I have traveled in a nice amount for my age. Almost the whole of North India but my love for Rishikesh z unparalleled. I remember how my eyes were moist when we were coming back from there. In fact I remember everything no matter if its been 14 years for God Sake!
The memories of me visiting Rishikesh for the first time z not clear for the reason that I was some 4 years old kid who was travelling with his whole Biggie Big joint family. It was primarily a Chaar-Dhaam yatra! Our travel destinations included Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamnotri, Gangotri, Haridwar and Rishikesh and some other places too. Uttrakhand was still Uttar pradesh then. Now when I see the photos of that time all I make z faces with amazement and love. I can totally guess how difficult it used to be; travelling to these critically located mountain places at that time. Everytime I see my pics of Kedarnath,etc I go aww.
While the memories of my 1st trip to Uttrakhand are mainly supported by the pics I see on the family album, the Rishikesh trip which I had some 14 years ago when I was a mere 9 z still very very clear and I can bet I will never have any memory parallel to that ever again! Yeah I bet!
The second time when I visited Uttrakhand, the travel plan was confined to Rishikesh and Haridwar and I’m saying it again it was ethereal! ❤ ❤ So it was me with my BABA (granpa) Daadi maa (Granny) Mummy Bucha(my dad) my chahcha and chachi (uncle and aunt) and yeah my lill sister Jhilmil. It was a month and half stay at Swargaashram right in front of Ram Jhula, we stayed at a riverfront aashram “Geeta Bhawan” 2 and luckily managed to find a two room plus balcony stay.
Here are few worth mentioning thing which made this trip the best I have and would ever imagine to have! ❤ ❤
The daily routine and the people there
As far as I remember, Geeta bhawan no 2 was the smallest among all yet we got the biggest place there and were the only people with balcony there. It was a two storey building in the large campus and most of the people used to live in single rooms. There was even a lady who had just one bed placed outside a door but that didn’t actually matter. I never found anybody complaining. How could they? it was so magical afterall!
I remember one friend we had, a litlle girl Khushi from Kolkata, she was quite young and was always accompanied by her baby sitter Rama Dii. Khusi’s parents as her grandfather used to say were in America but we always used to wonder why would they left behind a 4 years old daughter of theirs and would move to a foreign place! I still wonder. Anyway Playing with that little angel was always a joy.
Even when I was just 9 and was living in an alien place yet me and my sister (who was 5!) had no restriction at all. we used to roam all around and would often be going place like Ghaats and temple and no body cared!
A notable routine I remember which everybody in the family and the ashram used to follow was write names of GOD Rama on a diary provided by someone in the ashram. You could always get another one when one diary gets completed! Everybody used to write and even me! I wrote it for 28000 times! Yeah! However I was far behind my grand parents and other people still It was a huge number. It used to be like a competition and I happily participated! Now I can only dream of that; writing ramnaam even for a single time with the enthusiasm same as that!
everybody from the family used to gather at this shade area where my daddy used to recite Ramayana to everybody else in the family while me and jhilmil used to play on the banks of the ganges.
In the evening I remember how me and jhilmil used to accompany Baba to the Ramjhula and from there we used to feed all the fish! Joy Joy Joy!
and the night was always pre booked for shopping and ganges aarti.
GOD it used to be so beautiful! we used to sit on the stairs of Triveni ghaat and sing Hanumaan chalisa and other aartis with the melodious singers singing with all the instruments. That was not only us but the whole Big crowd including foreigners singing in fluent hindi! I always used to get so mesmerized by the environment! The river, diyas, music, air and everything else! Each word was a blessing! ❤
In swargashram there were mainy two aasrams , Geeta bhawan and Parmarth Niketan. Parmarth Niketan was just in adjacent to the Geeta bhawan and was its richer sibling! 😉 Me and Jhilmil would often go to Parmarth Niketan and would feel envy of the people living there, God It was so beautiful! However I don’t think Geeta Bhawan was any less!
As I have said we used to live at Geeta Bhawan. Geeta Bhawn and Parmarth and Ramjhula and the beautiful ghaats, these all places are at this magical area called swargashram. I can say it with full confidence that Swargashram is the soul of Rishikesh! Its beautiful and incredible. with all the aashrams ghaats hotels shops restaurants and amazing temples, I thank my luck that I got to live at this place called Swargaashram!
Rishikesh is the solid example of that! as we were in ashram, there were a lot of people from different parts of the country/world! There were Marwaris, Gujratis, Bengalis, Biharis, people from south India and all over the places and all mingling with each other, praying and singing together z what an exceptional example of EK Bharat Shreshtha Bharat! Also there were a lot of foreigners (too many for a small are like swwargashram), so many as there was one foreigner for every 4 Indian! I had never seen this many foreigners with so this much cultural interest in The Indian culture and religion. Many of them could even speak fluent hindi and some used to wear indian attires! wow!
while I’m writing this I can feel each and every emotions I lived there. Its really tough to make u feel the same just through my writing but believe me a 9 year old was literally crying while he was returning! Though I was too young to go for a rafting or do yoga for which Rishikesh z famous for, I wish I get to feel it again!
Rishikesh z always in my heart! Always! ❤
Note: All images are taken from the google and I do not hold any right to them! I have not posted my personal pictures given some privacy concern.