Better late than never ?
We had a 7.30 AM flight in the morning and I only got home at 10 PM with a whole lot of packing left to do. Anyway 4.30 AM and I am up like an owl, hustling around the house to get ready to go. My parents insisted on coming to the airport and I let them because early in the morning cabs can be quite a pain.
Ofcourse I didn’t think of ordering an Ola in advance on the previous night but highly recommend it ( Best option + Tried it too and it works!).
We reach the airport at 5.30 AM and decide to self check (always do this if you have just one small bag)since it saves a whole lot of time during check out. I was hoping the flight would be uneventful so that I could sleep, but turns out we were in for a rude shock when we had to deal with a dozen kids jumping around.
We reached Delhi airport at 10 AM and Ni (My friend from Delhi who was accompanying us) was going to pick us up from there by 10.30. Together we would head directly to Rishikesh. Thankfully our cab from MyTaxiIndia (it’s a great service with reasonable prices. We were charged Rs. 2,500 for our trip from Delhi to Rishikesh – which is very good) was on time and we met Ni, soon.
We were hungry! So we asked the cab driver to take us to a nearby Mc Donald’s. Turns out Delhi is totally, entirely and creepily shut on Holi. And not in the non-working, casual way but the literal curfew-style shut with an eerie silence that can freak you out. Thankfully we found a Dunken Donut outlet on the way and picked up burgers for ourself. This was our brunch as we’d now only stop in Rishikesh (warned the driver).
The roads were empty but beautiful, especially once we hit the highway. I’ve developed a kind a road sickness that doesn’t let me look at the roads for a long time so as soon as I finished my burger, which by the way was delicious, I popped a pil (Avomine, always to the rescue!) and soon was into deep slumber. This was actually a boon because now I’d wake up immediately when the car stopped and it helped me be fresh and energetic when our destination arrived. The car was air conditioned (boy, Delhi is hot!) and I’d carried my new neck pillow which made sleeping kind of a blissful experience.
We took a few stops for tolls and a short water break but other than that it was a non-stop drive to Rishikesh. On the way we crossed Roorkee which also has an IIT and Haridwar which is a religious place for Hindus.
By 3.30 PM we checked into our hostel and were obviously super tired so we decided to rest for a few minutes and then head out. Rishikesh being a small town shuts by 7.30 / 8 pm so we had to hurry up. Our room was a four-bed dorm and we had booked three beds, Which meant we would have a room mate (We had the company of 3 different men on all 3 nights and you can read all about it here).
By 4.30 PM we headed out of our hostel. The original plan was to hire a bike but since the day was almost over we decided to do a little walk and go for an early dinner.
We didn’t know the roads and neither the destination. So we kept going on and literally walked the entire length of Rishikesh. We saw the Laxman Jhula and the Ram Jhula and finally went to the famous restaurant, Chotiwala. We had read a whole lot about this restaurant on the internet so a visit was a must.
After we reached this place we realized why the name. The restaurant actually has a Chotiwala at the entrance who welcomed the guests…kind of creepy! The food here was spicy, flavourful and Indian obviously. We chose to go with simple moghlai and were pretty happy.
PS: Rishikesh is an only vegetarian town and there is no non veg or booze available, at least publicly. So make your own arrangements if you plan to visit & eat non-veg ?
We had no energy to walk back to our hostel so simply went to the taxi stand (Which was faaarrr away) and took a cab back. The cabbie charged us Rs. 100. Which by the way is a lot but we were too tired to bargain. We reached our hostel and simply crashed!
End of day one. Pretty tiring I must say.
I am going to post about the rest of the trip tomorrow, and how it all turned out (promise!) so don’t forget to check it out.
Ps: I took this trip on the holi weekend – 23rd to 27th March, 2016.