was little afraid what they would say. So clicked him from a distance.





We dint plan river rafting, as it takes atleast 2 hrs and we dint want to wet the clothes again. So we headed to Mussorie. It is about 80 kms from Rishikesh.

To be continued..  Mussorie.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Trip to Hardwar


We usually plan a short trip during the Navarathri holidays, thats when all 3 of us (me, venk and Lakshmi) get holidays at the same time. We had around 5 days holidays including the weekend. 

Day 1, Day 2 -> Hardwar (Also called Haridwar)
Day 3 -> Rishikesh
Day 4, 5 -> Mussorie

Trip Date : 27/09/2017 - 01/10/2017

The route below.

Chennai  -> Delhi  -> Hardwar ->Rishikesh -> Mussorie  -> Delhi  -> Chennai
How I planned …
I started planning this trip after my colleage Vijay simman told about his trip to Rishikesh. I was thrilled to hear about the adventurous + spiritual + foodie kind of place. So I thought of exploring this place and started to search for packages in Make my trip. My main interest in Rishikesh was Ganga river rafting and Bungee Jumping. So I booked flight tickets till delhi, then from there I planned to take Make my trip package. When I asked for quotation, they gave a different plan to cover Hardwar + Rishikesh + Mussorie, after which my interest spread to these places too. Mine is 5 days 4 nights trip. They gave a plan for 1 night stay in Hardwar, 1 night in Rishikesh and 2 nights in Mussorie. I dint like the plan of staying just one night in one place. So I asked the quote of 2 nights in Hardwar and 2 nights in Mussorie. They quoted 29k for 4 nights stay in hotels + delhi pickup and drop + sightseeing. Then I started breaking up the amount and realized the cost comes much lesser even after I chose a better standard hotel. So I decided to drop the package plan and booked the cab and hotels separately in Make my trip itself. The Cab + Hotel accomadation + sight seeing came around 25k.
Day 1:
Chennai -> Delhi -> Hardwar.
We got 8.30 am flight from Chennai -> Delhi. If it was little earlier, it would have been much better. We reached by 12 because of little delay. Our cab was waiting in Airport and we started our Journey to Hardwar. As per the google map it takes 5 hrs to reach Hardwar but due to bad conditions of road +traffic + lunch break we took in Ghaziabad, we reached there in 7 hours. Our hotel was Bhaj govindham, bang on the railway station road. It was lil difficult to identify the hotel from outside even after google map said that we reached our destination. :)
About the hotel Bhaj Govindham, it’s the best choice I ever made.

Hotel Corridor



Sunrise view from the hotel




Pros :
  • Private Ghat, what can I say about this ? This is the best ever part. This has its own private Ganga ghat. I can hear your mind voice, What’s so special about that. Since it is private it is more secured and hazzle free and very clean. Dress change after bathing is so easy that you can come back to your room. There is a cloth line too to dry of the wet clothes, which is very very necessary for this kind of place.
  • Very busy and lively area, very accessible to hotels, shopping , railway station etc.
  • Parking space
  • Walkable distance to Hari Ki Pauri (Read as Hari Ki Paudi)
  • Lawn and open space to relax and play
  • Clean toilets + 24 hrs hot water  + Spacious rooms + Friendly staff
Cons :
  • Very old rooms. We had to literally push the doors too hard for it to close.
  • The rooms had stale smell and the beddings seemed old. We sprayed perfume and managed.
  • Food is quite costly.



It was lil dark by the time we reached,  we were still full after the lunch, so just ordered milk, which came in tall glasses. I felt like a cow after drinking it, I am not much a plain milk person.
We planned to take a walk for a while in the streets. It is a busy road full of hotels, Small shops, street food. I was tempeted by few shops boiling milk in a large pan with so much of cream floating. We ordered one and gave a try, They pour the milk in tall glass and top it with some cream. It was ok, lil sugary to my taste. It was nice to watch the local uncles with white and white kurta, walk along the road, sit and gossip in these shops and finish with a glass of milk. We came back to the room after roaming for half an hour and got a good night sleep.

