Rishikesh: world capital of yoga
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After visiting the Taj Mahal (https://www.marsontheroad.com/en/destinazioni/110/taj-mahal-la-tomba-piu-bella-al-mondo), I buy a ticket for a night train at a local agency and I travel with my new friend Elias; it is a train with real beds, we pay 1,000 rupees -12.50 € and we head towards Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, at the foot of the Himalayas, near the Ganges River. The river is considered sacred and the city is renowned as a centre for the study of yoga and meditation. Temples and ashrams (centres for spiritual studies) flank the eastern bank around Swarg Ashram, an enclave without traffic, without alcohol and vegetarian upstream of the city of Rishikesh.
The city has its charm: it's a messy city if you consider the many scooters that also cross the pedestrian bridges and the numerous and frequent horns but on the other side just find a relaxing place overlooking the river to enjoy the scenery.
We stay at The Hosteller Hostel paying 225 rupees - almost € 3 - for a 6-bed dorm and air conditioning and is located in Laxman Jhula. We arrive at the Haridwar bus station at 7 am after leaving at 9.30 pm from Agra. From Haridwar, we take a local bus that takes us to the bus station in Rishikesh in 45 min and we pay 39 rupees. Once we arrive at the bus station, we take a tuk-tuk shared with local people to get to Laxman Jhula (5 km): we pay 20 rupees.
From the hostel, then, just walk for 10 min. and cross the bridge to find yourself in the tourist area with many restaurants, shops and travel agencies.
I highly recommend a restaurant called "Little Buddha"; here the courses are huge and with prices ranging from 150 to 220 rupees.
Moreover, you can walk along the river in tranquillity and in someway it seems not to be in a city. It is really a pleasant walk.
I also tried a new sport activity: YOGA.
Rishikesh is in fact considered the world capital of yoga and now I also explain why:
Rishikesh is one of the holiest places for Hindus; for this reason, sages and saints who have mastered the yogic arts have visited the city for thousands of years. Yoga gurus and spiritual leaders have chosen this place for spiritual practices.
I highly recommend to practice it at the VIDYA yoga school. I tried the class of Hatha Yoga (yoga for beginners) with the teacher Ksenia; She is Russian but has lived in India for many years and is very valid for me. I paid 300 rupees -3.75 € - for a 1.5-hour class. I was really satisfied. My body really needed it.
Here it is full of yoga schools and there are many foreigners who come to Rishikesh and take the course to become yoga instructors. You attend a 200-hour course and the price ranges between 1,200 and 1,500 American dollars (around 1000 €). Accommodation is normally included in these courses.
Ultimately Rishikesh was a fascinating city that particularly impressed me.
I would have willingly stayed a few more days to practice yoga and enjoy it fully if it were not I need to go to Dharamashala for a volunteering project.