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Rishikesh is a small town in Uttarakhand and one of the most spiritual places in India. On your Rishikesh trip, this place offers lots of things to do. Over the past few years, Rishikesh has been an important destination for tourists from all over the world. Spiritual seekers from around the world travel to the birthplace of yoga to experience spirituality and authentic ancient Indian culture. Located on the banks of the holy river Ganges in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is most famous for being the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’.

Also Read Rishikesh- My Travel Experience

 Creative Wall Of Rishikesh
Wall Of Rishikesh

List Of Things To Do In Rishikesh In My Way

If you want to travel somewhere, you have to do something according to the specialty of that place. In this blog, I will share some things about Rishikesh. When you come to Rishikesh, you can enjoy the journey of Rishikesh through these top must-do things. And Of course, let me know by commenting on this blog if you have any new information about Rishikesh.

1. Take A Walk

Take A Walk Rishikesh Morning
Take A Walk

Take a walk along the banks of river Ganga from Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula Bridge. Although a little crowded, this walking experience is very impeccable. During this walk, you will see colorful wall paintings on various walls across Rishikesh. And it’s impossible to come back without taking pictures of those wall paintings. Besides the graffiti, the beautiful Himalayan range would offer you a great experience for a lifetime. It is impossible to forget the breathtaking view.

2. Sit On The Ghats

Sit On The Ghats
Sit On The Ghat

I recommend in the morning but you can choose your own time to sit on the ghats. The architecture of all the Rishikesh ghats is very old. All the ghats of Rishikesh have different types of rituals throughout the day. The feeling of sitting on the banks of an ancient river in an ancient city of India is really worth full. The two famous ghats of Rishikesh are Tribeni and Parmarth. Tribeni Ghat is famous for the confluence of three sacred rivers- Ganga, Jamuna, and Saraswati. As per the documents submitted by the Harayana government in the recent case, around 6000 years ago the Saraswati river disappeared due to tectonic disturbances, impacting its tributaries. But as per popular belief, the river is alive and flowing underground.

I never used to be alone in ghats. Strays, and puppies used to come and play with me. I love animals. If you love them too, then you will be showered by their unconditional love.

3. Experience Authentic Yoga

Hey, If you are in Rishikesh, then you are in the Yoga Capital of the world. So just experience it. This ancient place is the hub of many renowned yoga schools and meditation centers. You can take a yoga retreat program or yoga teacher training for in-depth knowledge of yoga and add a spiritual experience to your journey.

Also, Read Yoga Indias Most Successful Export To The World

4. Witness The Ganga Arati

Never miss this colorful Ganga Arati on the Triveni Ghat. Ganga Aarti is an event held every evening on the banks of the river Ganga at Rishikesh, Varanasi, and Haridwar. Lots of people come from different places to witness this Aarti. Be sure to get there early to get a great seat because it’s something you don’t want to miss. It is a view, you can never forget. In front of the river, so many lamps may show you the divine presence.

Also, Read Travel Precautions During Covid-19

5. Do Adventure Sports For your Lifetime Memories

Rishikesh River Rafting (Google Image)
River Rafting (Google Image)

If you are looking for some adventure sports then Rishikesh is the only perfect destination. As Rishikesh is the adventure capital of India, you will not be disappointed to do any adventure here. If you are a true adventure seeker, activities like river rafting, cliff jumping, and bungee jumping will be on your list. If you want to go river rafting you can go to any booking spot and book river rafting for that day. But if you want to do bungee jumping, you have to take your booking several days in advance. There are also many shops in Rishikesh which can book various adventure sports for you. So add some memorable adventure to your Rishikesh trip.

6. Visit The Beatles Ashram

Beatles Ashram
Beatles Ashram

There are many ashrams in Rishikesh. But Beatles Ashram adds another dimension of importance to the map of Rishikesh. Beatles Ashram is also known as Chaurasi Kutia. It is located on the east bank of the river Ganges. It was a training center for students of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from 1960 to 1970, who developed the transcendental meditation technique. In the year 1968, The Beatles visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram for transcendental meditation. It really put Rishikesh on the map. Then this Chaurasi Kutia ashram became the Beatles Ashram popular with the whole world. Nowadays the ashram is abandoned but it is still an interesting place to visit. Also, this place is very popular for photography.

