I headed towards Laxman Jhula next morning. Laxman Jhula is a quite and serene place that is separated from the noise and hurry of the town of Rishikesh just a few kilometers away. The Jhula itself is a cable stayed bridge across the Ganges. Laxman Jhula has a few temples located around it, including the tall Trayambakeshwar temple. Temples apart, Ganges and the surrounding scenery look beautiful, with the river flowing out from the mountains into the plains of North India.
Ganga flowing out of foothills into Rishikesh
Laxman Jhula with temples in the backdrop
As I walk towards the bridge, I notice a man with an interesting make-up and ask him for a few photographs. He obliges gladly, and then makes a justified request for a token donation for his service. He mumbles a few words later in Hindi which I don’t understand well. I think he invited me to his Ashram and asked me to have lunch before I proceed, but I am not sure.
The man with the interesting makeup
You see three kinds of people around the Jhula. The tourists, hawkers and the babas. Some tourists are here to see the place, and some are here to experience the peace that Rishikesh offers. A few more stay on to learn Yoga or music. Rishikesh, with so many Ashrams and Yoga teaching centers justifiably dons the name of ‘Yoga Capital of the World’.
And there is variety in the things that hawkers sell. It may be a small place but there is everything that the tourist would look for. There are hotels, guest houses, restaurants, shops selling souvenirs like gems and jewelleries and shawls, money changers and everything else. Some one is baking fresh cookies across the bridge and I buy a few. An old man is baking fresh papads and they are tempting on this cold morning.
Fresh Cookies! The banner in front says fresh, hot and tasty!
As I cross the bridge and walk further, the shops give way to mango orchards and Ashrams in the middle of forest. A few noisy jungle babblers are hopping from tree to tree. I reach to Ram Jhula, another footbridge across the river akilometer downstream. The footbridges are meant for pedestrians, but two wheelers squeeze their way along, and sometimes cows feel like crossing the river too.
Swargashram is the area beyond Ram Jhoola, a quite and serene place filled with Ashrams. The small path in Swargashram area runs right next to the river, and is crowded with shops, restaurants, and internet centers on one side and ashrams on the other side. I walk past some bigger ashrams of Rishikesh like the Geeta Bhavan and Parmarth Niketan. A hoarding in front of Parmarth Niketan announced the annual Yoga festival which was about to happen on the next month(first week of March). I loved the Swargashram, its quiteness and vibes, and the Ganga flowing right next to it, and immediately checked into a neat and tidy hotel behind Parmarth Niketan.
More on Rishikesh at paintedstork.com
* Rishikesh photo gallery
* Arriving at Rishikesh.
* Walking around Laxman Jhula
* Ganga Aarthi at Rishikesh
* Photo Essay: Babas of Rishikesh
* Rishikesh to Kaudiyala
* About Rishikesh