When I visited Rishikesh, India 6 years ago, although it was phenomenal, it did not steal my whole heart the way it just did this time returning in spring 2019.
The markets, the cows, the dogs, incense burning, ashram bells ringing, the sound of the motor bikes honking nonstop, the sounds of the holy Ganga river and the cool breeze blowing from the Himalayas engulfs one into a spell of higher frequency.
There is a magical and carefree energy here that the people carry. There is a real vitality, or as Indians would call it- shakti, here.
Maybe it’s because this is the birth place of yoga, or its because there’s over 2,000 ashrams in this little city. Legend has it that monks would leave their home towns all over India to go live in caves in Rishikesh in hopes of attaining Self-Realization. That energy is alive and well there. Maybe that’s why the Beetles received so much inspiration from this mystical city.
It’s loud yet peaceful at the same time. When the sun rises, so do the markets. People are hustling there but usually just to provide a decent meal for their family. Their meals are equivalent to about $1.50 USD. They don’t need much to be happy there.
Rishikesh is definitely a city where you can go explore your soul and find it on a whole different level than you would have ever expected. It’s the perfect place to go bathe in the Ganga river to cleanse all your toxins away or do yoga several times a day while drinking chai in between. It’s someplace where you can live for well under $500 a month.
Not too many negative things to say about this hidden gem. I’m not sure how hidden of a gem it is now as it is flocking the coolest people around the world here! People who are on a hippie chic yet conscious and yogic-minded awareness vibe.
It isn’t called the yoga capital of the world for no reason. I really think people are going there more for the energy rather than the yoga.
The babas are cool too! They say you can’t trust all of them, especially those living on the streets and smoking hash mixed with nail polish paint particles. However, there are some really cool ones. They wear long orange robes, have dread locs also known as shiva jettas, smoke hashish and pray in ashrams all day.
In my honest opinion, if you are seeking something more, something deeper and you want to eat deliciously good yet cheap food? Go visit Rishikesh! Besides, you never know what kind of magic will happen to you there. You may discover the hidden yogi that’s within you emerge.