Also, Read 10 Amazing Things To Do In-Home When You Can’t Travel

7. Jungle Safari In Rajaji National Park

Rajaji National Park Jeep Safari
Rajaji National Park Jeep Safari

If you like the jungle, if you like animals, then in no way you should miss the jungle safari of Rajaji National Park. Lots of deer, elephants, and tigers can be seen on the 2 hours jeep safari of Rajaji National Park. There are plenty of counters in Rishikesh Market from where you can book Jeep Safari of Rajaji National Park. In My personal opinion, rather than going to a zoo to see animals in captivity, going on a jungle safari, and seeing them in the open jungle is much more thrilling.

8. Don’t Miss the Cafe With View

The unique natural beauty of Rishikesh is one of the reasons why people from all over the world come to visit. There is nothing more relaxing than grabbing a coffee/ chai or delicious food at one of the many cafes and just taking in the breathtaking scenery. There are many good small and cozy cafes all over Rishikesh. Some of my favorite cafes are Ganga view cafe, Freedom Cafe, and LittleBudha cafe.

Please Note Being a holy city, alcohol and non-vegetarian food are banned in Rishikesh.

View From Ganga View Cafe
View From Ganga View Cafe
Real Addiction Rishikesh
Real Addiction

Also, Read Experience A Train Journey

Your Things To Do

Rishikesh may hit differently to different people. I have shared mine. And it is very important to know your side of the story too. There can’t be anything worth sharing your own experience. So here I am, waiting for your comments. So that next time I re-visit Rishikesh I can see the place with a new lens. Share your things-to-do experience.

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About Me

Cover Picture Source By Google Image

An Indian village with no front doors, shops that are always unlocked, and residents who are never feeling unsafe. Anyone can walk into your home or shop in this village there are no doors and no locks. But no one will steal. If someone does, they will suffer from ‘sade-sati’, a period of seven years of bad luck.

This is the story of Shani Shingnapur, a village in India’s Maharashtra state. Where villagers avoid their security because of their undying faith in Lord Shani, the god of Saturn, who is considered the guardian of the village.

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Village house with no door concept
Google Image
Google Image

Story Behind The Doorless Indian Village 

According to legend, a heavy black slab of rock washed up on the shores of the Panasnala River. Which once flowed through the village, about 300 years ago after a bout of rain and flooding. When a local shepherd touched the 1.5m boulder with a stick, blood started oozing out of it. Lord Shani appeared in the shepherd’s dreams later that night, telling him that the stone was his idol. The shepherd asked the Lord for permission to build a temple for him, but he refused. He wanted to be placed in the heart of the village without shelter, so he could look over around freely. He promised the shepherd that he will protect the village from any dangers and mishaps.

Also Read When I met little God In Shantiniketan

Loard Sani temple  In Shinganapur
Loard Sani temple In Shinganapur (Google Image)

Faith In The God

Since this day, the village has placed all its faith in god. The villagers installed the huge slab on a roofless platform in the heart of town, they decided to discard all doors and locks. They didn’t need them anymore, not with the Lord to watch over them. This remote Indian village, Shani Shingnapur attracts devotees from across India. At least 40,000 visitors pour in each day to see the once-humble shrine that has grown into a large temple with extensive property and donations.

Google Image

Now It Is A 300 Year Old Tradition

This tradition has continued for generations. Locals sometimes lean wooden panels against their front door frames to keep stray dogs out, but they don’t have permanent doors. Villagers leave their jewellery and money unsecured, firmly believing that their holy guardian will protect them from any mishap. Local lore says that a man who built a door outside his home had an accident the next day. Even the public toilets in the village square just have a thin curtain at the entrance for privacy.

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lockless Goverment Office In Shani Shingnapur

Even post offices and police stations do not have doors here. The United Commercial Bank opened its first “lockless” branch in Shani Shingnapur in 2011. It has a glass entrance and a remote-controlled electromagnetic lock that is barely visible to respect the sentiments of the villagers.

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Belief VS Superstition

Although Shani Shingnapur has officially remained free from thefts for centuries. However, many villagers now strongly feel that it is time to get rid of the superstition. Until 2010, Shingnapur had not reported any cases of theft. However the next year, gold ornaments worth Rs70,000 went missing from the home of a temple trustee. The no-door policy has become such an important belief for the village and its economy, that many cases even go unreported. Many peoples argue that the low crime rate in the area is due to the village’s remote location rather than the miraculous powers of the lord.

