I swore I wouldn’t do it. An ashram is just too woo-woo new agey for me. I don’t have or want a guru, baba, or spiritual guide. Brandon is as close as I get to a guru (he’s also my fashion advisor). So how did we end up spending 5 days at the Sri Sant Sewa Ashram in Rishikesh?
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!
The ashram offered yoga classes twice a day for 100 rupees. The first few days it was way to hot. The next day we went shopping for appropriate pants. Another day we completely spaced out on the time. Nope, no yoga for us. Slackers. Oh wait, that’s ok, we can be slackers.
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.
I count 10 monkeys!
Monkeys and cows are quite prevalent in all the places we’ve been so far (as well as dogs). And since monkeys and cows are not animals I usually see outside of the zoo or farm, it excites me to see them. I’m freaked out by the monkeys though (rabies!) so I stayed a healthy distance away from this group, who were hanging out on the roof of the building next to our room at the ashram.
We in general have a disdain for other backpackers. Ok, I’ve publicly admitted it. We’ve seen more than one person walk around with their money belt over their clothes (what’s the point??). Heard another person loudly shouting about her friend jumping in the Ganges with only a bikini on and getting stopped by the police (hello!! try not to piss everyone here off!! bikinis in the holy ganges are a no-no). And good lord… people are carrying massive backpacks. What is in them?
Hippie cafe.. and a cow
There were also a lot of westerners smoking weed. This was one cafe you could find a group of people “chilling out.”
One thing we love is the colorful statues and temples all over the place. Rishikesh is a holy city so religious symbols abounded! This statue of Vishnu (correct me if I’m wrong) as at the entrance of the Laxman Jhula bridge.