Stirred up as we reached to the day of completion of our product shoot, Sonali brought in the plan to head north to catch up with our friend Uday.
There's never a dull day with her along side, also I knew she would already have someplace in mind to break to once we were together. [ So what’s with her not being in town? Graduation! On the account of spending 4 years pursuing Fashion and Design, Sonali's to now seek out opportunities ]
The next day's evening had us boarding a train from Jaipur to Haridwar which was scheduled to make us reach at late AM. Although it poured heavily through out the journey we got spared once we got down at the station. The rain left stunning views for us to witness at Haridwar Railway Station. Now, to head further there are a number of ways amongst which we chose to hop on a local bus to Rishikesh Bus Stand. The last bit of commuting took us 15 minutes to finally reach Laxman Jhula where Uday came 'down the hill' to pick us on a scooter! The most thrilling 3 minutes happened even before we could truly experience any thing that Rishikesh had to offer; Sonali recoiled from uttering a word controlling her anxiety.
Meanwhile I was reminiscing the first visit to Rishikesh with my parents; that was one of the best trips we had together. We bath at the ghats of Ganga at Har ki pauri, Haridwar.
Sonali is best with organisation and beautification and she looks towards helping everyone in the most unconventional ways. On the same occasion, since Uday had recently moved to Rishikesh, she wouldn’t let go of the chance to be of help to a friend. However, it was not a holiday for me, working on the move. Nevertheless I like the idea of travel and work together. With that being, it sure is hard to strike balance and the key is managing time.
At home, we got welcomed by a few kids from around who were trying to build a small table out of some scraps and sumptuous homemade food made by the Golden Miso girl - Chee.
Soon after we were settled, Uday took us to a waterfall further up the hill to spend some time relaxing. It was one of the best experience I personally had outdoors; Nature can truly come with so many beautiful surprises in our lives. We took failed attempts at diving, had swimming lessons from Sonali and we laughed till our lungs burnt out. It’s fun to feel carefree and just soak in the surroundings sometimes. On the way back Chee along with Sonali picked a bag full of wild plants and vegetables for dinner. Adding a cherry on top it’s intriguing how she has an eye for wild edible plants which we had almost everyday.
Chee always carries around her sling to stow in any and every thing she’d find worth picking from around. The other day both the ladies sat down recycling some plastic bottles which are now planters and holding trays at the house.
As our time at Rishikesh unfolded we learnt Uday was Godfather to the city dogs amongst whom - Ustad (the home dog), Mirchi and Chini (her name is as tentative as the views of a political parties) and their mother - shared the house living as a family together. Good deeds. May he grow into a great human.
I have known him to be fine with cooking skills from the time when he put up in Jaipur.
One of the days we strolled the city experiencing the ongoing festivities of Durga Puja; the streets were lit up and at it’s best. Chee got all dressed up - looking beautiful in a saree one of the neighbouring aunts gifted her.
Other than the Ashram which was popularised by the Beatles in the late 60’s, Rishikesh is widely acknowledged as the 'Yoga hub of the World' and attracts masses seeking spirituality. I'm not sure if I would have myself enrolled at a Yoga class there any day in future. As of now, I am self-appreciative of the fact that I understand the idea of knowing myself and that seems igniting to me. I believe, power lies within me and If I'm ready to take the first step towards my goals, all the energy would become my helping hand.
With all said, my wanderlust got sufficed on a whim that took both Uday and me to a beautiful place few kilometres ahead of Rishikesh. On Day 1, Uday mentioned about a temple on a distant hill saying, “I wonder how would the sunrise look from there? I want to see this place one day!” It seemed as if this had to wait until the last morning as we couldn't get the plan to life in the previous days.
We both woke up before the first ray; rode to the petrol station, looked on the map and hit the spot right on time! I don't remember much from the route we took as I was still half asleep, all I do remember is layering up to stay warm.
We were at the Kunjapuri Devi temple that’s a popular spot sunrise spot. Standing atop we witnessed a breathtaking view of the Gharwal mountain range realising how great the decision to wake up early was! What could be better than a cup of hot tea? The company of Bread-pakoda of course! At the time of sunrise everything looked so mesmerising with a filled tummy. There were some stretches where I couldn't stop myself from taking photos meanwhile we absorbed every bit of energy that lingered around. We did discover a shorter hiking route from the temple towards our home which was half the distance that we had covered on the scooter.
View from Kunjapuri Devi temple
Rishikesh opened doors that I overlooked until now in my life, especially realising how life can be as easy and simpler as we make it. The crux is caring about whatever little or abundant we have. Uday’s ways made me look at life from a different perspective.
Check out some of my favourite shots from the trip!
How we experienced the Best of Andaman and Nicobar Island! CLICK HERE
Know about Bikepacking and how it is "the next widely chosen way to explore" CLICK HERE