Rishikesh is known as either the spiritual capital or the adventure capital of India. For me, with zero interest in spirituality whatsoever, it is just the adventure capital. The thing about monsoons in Rishikesh is, all adventure activities shut down completely. So, when I had to pick a place around Dehradun to rest for a day after a tiring monsoon trek to the Valley of flowers, I was very skeptical about choosing Rishikesh. Nevertheless, I trusted my instincts and went there, and I have no regrets about it.
It was my second time in Rishikesh. I had already fallen in love with this place when I had visited it the first time a few months back, during peak season, when it quenched my thirst for adrenaline with rafting, bungee and more. Monsoon being off-season here, I did not expect much, and thought of mostly chilling indoors to give my legs some much needed rest. Yes, you guessed it right, then the monsoon magic happened, and my plan went for a toss, for good.
The gentle pours of rain lifted the charm of the Himalayas by leaps and bounds, making it more than difficult for me to not get out. I first headed to the Beatles ashram, hoping to enjoy the greenery of the nature trails. It turned out to be an absolute delight (yeah well, except for the mosquito menace). Chirping birds, colourful butterflies, calm surroundings and add to that a bit of quirky graffiti, it was a perfect spot to enjoy the monsoon. Then, there are always cafes overlooking the Ganges to unwind at, which is where I went next. Watching the pitter-patter on the river, while sipping a chocolate milkshake was the second-best way to enjoy the rains (My feet would say it was the best, but don’t listen to them, they were biased).
Lastly, I went to the Neergarh waterfall that had swollen up due the rains. Involving a small trek to get close the waters, this one turned out to be a good call too.
The lush greenery, misty mountains, splashing waterfalls, and the post-rain calmness made me fall in love with Rishikesh all over again. Riding a bike around the hills with no particular destination in mind, I realized, there’s more to Rishikesh than adventure, even for the non-spirituals like me.