“Again?” & “Alone?”

It’s my haven. My sanctuary. My sanity, my solace, my succour.

I’m talking about the small town of Rishikesh, at the foothills of the Himalayas, and through which the Ganga flows. Ever since I discovered it – quite by chance I might add, when I was holidaying at a rather swanky spa retreat – it has utterly captivated me. So much so, that I’ve made it a point to revisit at least once every year. And I’m back again, as I post this. Just me, by myself.

I was last here earlier in the year, with my wife and a bunch of other friends. Their idea was a holiday with trekking and rafting and eating & drinking and day trips to other hill-stations in close proximity. Mine was connecting with my inner self. Needless to say, it didn’t all happen for me – what, with 6+ city couples out to have a fun time in the hills! I would secret myself away whenever I could, but my soul needed more. And so, here I am! Eliciting arched eyebrows from the family and friends: “What? Again? Alone?”

I’ve been used to many a look of amazement, bemusement, amusement, so the many incredulous exclamations are water off a duck’s back.

I have no agenda. Except for sitting back and contemplating. And connecting with the Spirit. Perhaps writing, if the mood catches me.

It’s dirty, even by Indian standards, and noisy – so the ‘silence’ I experience here is of a different, deeper kind, maybe more mental than auditory. It’s crowded, but except in the bazaars, not aggressive or ‘in-your-face’, so if I’m just sitting by myself, I won’t have people trying to hawk me something I don’t want – maybe they’re more used to meditating fakirs (and zoned-out hippies). There’s a lot of yoga going on – it’s the yoga capital of the world – both, the serious, traditional kind, as well as the more commercial. There are ashrams aplenty. More temples than you can count. And then there’s the river. Rapids upstream, calming somewhat into a benign flow further downstream.

For me, it’s the complete package. It’s a getaway. From the city, from this world, of which I am otherwise a mostly willing part. I get time to myself. And there’s nothing better. Much as I am a big-city guy, nature appeals to me. As does spirituality. And I find them both here. And a certain ‘X factor’ that places like this seem to have – I believe there are other such spots like Mt Kailasa in Tibet, Uluru in Australia, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, Lake Titicaca in the Andes, Sedona in Arizona and many more that the ancients and the indigenous peoples held sacred. Suffice to say, believer or not, there’s an energy one can feel. And that energy is rejuvenating for me.

So I’m here. For the next few days. Detox-ing my mind and soul. Again. And alone.

And I’ll be back for more, I know. Again. And alone.


And read about my first time here:-ย Bridge Across Time



      1. Oh yes, there are plenty of such places in Pakistan but someone like me just can’t aboard the next bus/train, like you did, to have some me-time, despite feeling urge to do so almost everyday ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        No, I haven’t been to the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar but it is worth visiting. Haven’t you visited Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine in Ajmer Sharief??
        I’m quite sure it features the same atmosphere as of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Been to Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, and Nizamuddin in Delhi, but Ajmer is on my wish list. Inshallah!
        Like I was telling Yasmin, sometimes you have to put yourself first and just bhag jao for a few days… it helps to maintain the balance & the sanity!
        Thanks, Hammad!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You reminded me about my visit way back in 1981 when I went there with my German friends.There
    were no mechanised boats then to cross the river and there were literally thousands of carps feeding
    whom was such a pleasure. Sadly, all that is now a distant memory as I discovered some years ago
    while revisiting the place ;coincidentally again with a German friend! But yes, despite all this, India’s
    heart throbs here Ganga will remain Ganga.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Again and alone with all of us – hahaha! But on a serious note, I get that feeling every now and then – sometimes just clearing out my house to be alone works for me. Then again, I enjoy wandering around a foreign city being a spectator of sorts. The experience you describe and long for is necessary in the busyness of life but it’s not always understood by those around us. Relish this time Kunal!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. I am glad you found your place.
    This is not to challenge you, but to understand – what is so different about that place? Don’t you have a place closer to your home that you could go to and do the same thing as you are doing there?

    Liked by 1 person


    1. So I live in Bombay – a city not unlike New York, in that its all hustle-bustle. Rishikesh on the other hand, is slow moving, has a better setting and an Xfactor I canโ€™t quite describe. All of which draw me to it. Hope this explains! Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person


  4. Beautiful post — amazing pic! Thanks for coming my blog and thanks for bringing me here — looking forward to snooping around more to catch the sweet fragrance of our soul….Thank You! love and prayers ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person


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