Street view 




Day 2 :  Hardwar
Things to do :
  • Holi dip in Hari ki Pauri (read as Paudi)
  • Enjoy Ganga Aarthi – It is again in Hari ki Paudi.
  • Rope car ride + Dharshan of Mansa Devi + Chandi Devi temple.
We all woke up by 6 am and the weather was pleasant, we went out to one of the street stalls to have some Hot Ginger tea. So far the best Ginger tea I ever had. The trick is they use milk and water in half and half proportion and they use a big chunk of ginger, they slightly tap it with a stone and then add it. Boil the tea well and filter and yumm. 



We came back to the hotel and had a nice hot water bath and started out for breakfast. We did not opt for breakfast in the hotel, since we wanted to explore food outside.



The breakfast was amazing in a Jain hotel. We had poori Bhajji. It was too filling. We finished off again with Ginger tea, I became a fan of Ginger tea.
Now time for some sight seeing…  When we checked the hotel manager, he recommended Mansa Devi temple which we can go by Share auto with Rs.10 Person from our hotel. But the Share auto guy demanded Rs.100 for 3 of us. We were not in mood for bargaining with our little hindi fluency.  

Lakshmi in Share auto:



Clicked this on the way..



He took us thru a main road and stopped in a crowded area which looked like a foot hill. He asked us to walk from there. We started walking and reached Hari ki pauri and learnt from there the ticket counter for Mansa Devi is just at walkable distance. It about 10 to 15 mins walk all together. The walk was quite interesting since the total place is just full of shopping area with street shops and street food. By walking for a while in that crowded narrow street, we reached the ticket counter. Entry ticket for each temple is Rs.100 along with rope car commute. Combo ticket is Rs.260 which will cover both the temples as well the commute between both temples. We thought of skipping the rope way and take the steps. We climbed few steps and realized that there was lot of monkeys. Venk and Lakshmi was strong, but not me. So we came and stood in the queue again for buying rope way ticket. It had half an hour of waiting time to get the rope car. There is special ticket 600 per person, no waiting time. Since we dint have any flight to catch, we better waited for half an hour.





The rope way was very exciting, the scenery was very good. We could see the braches of Ganga and how the Ganga has dominated Hardwar.  After reaching the temple, we realized it was too much commercial, dint get the feeling of a temple at all. Overall, a good experience.  We learnt that Chandi devi temple is also same story, so we skipped it.






Walked thru the crowded street again and found a sweet shop, he was making a fresh batch of halwa. Yummy, we bought three pieces. It was so fresh and moist with correct sweetness. And clicked few street food pics too.









In another shop we had Madka Lassi with generous cream topping.

In a while we reached Hari Ki Pauri. When I was checking about the hotel while booking, I remember reading it is just 1 km from Hari Ki Pauri. So we thought we could just walk back in the river bank and reach the hotel. 

Hari ki Pauri

We enquired some locals, but they dint know. So we walked back with lil help of google map and reached back to hotel.
We were little tired by walking around and little hungry, so we hopped out and had a lunch in a nearby hotel. It was great as usual.
Lakshmi wanted to play in the Ganga for a while, since we had access to the private ghat, I Let her play. Some of the guys who work in the hotel also came for bathing in Ganga that time. Only that time I realized the bank was not so deep and much safe to play in the water. Then I too joined Lakshmi and we were playing for few hours floating in water.  This experience is the best I would say in hardwar. Then we came back to our room and changed and rested for a while.






Evening plan was to go to Hari ki pauri and watch Ganga Aarthi. Now we know the route better and started by evening 5.30. The Aarthi place is well organized and they made people sit so that everyone can watch Aarthi. Since I had to take pics, I stood in the end. They started it by chanting vedam and Mantrams. It was such a great feeling, can’t describe in words. I am not much a spiritual person, but this is another level.







We roamed around for a while and walked back to the hotel. Since we were too full because of lunch, we skipped the dinner.










Tip : When you are looking for a hotel to stay in Haridwar, always look for hotels near Hari ki Pauri, it is the much happening place. Also make sure you have parking space if you are taking your car /cab.
To be continued....

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