a seeker in search of Easter Eggs

Peoplescape of Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018

Peoplescape of Rishikesh

Location: Rishikesh (city), Uttarakhand (state), India

Helena AstraHelena Astra
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 Astra at Shambala Cafe
breakfast with Helena at Shambala Cafe

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.

--- TheLoneRider
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Romeo ManoRomeo Mano
(June 14, 2018) Live and let live, Git

Meena OliverMeena Oliver
(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 🙂

Madlén HjelmrothMadlén Hjelmroth
(June 3, 2018) It is a pleasure to have met you Gigit 🙂

Hana VanovaHana Vanova
(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 🙂

Hana VanovaHana Vanova
(June 3, 2018) flatterer 🙂

Greg GoldsteinGreg USA
(June 2, 2018) It is such a pleasure to know you. Nothing but love, my brother 🙏

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Rishikesh (city), India

hotels in Rishikesh hotel
  • RAAHI The Travellers Nest - backpacker-friendly, dorm rooms, central location, tours & rafting, motorbike rental, great place to meet people
    Paidal Marg, Laxman Jhula, 249192 Rishikesh

Travel Tips for Rishikesh

  1. climate-wise, best time to visit Rishikesh is from October to February when temperature is cool. This is also the high season for foreign travelers.
  2. May to June (my time of visit, before the monsoon rains) is HOT and DRY. Temperatures can reach beyond 40° and your skin/lips dry up. Great to go rafting or a dip in the Ganga River for respite. There are mostly Indian devotees and Indian tourists flocking to Rishikesh. Westerns tourists are few, but Rishikesh gets crowded specially while crossing the 2 bridges, Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula. Lodging prices can be negotiated down to INR 300/night for a bunk bed in a dorm room as this is low season.
  3. 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!
  4. short power outages frequently happen during the day

How to get to Rishikesh from New Delhi by bus

  1. bus terminal 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

General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. 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.
  4. 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


  1. 16 Days in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala: Goodbye India June 23-July 8, 2018
  2. Peoplescape of Dharamshala, India June 14 - July 8, 2018
  3. Visiting the Tibet Museum June 27, 2018
  4. In Search of Tibetan Yoga (Yantra Yoga) June 25, 2018
  5. Conducting Yoga Classes at Pema Thang Guest House, Dharamshala, India June 24 - July 8, 2018
  6. Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 16-23, 2018
  7. Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 19, 2018
  8. Matters of the Heart Jun 17, 2018
  9. A First Timer in Dharamshala Jun 14, 2018

  11. 29 Hours in New Delhi Airport July 9-10, 2018
  12. Meditation with Shirly Pnina at Lodi Garden, New Delhi May 15, 2018
  13. A First-Timer in New Delhi, India May 12-17, 2018

  15. A 26-Day Mini-Life in Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  16. Peoplescape of Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  17. Rafting the Ganga River with Greg Goldstein June 1, 2018
  18. White Water Rafting on Ganga River, Rishikesh May 25, 2018
  19. Satsang (spiritual discourse) by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati May 21, 2018
  20. Ganga Aarti (devotional fire ritual) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram May 21, 2018
  21. Bouncing Back into Yoga in Rishikesh May 21, 2018
  22. Exploring Rishikesh, India May 18, 2018

  24. India e-VISA snag May 9, 2018
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