|I'm not going to spoil the adventure of finding the prize on your own, but will give some time saving directions to a starting point.|
|First... you take the train from Delhi to Haridwar...|
|At India Rail look for Jan Shatabdi Express 12055. The man in seat 61 will help. The train actually goes to Dehradun, but you should get off at Haridwar. And be prepared to hop off the train FAST and squeeze though crowds rushing to board. Indian trains only stop for seconds, and there's often chaos as people get on and off at the same time.|
|Note that Dehra Doon is close to the foothills of the Himalayas. That was my initial reason for going there - to escape the heat. This train will go past Haridwar and on to Dehra Doon, but there's nothing of interest there. And on the way I heard that Rishikesh was an interesting place, ButI had to return to Haridwar to get to get there.|
|Haridwar is a "holy city" on the Ganges. It is worth staying for a day or two. You can go a bit upstream from the city centre to Har Ki Pori to perform a ritual cleansing in the Ganges and dry off in the sunshine on the ghats.|
|From Delhi on you will be in the company of monkeys|
On to Rishikesh
|You will find a bus to Rishikesh near the train station. It takes less than 1 hour to get there. And you may wonder, as I did, "why would anyone come to this grubby little town?|
|This is the view from where the Rishikesh bus stops. Luckily a Dutch couple saw my bewilderment and led me to an autorickshaw that would take us to what they called "India lite" - Laxman Jhula - about 10 Km upstream.|
Autorickshaws can get crowded - like the rest of India. But you get used to getting close with the locals.
|When the autorickshaw stopped I continued walking in the same direction for about 200 meters until I came to the Monal Hotel, where I stayed for the next 2 months.|
|But I was still lost. I was on a hill high above the Ganges and could not see a bridge - the so called Laxman Jhula. So I went up to the roof of the Hotel for a better look and saw a flow of people rounding a corner to a street that seemed to be going downhill.|
|When I followed the people I eventually came to some shops and guest houses|
The Yoga Capital of the World and Gateway to the Himalayas
And, rounding a corner, I came to a German Bakery - which is a sort of Western flavoured chain of restaurants found in many parts of India.
And, as I approached the restaurant, I saw the entrance to a suspension bridge. So this was it - Laxman Jhula.
I climbed up to the German Bakery to take in the view...
And over the next few days I met a whole lot of female backpackers - and very few men.
But I'll get back to that later. My objective now was to find the "Beatles ashram" - which I figured must be on the other side of the Jhula since I hadn't seen any sign of it yet. So I crossed the bridge - dodging motorcycles and avoiding eye contact with the ever-present theiving monkeys
The other side was mostly temples and ashrams and when I asked about the "Beatle ashram" the locals just shrugged, and a few Westerners said things like "I don't know, must be downstream".
So I walked downstream - all the way to Ram Jhula. And I found nothing.
Here's a map
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, North India