New Delhi 00:00 hrs
Excitement gushed through the body while I waited along with my college friends and teachers for the tempo-traveller to reach the pick-up spot near Akshardham temple. All of us were unaware of the frequent bites of the bloodthirsty mosquitoes and warm breeze brushing the hair, and thus the much awaited journey began.
Day – 1
The tempo traveller swallowed the distance while music was playing in the background. Though the music was loud, the mind was at peace and the only thing that was in the mind was ‘SLEEP’. Around 3:30 am, we stopped at a Dhaba enroute. Eating food and drinking coffee was as sweet as the trip which had just begun. It was around 6 in the morning when we made our next stop at Haridwar. While some of us dipped our feet in the ice cold Ganges, others decided to take a full dip which they regretted a while after. After a quick cup of tea we started our journey again and this time straight to Rishikesh. We halted thinking we had reached the Hotel Orange Classic where we have made reservation for our stay, and got out only to realise that we have to trek down to reach the hotel. We walked and walked, carrying our heavy backpacks, taking breathers lasting a few seconds in between, we finally reached the hotel. But we reached quite early than the normal check-in time and only two of the rooms were free and so we divided ourselves into two groups and rushed into the rooms. We freshened up and went out for breakfast to The Little Buddha Café. The view was pretty amazing and so was the food. Then we got half an hour for ourselves before we headed to our first visiting site of the day ‘The Beatles Ashram’. I along with some friends headed to the bank of Ganga, dipped our feet. There we met a girl who hails from London and soon we became friends. The water of the years old river looked clean, so clean that I could see the river bed. It was hard to believe that this is the much criticized river for being filled with pollutants. After going back to the hotel and taking our bags we headed towards the Beatles Ashram by foot. Ah! We walked a lot and in fact a few of us got lost but luckily found the way. The Ashram was indeed grey-haired but it had its own beauty.
After exploring the Ashram, while going for the Abhyangam or massage session, sneakily I ate a candy bar. Oh my God, it tasted heavenly as I was famished. After a small session of photo-shoot there, I twisted my foot and fell down while going back. It hurt awfully bad but I smiled and laughed saying I was alright. I mean I had to. Some of us drank Shikani while others ate Ice gola. After reaching the Abhyanga center they required a volunteer for the demonstration of massage techniques for which Rajneesh was chosen. I must say that he had a great time. After the teacher completed the demonstration, he asked if any one of us were interested in practically doing it for which I raised my hand first and I did it.
We were starving after the day’s activities and so we had a light meal. The Thali I ordered was palatable. Then it was time for us to go and watch the Ganga Aarti. What a sight it was! The sacred chants that filled the air, the lamps that spoke of the lord’s name with their thousand tongues were a sight to behold!
Unfortunately I couldn’t stand for a long time and see the entire thing as my foot was hurting a lot. Then we went and dipped our feet in water and then headed back to the hotel. After reaching the hotel, we took rest, then freshened up and went for dinner. After dinner we again went for dipping our feet in the Ganges. After some time we decided to go back to the hotel. After reaching the hotel, I thought of calling my parents before going to bed but didn’t as I didn’t want to make them worry on hearing about my foot. Just as I thought that, my mother called me. While talking to her I felt like crying, being in pain, and because I missed her and my father.
We had to wake up very early, around 4 am to go for guided meditation and a yoga session at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram.The session was very vibrant, opened almost all our chakras.
After the session we had a Fire Ceremony, chanted many mantras and the Gayatri mantra 108 times. It felt electrifying and my foot which was hurting me very badly even during the yoga class, hurt less. It seemed like chanting the Gayatri mantra 108 times gave relief to my foot. Afterwards, we went for breakfast which was pleasant. While going back to the hotel, we stopped at the Osho Beach. It was mesmerizing. We all jumped into the water without thinking twice. We recorded one round of Surya Namaskar as well. After reaching the hotel and changing the dress we went for a session of Sound Healing. The session started and it was beautiful. It was very relaxing and phenomenal. I was so relaxed that mid-way I fell asleep. After the session was over and I got up, my mind felt as light as a breeze. Then we went for rafting. Nine of us were in one raft together. It was an amazing journey.
I was scared at first to be honest but being with my friends made my fear vanish. There were four rapids and the first one was the scary and the exciting one out of all. In the first rapid our raft almost turned and all of us were almost on the floor. After a while we were told that those who want to
get into the water can and almost all of us did. The water was freezing cold but I managed. While others went to the front using the rope, I decided to stay near the raft as I was scared. After I was done being in the water I was pulled back into the raft. The boy pulled me up like a leaf, very easily. But it was an experience. Then once all of us were back in the raft we started rowing again and stopped at Maggie Point. We ate Maggie, drank tea and then continued on our way. We reached back at the shore after some time and then went back to the hotel, freshened up and left for dinner. Some of us felt like eating something Indian and went to a Dhaba ‘The Purple Dhaba’, where the food was amazing. We all ordered a Thali and it was really delicious.
We went to the banks of Ganga once again just to admire the beauty. Then after some time and after a small photoshoot we went to a café and ordered Lemonade and went back to the hotel and slept.
Day – 3
Our third day started with Ashtanga – Vinyasa yoga session. It was quite a remarkable experience. Then we went for breakfast. After some time our teachers also joined us in the same restaurant. Even others who skipped their breakfast on previous days also joined us on that day. After the breakfast was done we went back to the hotel, changed our clothes and packed our bags and were ready to go to our next destination – Uddibaba Camp. The view was amazing.
And once we reached the camp it was even more amazing. We went to their pool, dipped our feet while waiting for lunch. Once we were done with lunch we went trekking to Neer Falls and swam there for a while. After we trekked back to the camp we changed into dry clothes and got ready to eat our evening snacks. Once that was over and while the others decided to go for dancing, some of us decided to sit and relax. After some time when we went inside we saw our teachers and the camp owners, who are their friends playing a game and we decided to join them. At first, I didn’t understand the game but then after one round I got the knack of it. As I was not leading in the beginning, I honestly thought I would not win but in the end I got lucky and won the game. Then we all went for dinner. Around 12:30 a.m. we all went to sleep. In the morning we got up, woke our friends and freshened up changed our clothes and was waiting for breakfast. After we were done with breakfast we posed for one final photo and left for boarding the tempo-traveller. And our journey once again began, but this time back to home. On the way we stopped at Patanjali University and boy it was huge!
We explored the University, met our teacher’s teacher, and continued back home. We stopped at a Dhaba for lunch. I was craving for some Papadi Chaat but unfortunately they didn’t have it. After lunch and the kulfis we were back on the road and we had some entertainment. We reached Delhi and started getting down. Finally I reached home around 6:30 pm.
This was an enchanting experience, one that I will never forget. Being with my friends made my mind and heart happy. It made me feel good, at the right place at the right time.
Name:- Nandana Krishna Menon