Spiritual Soporiferousness in Rishikesh

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February 28th 2019
Published: September 26th 2021
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It's a bold blog title, I know. Especially to describe the 'home of yoga' and a spiritual mecca of sorts, ever since the Beatles visited the ashram of Maharishi in the 60s. However. One can find God (if indeed that is what one is seeking) or Enlightenment, or the simple pursuit of peace in any place. Does that detract from the beauty of Rishikesh? For me, yes. It has become something of a commercial hive of activity, both for those with an authentic search and for those wanting to buy cheap yoga pants or acquire a yoga teaching qualification to take back to the West.

Perhaps the gap between my visit and the writing of this post has enabled the wisdom and the perspective to percolate. And it is just that: a perspective. My perspective. So here it is... in the spirit of the rest of my blog posts over the years...

I recall this trip vividly from its inception; which began beneath the ochre poor lighting of my then corporate office... online searches, calls to airlines, travel agencies, weeks of trip planning amalgamated into a colour coded spreadsheet. I was not going to be on the first half of the trip which entailed a trip across India, from Mumbai to Gujarat. I met my parents and my brother in Delhi. Having travelled extensively myself I cannot imagine how exhausted they must have been but they seemed to be in good spirits. I wasn't. I definitely haven't caught "the travel bug", and I was doing this trip to accompany family and also because I hadn't ever been to Rishikesh, a place so fondly spoken of by so many. We took a flight Delhi to Dehradhun. We reached Rishikesh by road. Admittedly the atmosphere changes somewhat when you arrive; there is a slower pace, guided by people who either live there or want to be there for peace. They say the rushing of the Ganges is profound on the senses; the ears, the eyes and the soul. I don't know that I really experienced that any more or less than any other magnificent river in the world, I did however enjoy the fact of it's sound as I slept. We stayed in a hotel overlooking the river. We strolled by night and by day. My brother made the most of seated prayer and meditation on the banks of the Ganges. My parents enjoyed the views, and the food. I ... ? Well. Truth be told I was homesick.

I don't know what more else to say about that.

We returned to Delhi by road. A long and arduous 7hour drive. From Delhi to Dubai. My sister lives in Dubai, and for my parents it was a first. The contrast was a welcome engagement for the senses. We only had a few days so we did what tourists in Dubai do: visited shopping malls, strolled along the promenades, and made a day trip to Abu Dhabi to visit the mosque. It was a nice ending to the family trip.

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