Where The Beatles once found inspiration is one of the top spiritual destinations in India today. Find out how to spend an eventful day, combining spiritual activities with leisure, in Rishikesh. By Kumar Shree
6:00 am – Practice Yoga With The First Rays Of The Sun
Give a refreshing start to the day with a private yoga session by the Ganges as the chirping of birds and soothing sound of gurgling water lend the perfect background score. Enroll in an hourly or daily session with yoga retreats and training centres, such as Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram. The institution also offers modest accommodation for those seeking long-term courses.
9:00 am – Indulge In An Italian Breakfast
A Tavola Con Te is one of the tallest icons of Italian cuisine in the temple town of Rishikesh. Founded by an Italian couple, the restaurant procures its key ingredients such as pasta, olive oil, cheese, and canned peeled tomatoes from Italy for a more authentic experience. It is also one of the few places to offer wood-fired pizzas in the city, besides a generous menu featuring dishes such as verdure griliate, tagliatelle besciamella e funghi, and al capperi e olive di kalamata.
11:00 am – Enjoy Unparalleled Views On A Zip-Line
Besides holistic wellness, the other big factor that draws visitors to Rishikesh is the bevy of adventure activities on offer here. Flying Fox is one of the leading operators to follow international safety standards in the region. Try zip-lining 200 feet above River Ganges while absorbing spectacular views of the Himalayan foothills. One can also try the more popular white river rafting experience at Shivpuri—the epicentre of adventure activities in Rishikesh.
1.30 pm – Try Local Cuisine In A Mango Orchard
The Glasshouse on the Ganges is a luxury resort set amidst litchi and mango orchards overlooking the Ganges and Himalayan foothills. Its singular dining destination uses local produce to curate Tehri-Garhwal dishes such as kafuli, prepared with spinach and fenugreek leaves, and phaanu, a soupy dish served with rice.
3:30 pm – Meditate Where The Beatles Once Composed Music
Having rose to prominence only recently, the Chaurasi Kutia Ashram or The Beatles Ashram (as it is now referred to) is where the ‘Fab Four’ once stayed and meditated under the guidance of a spiritual guru. It is believed that the pop band composed over 50 songs during their stay here in 1968. The ashram was thrown open to the public in 2016 by the forest department and features murals and graffiti of the musical legends and other iconic artists.
5:00 pm – Rejuvenate Tired Muscles With Ayurveda
After spending the day outdoors, recharge your batteries with a relaxing Ayurveda wellness treatment. A traditional Ayurvedic massage using herbal oils by an experienced masseur can work wonders on tired nerves and muscles. Choose from the holistic treatments offered at Vilasa Spa by Tattva and allow the quiet and the sylvan setting to refresh your senses.
6:30 pm – Witness Ganga Aarti
One of the prime highlights of a trip to Rishikesh is the Ganga Aarti held on the banks of the holy river. A group of young saints pay obeisance to the River Ganges as sounds of bells and mantras reverberate the space creating a deeply spiritual atmosphere. Held everyday during mornings and evenings, the aarti is a big draw among foreign travellers and photographers.
7:30 pm – Surprise Your Partner With A Romantic Dinner
The mystical setting of Rishikesh calls for a romantic candlelit dinner by the riverside. Jal & Jalebi is among the few fine dining spots in Rishikesh, which overlooks the mighty Ganges and serves a mix of local and international cuisines. If you enjoy cooking with your partner, the restaurant allows guests access to the live kitchen where they can learn recipes of local dishes under the guidance of a team of chefs.
9:30 pm – Explore The Bylanes
Travel like a local by exploring the bylanes on a late evening stroll. Here, you’ll stumble upon numerous temples in as many shapes and sizes!, holymen in meditation, and food stalls selling local chaat or snacks. The Chotiwala is a popular chaat destination. One should also visit the ghats during this time to spend some quiet time.
11: 00 pm – Spend The Night Under The Stars
Camping is a quintessential experience in Rishikesh. Camp Panther by Snow Leopard Adventures offers riverside safari tents in the midst of the Sal Forest. Activities to look forward to include nature walks, rock climbing, trekking, and of course spending the night under the stars.