Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganga River (Ganges), breathes deeply and moves at a slower pace much like the yoga practices for which it is famous.
Away from the noise, smog and high energy of Delhi, Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganga River (Ganges), breathes deeply and moves at a slower pace much like the yoga practices for which it is famous. Take a peek at Rainforest House’s intimate, secluded riverside accommodations; stroll through Rishikesh as people and animals go about their daily lives; walk backstreets and pass the former ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi into which the Beatles retreated in 1968; attend an aarti and find a perfect place to meditate.
Address/Directions: down from ‘Nir Gaddu forest chowkie’, Brahmpuri, 3km north of Laxman Jhula, Badrinath road,, Rishikesh
Phone: +91 80 06 779298
Travelin’Ted review for Trip Advisor
“A WELCOME & REFRESHING STAY”
After New Delhi’s ‘city intensity’, the slow, quiet pace, clean air and natural surroundings of Rainforest House was a refreshing respite. Steve and his wife, Trupte, have built a unique environment for their guests and describe what they offer, and do not offer, in detail on their website. Some might think the out-of-town location, the walks up and down from the road or to the river’s edge and the lack of tv, negatives whereas others view them as positives. Read their website carefully and make your own decision.
The clean rooms are spacious; simply, yet tastefully appointed ( I would have liked hooks or hangers for clothing); and offered comfortable beds with fresh linens. In November there was no need for air conditioning as the open screened windows allowed a cool breeze into the room along with the sound of the tumbling creek.
The Rainforest’s café/lounge is a wonderful place to enjoy quiet time, breathe in the fresh air, visit with other guests and linger over a pot of tea while the breeze rustles through the shade trees; or are those the monkeys playing? We were never rushed. Wifi connection is available in the café/lounge. A spacious open room upstairs is ideal for yoga but there are other spots around the property and down by the river which also inspire yoga movement or meditation.
The chef is very adept at working with what is fresh from the market and the chalkboard menu changes daily with healthy, delicious choices. To allow him time to prepare the best, guests are requested to place their dinner orders after breakfast.
The Rainforest House’s private riverbank with its large rocks and silver-sparkling powder-soft sand is a wonderful place to breathe and relax, do yoga or watch kayakers and river rafts navigate the Ganga. A special memory is sitting on one of the large riverside rocks watching the sunrise over the Ganga while chirping birds announce the beginning of another day in India.
Travelling into Rishikesh may be accomplished by having Rainforest House order you a taxi or, for a fraction of the price it is possible to wave down one of the frequent (day time) buses (about 30 Rs). If you stay late in town an (easy to find) taxi is really the only option for returning at night.
We recommend Rainforest House with great pleasure. Enjoy.
SIGHTSEEING IN RISHIKESH
It greatly depends on what you want of your stay in Rishikesh for there is a wide range of activities from rock climbing and rafting over the rapids to yoga and meditation.
The town of Rishikesh is small and walkable, ideal for tucking away the guidebook and enjoying the experience of discovery.
FOOD & DRINK IN RISHIKESH
To the palate of many Westerners, the highly flavourful, spiciness of Indian cuisine can be unagreeable. But even for those who prefer a blander diet, India is still doable.
India’s population has the lowest individual consumption of meat in the world and animal based ingredients, other than milk products and honey, are seldom used in traditional dishes. Ghee (clarified butter) is the traditional cooking medium. For the traveller who wants their animal protein most restaurants have meat options unless they advertise themselves as vegetarian. Most popular meats are chicken, lamb and goat as religious practices forbid beef products to Hindus and pork to Muslims. Finding truly fresh fish in Northern India may be challenging. In place of animal protein most of India turns to dhal (curried lentils or pulses). Yogurt and other dairy products also play a big part in providing protein.
If a steady diet of Indian spices and dhal are not appealing the traveller will find, on most menus, an oriental style noodle dish with influences from Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.
In Northern India, flat bread and rice are the staple starches. Bread, more commonly referred to as roti and chapati (the latter being a thinner unleavened, whole-wheat version). They are often used as a vehicle to get food, such as dhal, from plate to mouth.
Vegetables are plentiful and inexpensive. Other than in American style hotels, salads are a rarity and the savvy traveller would be best to avoid anything which is not cooked or, in the case of fruit, peeled.
Vegetable pakoras are a popular finger food in India and can be ordered spicy or non-spicy. Made from chickpea flour and a variety of vegetables, then deep fried, pakoras are a tasty option for the non-spicy traveller and can be accompanied by yogurt or sweet & sour sauce for dipping.
For some excellent recommendations on restaurants consult a Lonely Planet guidebook – money well spent.
It is advisable for travellers in India to consume only bottled water. A nice change, when available, is bottled carbonated water. Buying water in large two litre bottles from a small vendor is usually the least expensive. With the proprietor watching, check the cap to ensure it is sealed.
Chai (tea) is a much consumed beverage often accompanied by heaps of sugar and generous pours of milk. Although tea is by far the most popular drink, coffee is gaining in acceptance.
Street stands offering fresh squeezed juices can seem tempting however lax hygiene practices – reusing cups which have been sloshed through a basin of tepid water – can ruin a vacation.
Lassi is a traditional drink of blended yogurt and water available ‘savory’ or ‘sweet’. The savory contains spices such as ground roasted cumin, whereas, sweet is made with sugar, honey or fruit. Sweet lemon, a variety of citrus, tastes more like orange to Western taste buds than lemon.
GETTING AROUND RISHIKESH
Train travel is a great way to experience India. Day travel will allow you to see the countryside as it whizzes (sometime plods) by. Night travel can get you to where you are going and provide an inexpensive place to sleep. If you have limited time in India it may be best to make reservations prior to leaving your home country.
Lonely Planet India
Note: There are very convincing scam artists at railway station entrances ready to ‘help‘ you by telling you the ticket office for foreigners has changed locations, after which they put you in a rickshaw and then hop in for the ride to their ‘travel office’ some distance away. The real foreign office was exactly where it should be, inside the railway station.
The motorized auto-rickshaw provides an exhilarating experience and offers a wonderful way to get around a city while affording some protection from the elements. The driver is supposed to use a meter but generally a bartering exchange is carried out before you get in … if the price is not agreed to BEFORE the cost at the end of the ride could be substantial. We were often able to squeeze four people and four backpacks into an auto-rickshaw.
Bicycle-rickshaws offer a slower paced view of a city and are good for short distances. They have limited protection from poor weather. The pedal-drivers work hard for their money.
Taxis are best for longer distances, wet weather conditions or for transporting over-luggaged tourists. Like the auto-rickshaws, taxis have meters which are seldom used. Before getting in, or putting luggage in the trunk, agree on the total cost to get to your destination.
Insisting on hiring another cab or rickshaw usually either “fixes” the meter or lowers the price. If your hotel offers to make transportation arrangements for you, it may be cheaper to decline and walk out to the street and flag down a rickshaw or taxi.
If you like your driver you can make arrangement to have him pick you up at another time and/or place; most often they will be there, particularly if you paid them fairly or tipped above the agreed price. For sightseeing you can arrange to be taken from place to place for the day at an agreed price payable at the conclusion of the day’s travels. Drivers may also be a good source of information as to where to go and what to see.