It has almost been a year since I began travelling solo. I have backpacked across Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, Rishikesh, Udaipur and Pushkar. On these trips, I have tried conventional travelling, budget travelling as well as volunteering.
Being only about 250 km from Delhi (where I currently put up), Rishikesh is very approachable for me. I have been there five times until now- twice with friends, once with family and twice solo. For an entire month, I have volunteered there in a youth hostel. I love the place and have many memories attached to it. It almost feels like home there now!
So, for all the women out there who’re planning to take their first Solo Trip, I have made a list of 8 Reasons that make Rishikesh an ideal destination!
The main question that pops up in a woman’s mind when she thinks about solo travelling is if it would be safe. Let me answer. No. Nothing in this world is safe. People have died while eating, sleeping and sitting. Well, did that make us quit any of those activities? No, right? Then, why not travel alone when you want to? I know it can be extremely intimidating, the thought of being alone and no one to depend upon except for yourself but, trust me, take the leap of faith! You’ll emerge stronger and realize that you’re capable of much more than you think!
Now, coming to Rishikesh. Being popular with backpackers, this place attracts many solo travellers from different parts of India and the World. Also, the majority of travellers in Rishikesh are the ones that arrive seeking peace and a health retreat. So, no unruly party crowd to hamper the peace! Moreover, the local economy mostly depends on tourism there so, the locals are very helpful and eager to help the tourists out.
Now that you know Rishikesh is “safer” than most destinations, you check your account balance and realize that all you have is 10k and you still have to pay your flat rent of 5k, electricity bill, internet bill and other bills. You sit down, make calculations and realize that all you have left for this trip is 3k. Then, you shut your laptop, silently rest your head on the pillow and fall asleep smirking at your plans of travelling solo. “You need money to travel and you have none”, says your inner fear that secretly never wanted you to travel and venture outside your comfort zone.
Well, I’ll be your inner confidence here and tell you that with that leftover 3k, you can easily make a five-day trip to Rishikesh! Because where there’s will, there’s way and in Rishikesh where there’s a budget traveller, there’s a youth hostel! Yes! Now, get up and start looking on the internet. You can find dorm beds for as low as 250 rupees a night! And, I’ll let you in on a secret. There are Ashrams in Rishikesh that provide FREE accommodation in exchange for your attendance in a few lectures and classes. As for the food, you can find decent and tasty home made food for as low as 40 rupees a meal at Gita Bhawan!
I know you work hard 5-6 days a week and are tired of the routine life. Well, you’re headed to Rishikesh, the place people consider to be the World Capital of Yoga! Go for a week long Yoga retreat or try various daily drop in classes. For the budget travellers, there are many Yoga classes on donation basis where you can pay according to your experience in that class. Yoga is one of the best ways to treat your body, bring down the stress hormones, relax your mind and get in tune with the surroundings!
Rishikesh has beautiful treks around it! The Neelkanth Mahadev Trek and the Kunjapuri Temple Trek are some short single day treks that have beautiful trails with jaw dropping views! For those who love nature, these treks are highly recommended. So, grab those trekking shoes and the backpack!
There are numerous Cafes and Home-food Joints in Rishikesh! Continental food, Israeli Cuisine, Ayurvedic food, Vegan food, Yogi Food and Gluten free food are easily available at the cafes. Other than these, one can find numerous small food joints that sell home made Indian food. The price of food in Rishikesh is much lower as compared to the other backpacking destinations! No matter where you come from, you will not get homesick for food here, nor will the food bill dent your pocket.
You will meet some very different people in Rishikesh only to realize that they are no different, they just perceive life differently. On my first solo trip to Rishikesh, I met a Baba and had a nice conversation with him that changed the way I look at life now. I met Anjuna, a beautiful person whom I always find smiling despite her situation and hardships. I cannot express in words how much meeting those people has changed my life! So, go ahead and experience this place. You will carry a lot from it in your yourself and leave a lot of yourself behind.
Rishikesh is a very cultural place. The Aartis, the temples, the ceremonies and the serene atmosphere…. Immerse yourself in the culture and let it paint your soul! Take classes or self study meditation and tantra.
8) THE VIEW
Rishikesh is located on the banks of River Ganga and is surrounded by hills and mountain ranges. I spent hours on the banks just absorbing the beauty of nature and observing the life around. The roads, the daily life, the simplicity and the smell of incense in the pure air- Oh! I could live my life there.
There are hundred other reasons that I’ll leave it up to you to create your own story. Go and give yourself the perfect gift- A solo travel to this beautiful land!
Writing this post has made me really nostalgic. I hope you have the courage and the confidence to take your first solo trip and have a magical experience!
Don’t forget to comment and let me know your views on the post. To read more about my adventures as a Solo Traveller, you can visit my Travel Blog- Bachelor For Roaming