Also Read Nagaland Is NOT What You Think

Travel brings surprises with a new trip. Travel teaches me how to earn people. I always get excited before traveling to a new place and rarely fall asleep the night before. Before my trip to Nagaland, I got to hear a lot about the place from known and unknown people. Those were so full of predictions and hallucinations that a normal person would drop the idea of visiting Nagaland. But when I finally reached Nagaland, I was overwhelmed to see the Naga people’s hospitality.

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The Unknown Trip

During a trip, we get to mingle with locals which is vital too. And once we get to mix with them, their culture, their life becomes much easier for us to understand. During my Nagaland trip, I get in touch with some Nagas. We gel very easily, which smoothen my way to understand their culture. I have a lot of stories in this regard, all in all, this blog will not end in one page, it may become a little book. The story I will share here has changed my whole thought about Nagaland and its people.

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The Naga Hospitality

Hornbill Festival is one of the biggest tribe festivals in Nagaland. More than two lakh people from all over the world come here every year to attend this festival. The main purpose of this festival is to showcase the culture of the sixteen tribes of Nagaland to the whole world through the carnival. And I meet here some local people who are my age. I get a lot of information about Naga culture, Naga food, and their daily life from them. They tell me about some authentic naga food and for my first-time experience, they order some of the items too. And no one allows me to pay the bill. The reason for them is simple and straight, they can’t allow their guest to pay for anything.

Also Read When I met little God In Shantiniketan

Cheers

New Bonding

Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do. Life is beautiful because of the people we meet. The people of Nagaland have made me feel like family. After our lunch at the Hornbill Festival, they drive me to different places around Kisama village. It turns out to be a special evening for me in Nagaland. I remember the moment when they take me to a hill to have coffee. We sit for a long time there and sing Hindi movie songs with hot coffee. At that moment it feels like I am at home with my people. They all start forcing me to spend my rest days in Nagaland with them in their house and I can no longer stay at my guest house.

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New Bonding

They Are Waiting

The next morning a car comes to pick me from my guest house. They talk to the guest house owner and pick me from there. For the next few days, I belong to a Kohima house. I don’t know the name of that place.

From morning to afternoon, we roam around various places in Nagaland. I taste a lot of authentic Naga food, which is not usually found in any restaurant, only made at Naga home. They never miss keeping my only request of one cup of tea in the morning. They request their Bengali neighbors for that tea. I don’t know how to say thank you to them. Every night we go to parties at hidden places in Nagaland. One night I pay our food bills secretly. But as they find out, they request me not to insult their culture. I feel ashamed. At that moment I don’t know what to say to them.

Also, Read Nagaland is NOT what you think

On the day of my return, they insist on driving me from Kohima to Dimapur. Kohima to Dimapur it’s around 4hr journey. I can’t let that happen. And somehow I manage to convince them. I already have my bus ticket from Kohima. I still remember when they come to see me off at the bus stand, we all group hugged. They say that next year too they will wait for me.

Also, Read My Extended Naga Family In Nagaland

Naga By Birth ..love the tagline

Also, read Travel Precautions During Covid-19

Hanoi is a perfect blend of history and contemporary. The city is being developed for over 1000 years since 1010, because of the constant destructions by the different invaders from time to time. It inspires the visitors with its combination of oriental lifestyle, French colonial construction, tree-lined roads, and peaceful lakes. 

Also Read The Land Of Festivals -Nagaland

Found Yourself In Old Quarter:

In Hanoi, make sure to head to the Old Quarter. This is the historic heart and commercial centre of the city. It’s noisy with heavy traffic, but it is a collection of about 36 streets, which all specialize in selling goods like jewellery, pillows, shirts, baskets, toys, shoes, sunglasses etc. You can find many bars; restaurants and the biggest demonstration of street food places and the travel agencies, which are selling tours to Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Perfume Pagoda etc.

TIP: 

Make sure to survey online before booking a tour in one of the agencies. In Old Quarter make your landmark St. Joseph’s Cathedral church it’s been there since the late 1886s. It’s popular and a meeting place in the city. Be careful with the directions as the difference of language may create confusion for you. 

Also Read Best Day Trips from Hanoi

Hanoi Train street
Train Street

Train Street: 

Just before the train speeds past, with a couple of feet of clearance, drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors and the bikes pulled to the side of the road. The train passes the narrow road early in the route that connects Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. It is located between Le Duan and Kham Tien street in the Old Quarter. Homes and business go side by side of the railway lines. You can enjoy your snacks and coffee while experiencing a train to pass an inch away. 

Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake

Walk Around Hoan Kiem Lake:

In the centre of the Old Quarter, beautiful and charming Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Turtle Lake) is one of the unmissable things with amazing views. The best part is that there are no cars and no scooters, so it’s a nice break from the terrible traffic of Hanoi. You just need to cross the red bridge which leads to the island at the centre of the lake, as this is where the lovely Ngon temple is located. The Turtle God’s figure is persevered there, which makes you believe the myth. It costs 20000 Vietnamese Dong (VDN), which is less than $1.

Temple of Literature Hanoi
Temple of Literature

Visit The Temple Of Literature:

Dedicated to Confucius, the temple was built in 1070. It then became a male university for Mandarin students. Around the temple, there are stelae which are dedicated to the students. To know the civilization and, presently, you just need to know their past. 

Also Read Hanoi Egg Coffee

Take A Ride: 

On the sidewalks, you will find many drivers with their motorbikes, who are ready to take you anywhere around the city if you ask. You can also use the apps Grab or Uber to book a ride. It’s cheap.

Ta Hien street  Vietnam
Ta Hien street PC- levitalks.com

Be In The Beer Street:

Known as “Beer Street” Ta Hien street is THE place to party on any night of the week. In this area, everyone is sitting outside on small chairs, drinking beer and eating BBQ with their friends before heading to the clubs until the early hours of the morning. Grab a local beer and wander around Ta Hien to see street performers!

One pillar Pagoda Hanoi
One pillar Pagoda

Visit Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda:

Hanoi has a variety of museum. Check out Hoa Lo Prison, Ho Chi Minh Museum and Fine Arts Museum. Uncle Ho’s figure is preserved in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Close to that, there also is Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and the One Pillar Pagoda, which are two of the utmost famous Hanoi attractions. 

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Please Note: 

The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is closed after 10:30 A.M and on Monday and Friday.

Hanoi Opera House:

One of the most beautiful buildings in Hanoi is the Opera House, which was built in 1911 under French rule, now known as the French Quarter. The Opera House was pretty much left to the elements when the French left Vietnam, but it was renovated in 1997. You can experience Vietnamese opera performances, concerts and even ballet. The prices start at around $4.

Go To The Water Puppet Show:

The Water Puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a huge tourist attraction. The “classic puppet show” in water, consists of strange instruments and entirely held in Vietnamese, showcases Vietnamese way of life, culture and even religion. The show lasts about one hour and it costs around $10.

Go Shopping:

Vietnam is an excellent shopping destination. There are various markets around Hanoi. One of the most famous ones is the Dong Xuan Market. The building is anything but charming, but if you passed the fish section, it can be a cool place to shop. The market closes at 7:00 pm.

Weekend Night Market:

Open only on weekends, starting at about 7 PM and going until about midnight, you will find hundreds of mini vendors side by side in tents selling everything from shirts to Shoes to lamps. You should bargain for everything. 

TIP: 

Sharpen your bargaining skills well!

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If you can smell better then you can see better and can hear better. That means all your senses are working fine and you are safe and sound. To protect your senses, your family’s senses you must visit The Perfume Pagoda in Vietnam as the “Viet” does. Besides the blessings, as a bonus, we will get to see something so beautiful, so serene, so peaceful that you will never forget. This striking complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines is built into the Karst cliffs of Huong Tich Cave (Mountain of the Fragrant Traces). Among the better-known sites are Chua Thien Tru (Pagoda Leading to Heaven); Chua Giai Oan Chu (Purgatorial Pagoda), where the faithful believe deities purify souls, cure suffering, and grant offspring to childless families; and Huong Tich Chu (Pagoda of the Perfumed Vestige).

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Perfume Pagoda
Perfume Pagoda

Position: 

This pilgrim is extremely popular with Vietnamese tourists from February to April. It is located about 60 km southwest of Hanoi; and getting here requires a journey first by road, then by the river, then on foot or by cable car. The journey is half the fun, but don’t try and do it without a guide: most tour operators offer day-return trips here from US$30 to US$50, which serves the purpose. From Hanoi you need to travel by car for two hours to My Duc. There you can go to the restroom, drink tea and buy offerings for the pilgrims as well. Then take a small boat, rowed by women from the local village, to the foot of the mountain.

