May 18 - June 13, 2018
Peoplescape of Rishikesh
Location: Rishikesh (city), Uttarakhand (state), India
Helena was already a familiar face at my hostel but her body language was anything but friendly. When I felt like talking to her, I somehow see a tattoo on her forehead saying, "Don't even think about it!" I gave her space. At some point, I made the effort on a hunch she's actually friendly. I was right. It started a series of friendly talks at the hostel, carried over to a cafe and continued lying down on yoga mats on a roofdeck, star-gazing until 4am - and every minute was priceless! But make no mistake about it, she's got a tough protective carapace. She's aware how she comes across people, but like us, she can't catch herself 24/7.
Helena is a published author with a new book in the works - an adventure fiction about a lady traveling solo. Yeah, it's about her. When asked about how to become a celebrated author, I advised that she needs to spruce up her public image through a professional website and social media. That it's best for her to hire someone full time to manage it so she'll have time to do what she wants to do - write a book.
She came to Rishikesh to deepen her spirituality. After completing a 200hr TTC (Teacher Training Certification), she meditated in a cave and went to the foothills of the Himalayas with a baba (spiritual guru), where she got the surprise of her life when the baba demanded an exorbitant fee once they got up the mountain and harshly disallowed her to speak to any other baba! (baba turf-war? LOL!) She's got her head above her shoulders about the Rishikesh scene. We were both drawn to the same conclusion - Rishikesh is a Baba Disneyland. There are so many fake and opportunistic babas around preying on lost souls who come to Rishikesh to find grounding. We shared insights about our spiritual pursuits and life challenges - Dad issues, depression, love life, the mind, happiness, quantum mechanics, etc. We agree on many things - the most compelling being, that the answers reside within us.
I suggested she attend the satsang of Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati and she did. Her epiphany when Sadhvi gazed into her eyes cause tears to flow down. But not a word was spoken. A cosmic connection was forged which left her profoundly moved.
Our connection begs for deeper rooting, but with my departure for Dharamshala, our conversation will have to continue when our paths cross again. In the present, it was time very well spent.
Good luck on the new book, Helena. I nurture the bond that tethers us.
Reader Comments:Romeo Mano
(June 14, 2018) Live and let live, Git
(June 11, 2018) ...forgot to say that we bumped into each other 3 times in different places! Awesome and om! Anyway, let's follow our travels and perhaps will coincide somewhere 🙂
(June 3, 2018) It is a pleasure to have met you Gigit 🙂
(June 2, 2018) Revenge is sweet, right? 🙂 My manners really are dreadful. Will try to keep it more on hold... Mission impossible. Have fun in Rishikesh! Love H
(June 2, 2018) Your manners are a refreshing departure from safe answers and political correctness. Love you just the way you are 🙂
(June 3, 2018) flatterer 🙂
(June 2, 2018) It is such a pleasure to know you. Nothing but love, my brother 🙏
Rishikesh (city), India
Travel Tips for Rishikesh
- During the cooler season when any of the hugely popular gurus or babas visit to give a satsang, eg. Prem Baba, Mooji Baba, all rooms are fully booked from Rishikesh to Hardiwar!
- short power outages frequently happen during the day
How to get to Rishikesh from New Delhi by bus
- Bus - take the Metro Yellow Line and get off at Kashmiri Gate. Exit the station from Gate 7 and enter the ISBT building - this is the bus terminal. Go down one flight and go to Platform 14. This is where you buy the bus ticket and board the bus. A/C bus, INR 454, 6 hours. You can take the 10:30pm bus and arrive 5am in Rishikesh.
scam alert! - over the ticket counter, the guy may verbally charge you INR 765 - this is usually the online price of the bus ticket. But I looked closely at the printed ticket, and found the price at INR 454. I demanded more change! The guy knew he's been discovered and gave me back the rest of the change.
You will arrive in Rishikesh at Adarsh Gram. To get to your hotel, travelers usually share a tuk-tuk (called Vikrams) for INR 10-20/passenger if shared. Since I arrived 5am, there was no one to share so I ended up paying a negotiated INR 150.
Travel Tips for India
- e-VISA - visa on arrival is no longer done. Tourists should apply online for an e-VISA. Tourist e-VISA for 60 days = US$51.25 (including surcharges, non-refundable). NOTE: e-VISA is only honored in 25 designated airports and 5 designated seaports (Cochin, Goa, Mangalore,Mumbai,Chennai). You CANNOT do a land crossing using an e-VISA.
- US$1 = Indian Rupee (INR) 67.18
- nearly every food served is spicy...there is no escaping it
- other travel destinations in India
- always good to have an Indian SIM. It's handy to get wifi in some cafes
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
India Blogs by TheLoneRider
- 16 Days in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala: Goodbye India June 23-July 8, 2018
- Peoplescape of Dharamshala, India June 14 - July 8, 2018
- Visiting the Tibet Museum June 27, 2018
- In Search of Tibetan Yoga (Yantra Yoga) June 25, 2018
- Conducting Yoga Classes at Pema Thang Guest House, Dharamshala, India June 24 - July 8, 2018
- Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 16-23, 2018
- Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 19, 2018
- Matters of the Heart Jun 17, 2018
- A First Timer in Dharamshala Jun 14, 2018
- 29 Hours in New Delhi Airport July 9-10, 2018
- Meditation with Shirly Pnina at Lodi Garden, New Delhi May 15, 2018
- A First-Timer in New Delhi, India May 12-17, 2018
- A 26-Day Mini-Life in Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
- Peoplescape of Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
- Rafting the Ganga River with Greg Goldstein June 1, 2018
- White Water Rafting on Ganga River, Rishikesh May 25, 2018
- Satsang (spiritual discourse) by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati May 21, 2018
- Ganga Aarti (devotional fire ritual) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram May 21, 2018
- Bouncing Back into Yoga in Rishikesh May 21, 2018
- Exploring Rishikesh, India May 18, 2018
- India e-VISA snag May 9, 2018
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