Rishikesh, India – the Holy City

Beatles Ashram

Rishikesh is said to be the yoga capital of the world. You will find many ashrams and yoga schools there. The Beatles came to Rishikesh in 1968 to learn transcendental meditation. They were invited by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to his ashram, which now is called The Beatles Ashram.  You can see couple of pictures from their stay there here. It is open for sightseeing – 600 INR for foreigners. It is a bit expensive but totally worth it.

The Holy City

Rishikesh is also known as the Holy City – you cannot buy any meat, alcohol or cigarettes in the city. It got its name from the God Vishnu, who appeared as Lord Rishikesh to Rabhya rishi after his austerities. It is also believed that Lord Rama did penance here to kill the demon king Ravana. His younger brother Laxman or Lakshman crossed the Ganga river using a jute rope bridge, which later got the name Lakshmana or Laxman Jhula.

Laxman Jhula Bridge

Millions of Hindus come here every year hoping to absolve their sins by bathing in the holy Ganga.

I came across this video Youtube – one of the cities futures in the video is Rishikesh. It is a special city.

Ganga aarti (river worship ceremony)

An aarti is a ritual that uses fire as an offering. It’s usually made in the form of a lit lamp, and in the case of the Ganges River, a small diya with a candle and flowers that’s floated down the river. The offering is made to the Goddess Ganga, goddess of the most holy river in India.

Restaurants and coffee shops

There are so many places with nice affordable food: Little Buddha Cafe, Oasis Cafe, Shambala Cafe (great view), Chatsang Cafe (one of my favorites), Cafe Madras, Omkar cafe.

Chatsang Cafe

Chatsang Cafe

There is one I would not recommend – Beatles Cafe (overrated and overpriced).

Temples

Parmath Niketan with its amazing Hanuman statue.

Bhootnath temple – nice view over the city.

Sita Ram Dham – stunning view over the Ganges. Check the gift shop – nice bracelets.

Rishikesh market

Whatever you need, you will find it there. Food, clothes, kitchen equipment – all is there.

To sum up – this is special place, tourist friendly, affordable. I liked it. But also be careful with all the healers, reiki experts and so on. Many of them are conmen.

Mysore, India – yogis’ asylum

This is my second trip to India. After visiting Rishikesh, Morjim (Goa) and Mumbai I am now in Mysore.

What brought me here? Again yoga. If you are an ashtangi at some point you may want to go to Mysore to study in the famous KPJAYI. It is the ashtanga yoga institute founded by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois – now run by his grandson Sharath Jois.

I will not go into details about applying and getting accepted. The fact is – I am here. I tried 3 times and finally I made it.

I stay in Gokulam 3rd Stage where the school is – It is quit nice district, maybe a little posh as for India.

I did some sightseeing finally (for the first time there was no rain for the whole day). Here are the places I visited. 🙂

1. Mysore Palace

Absolutely beautiful – I was amazed by this place. All the practical info at the official website. Entry is 50 rupees. At the entrance there is a stand with the information which audiobook you can download. I did that – was really cool to listen, many interesting facts about the palace – without audiobook it is kind of pointless. Unless you just want to take selfies. 😉 Oh and you walk barefoot. 😉

2. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya – museum

I went there by accident – I just went out of the Mysore Palace and walked around. It is really quiet place – no one was there at the time of my presence. Nice art, sculptures – not many pieces but it’s worth visiting. Entrance is free.

3. Food

Puri –  masala puri and bhelpuri are my favorite – all about puris you can watch in the video I posted in my article about Mumbai – Love big cities? Let’s meet one of the biggest cities in the world – Mumbai!

Gobi roll – Indian sandwich with cauliflower filling. Soooo good.

Masala chai – the best with a biscuit in a local chai place.

Masala dosa – the Best at Hotel Vinayaka Mylari (Shop No. 79, Nazarbad Main Road, Doora)

Absolutely amazing – crispy but at the same time puffy and light. Perfectly seasoned filling accompanied by coconut chutney.

I could eat only there.

Oh and it cost 40 rupies.

4. Karanji Kere Lake Park & Boating

Lots of birds, quiet – No Honking 😉, romantic – mainly couples. It is a Cool place to go if you want to enjoy nature and escape the loud Mysore.

4. Jaganmohan Palace Art Gallery

While the building itself is not maintained Well the collection it hides is just stunning.

Beautiful oil paintings, chairs, hancrafted items, modern paintings.

Also they are working on an audiobook – which I could test! Lucky me.

More to come!

An update on where to go and What to see later this month.