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The Journey of perfume pagoda
The way Google Image

The Journey: 

The entertaining boat trip takes an hour and travels along scenic waterways between limestone cliffs. Allow a couple more hours to climb to the top and return. The path to the summit is steep in places, and if it’s raining, the ground can get very slippery. There’s also a cable car to the summit (one way/ 100,000 – return/160,000d); a smart approach is to take the cable car up and walk down. The bus journey, an hour’s boat ride, half an hours trekking will reach you to the first pagoda. And there the history and story will take you to the era of the medieval age. 

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The Myths:

Perfume Pagoda

Thien Tru Pagoda:

As a popular belief, if you don’t pray here, the sky will be angry on you. Thien Tru Pagoda is also known as Heaven’s Kitchen. The starlight falls exactly on the spot where the king’s kitchen was, there the entire kingdom’s food used to be cooked.

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Huong Tich Chu Pagoda:

Post pleasing the sky you can climb up more 3 storied stairs and take a ropeway ride to reach the second pagoda, Huong Tich Chu, which belongs to the lady buddha. The Cave Pagoda has the appearance of an open dragon’s mouth with Chu Nho characters carved in a wall at the mouth of the cave. Again, a breathtaking visual and mind goggling story is waiting for you, how the younger daughter of a King became the lady Buddha with thousand hands and eyes post the greatest selfless sacrifice.

Inside of pagoda

On the route from Thien Tru to Huong Tich cave is Giai Oan Temple, also called ‘Clearing Unjust Charges’ Pagoda. There is a pond called Thien Nhien Thanh Tri (Natural Blue Pond), also called Long Tuyen Well, and Giai Oan stream, with its 9 sources.

Perfume Pagoda I recommend as a must if you fit to take the journey. 

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Find Your Reason To Visit Hanoi:

Things To Do In Hanoi

Vietnam is the port of Southeast Asia because of its position on the world map. And it occupies the eastern portion of the mainland. Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital with a growing population above 9 million people and It is located in the northern part of the country. Because of its scenic beauty, Vietnam’s popularity is increasing day by day among travelers. Therefore, you will get to see a lot of tourists and backpackers in Hanoi, mostly Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Australians. As a result, civics has become more outgoing, more subtle. They are positive about the mixing as well as overseas friends.

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In large Hanoi, the most happening place we will get to see is the Old Quarter. And here you can chill 2 – 3 days max while visiting loads of cafes, restaurants, hotels, bars, lounges, markets, clubs, street food vendors, and many more. Another, the city generally closes around 7 to 8 pm, except for the night market.

Hanoi train street
Hanoi Train Street

Besides Old Quarter you must visit Tay Ho (means West Lake). Generally, refugees and English teachers live in this part. That’s why it has all the fancy restaurants and foreign foods to offer. So, you can change your taste there when you want to.

A local told me once, “we have a population of 10 million with 8 million motorbikes”. And it is true because buying a car is a luxury to the Viet. While buying one, they have to pay almost 40 percent road tax. So, motorbikes save their lives and money day to day basis. But you may face challenges while crossing the streets. Hence, you must keep maintaining your pace while walking and crossing the road, then the drivers will go around you. If you slow down or speed up, then there might be trouble.

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The People PC The Statesman

Hanoi People:

People in Hanoi mostly love to spend time chilling outside on the streets, drinking tea and spitting sunflower seeds, sitting in small chairs and tables. Nobody seems to be in a rush. You might find it a sight. If you are not very tall you can also enjoy the sit.

They mostly don’t speak English or speak at a very beginner level, except the workers in hotels, restaurants, cafes, and college-goers. So, it is necessary for you to be prepared.

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Vietnamese Words To Know:

It is in your best interest to learn a few Viet words for interactions as I told you earlier people are not good with English. PFB a few essentials:

Xin Chao – Hello

Cam On – Thank you

Khong co chi – You are welcome

Hen gap lai – See you again

Tam Biet – Goodbye

Ban giup toi duoc khong – Can you help me

Xin Loi – Excuse me

Money & Prices –

Vietnamies Dong

The currency is the Vietnamese Dong, and the exchange rate is $1 = 23,000 DONG as of February 2020. Therefore, in Hanoi, you may feel like a millionaire and it can boggle your mind. But my advice is to start shopping for the reality check, as a bottle of water will cost you 20,000 DONGS. With the exception, everything in Hanoi is cash only, so make sure to have double as much cash as you think you’ll need. Also, it’s pretty normal to be confused with Vietnamese Dong.

That being said, almost everything is cheap in Hanoi – $1 for a bowl of Pho, $0.50 for a taxi ride around the city, and $1 for a T-shirt! Just sharpens your bargain skills. And don’t be fooled.

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