It's just so boring to stay at a regular hotel. We spent a few nights in an AC room on the south end of Rishikesh in Swargashram. It was perfectly nice, despite the power always going out and rendering the AC useless. The room was 950 rupees (about $21) -- not bad for AC. We figured that we could survive without AC, why not spend less and find a cheaper room?
The Lonely Planet is like our bible. And our bible told us that there were a slew of hotels and ashrams north in Laxman Jhula. We walked there and discovered a little backpacker enclave, good and bad. We checked out the Sri Sant Sewa ashram and they had a basic double room with a fan, private bath, for 300R. A deal! And no waking up early, no compulsory chanting, no hours of yoga. We were in!
A couple of observations. There were fantastic storms here that rolled in and cooled everything down. Perhaps a sign of the oncoming monsoon?
The monkeys freak me out. One day we were walking down the street with a whole group of people when monkeys started to pelt us with nuts. Jerks.