Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rishikesh - Where to Stay, Eat (Swami Dayananda Ashram)

Day 5 : Neelkanth Peak - Hanuman Chatti Temple - Exploring Joshimath - Enroute to Rishikesh (Joshimath - Srinagar) - RISHIKESH SWAMI DAYANANDA ASHRAM - Haridwar - Char Dham Trip Concludes Finally....

The sixth day of our trip to the Garhwal Himalayas, finally saw us in the plains… the very place from where we had embarked on this holy journey just a couple of days back – Rishikesh!

Rishikesh, the Land of the Sages, is a celebrated spiritual town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas with the Holy River Ganga gently flowing besides it. It is believed that when Raibya Rishi undertook rigorous penance, God appeared in the form of ‘Hrishikesh’ and the area henceforth came to be known as Rishikesh. Besides being the starting point for the pilgrims undertaking the Char Dham Yatra, it is also famous as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ which draws a considerable rush to the town the entire year around.

The Land of the sages - Rishikesh
Welcome to the 'Land of the Sages' - Rishikesh

If you are on a serious soul-searching mission, then Rishikesh is the destination tailor-made just for you. People come here to find a direction to their lives, connect to their inner selves and go back home with pleasurable memories and a silent promise to return again.

Where to Stay, Eat in Rishikesh (Swami Dayananda Ashram)

Step in Rishikesh and you will see lots and lots of ashrams and hotels to stay, suited for a variety of different budgeted traveling pockets. Even though there are a clut of ashrams, one important thing to remember is to book your rooms well in advance especially during the season period since the town sees a lot of tourists not only from India but also from abroad for reasons quite clearly evident in the introductory paragraph.


Welcome to the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh in the Himalayas
A Board in the Swami Dayananda Ashram displaying the tithis, nakshatras
and other celestial details of the day

Although, we were to spend just a couple of hours in Rishikesh, still we had prebooked our room for freshening up at the Swami Dayananda Ashram.

Swami Dayananda Ashram

Spread in a huge sprawling area, it is a very humble and a serene place located in the middle of the town, still distant enough to make it calm, laid back retreat from the maddening touristy rush, also one of the things the town is notoriously known for.

Swami Dayananda Saraswati of the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a contemporary teacher of Vedanta
and a scholar in Sanskrit in the tradition of Sankara.
There is no failure in life. There are only varieties of experiences. We learn from experiences, and not from failure which does not exist - Swami Dayananda

The rooms are amazingly very clean and well maintained for an ashram which has no fixed tariff! You don’t pay anything here but just make a donation!

Room at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
Our room at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh

What’s more they also offer complementary lunch and dinner serving homelike, pure and satvik food which is cooked daily in the premises itself.

Eating Hall at the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
Dining Hall area of the Ashram

There is a well equipped library with CD’s and books written by Swami Dayananda himself, an ashram temple, a lecture/satsang hall where regular yoga courses and spiritual camps are held all round the year and a façade where you can stand and fill in your eyes and heart with the unending views of the River Ganga and the mountains.

View from the facade of the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
River Ganga as seen from the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
View from the Ashram facade

Lord Shri Gangadhareswar Temple - Facing the Ganga River, is the ashram temple wherein daily worship is offered by the visiting devotees and the ashram sadhus and priests.

Entrance to the Gangadhareswar Temple in the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh, Himalayas
The Lord Shri Gangadhareswar Temple
at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh

Dayanand Ashram Temple Architecture in Rishikesh
A beautiful carving of Lord Ganesha forms a part of the Dayananda Ashram Temple Architecture in Rishikesh
Temple architecture

Lord Shiva - The main deity of the Temple in the Dayanand Ashram in Rishikesh
The main deity of Lord Shiva worshipped as Lord Gangadhareswar

Dwadash Jyotirlingams dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Swami Dayananda ashram temple in Rishikesh
An image inside the Temple representing the Twelve Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva

A deity of a Goddess in the Swami Dayananda ashram temple in Rishikesh
An idol of Goddess Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva in the temple

Besides the temple is the private ghat of the ashram which the resident devotees can utilize to take a holy dip in the River Ganga.

Last Year - A Private Ghat for a holy dip in the Ganges in the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
Image from the blog archives, Year 2009
Private bathing ghat of Swami Dayananda Ashram

This Year - Private Ghat for a holy dip in the Ganges in the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh
This time the bridge was broken due to the floods
that had hit the town in Aug 2010

Of all the places that I have stayed in my travels so far, Dayananda ashram is definitely one which is very close to my heart and will always remain so!

Dayanand Ashram trivia – An interesting fact I came to know about this ashram was that the South Indian Superstar actor, Rajnikanth also prefers to stay at this place whenever he is in the town!


Previous posts from this trip -

65 comments:

  1. Arti that is so devotional. Hope I can see one day Dayanand Ashram. I liked the images most. Very very delightful.

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  2. Hi, Arti.
    You went fabulous places.
    Reading "there is no failure in life. We learn from experiences, and not from failure which doesn't exist." I was relieved.
    Architecture of Lord Shri Gangadhareswar Temple is very unique,very interesting and beautiful. I have heard about a holy dip. But I don't know it concretely. They do it to purify souls of themselves, I wonder?
    Thank you for sharing.
    Hope you are well!
    Sarah.

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  3. Nice trip.I wonder if they eat food side by side at the dinning hall.

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  4. What an incredibly beautiful and peaceful place, Arti! I would so love to visit there! Your photos are superb and words so informative! Thank you, as always, for a wonderful tour! Hope your week is going well!

    Sylvia

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  5. Next time, I will surely stay at this ashram, looks so good. As always, thanks for sharing:)

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  6. rishikesh looks very mesmerizing and the dayanand ashram too...and if rajnikanth loves the place then i must visit it : )

    Super Yummy Recipes

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  7. I think I have heard of Rishikesh, but did not know there was a yoga capitol! It does look very clean and comfortable, inviting. And I love his quote about failure!

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  8. Wow..Awesome.. I was waiting for this post..Very nice Arti. Can you please let me know how to reserve accommodation at the ashram?

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  9. @ sarah
    Yes, A holy dip is taken to purify the soul and cleanse the heart and and mind. And it really does if you do it with devotion.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Arti May i know where are you based? I plan to visit the ashram and would like to talk to you. you can write to me on my email id.

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    2. Hi Alpana! Thanks for writing. Am based in Mumbai. Should you have any queries, feel free to contact me at 22arti(at)gmail(dot)com. I look forward to hearing from you!

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  10. @ cocomino
    Yes we do sit side by side during our meals.

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  11. @ Ginny
    Rishikesh is known as the yoga capital of the world as there are thousands of yoga classes present there.

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  12. @ Shridharan
    As I have already said there is no charge for the rooms, you can make a donation. Here are the contact numbers. Swami Shraddhanand:
    0135-2430769/1769

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  13. your descriptions make the food, the lodging, everything, sound delicious and worth experiencing. I'm intrigued by the dining/seating arrangements. it's all so...solemn and holy. very nice. peaceful. I'm happy you shared this today Arti. happy day to you.

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  14. Best samosa I've eaten was in Rishikesh! :)
    Found my Brahma Kamal photos!

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  15. I have been following your blog for quite some time and I really love your blogs.
    Keep Up, Stay Blessed!
    Regards

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  16. Very nice post, Arti! Loved the pics! :)

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  17. @ The Chair Speaks
    Where, I love samosas?
    And please share those Bhramakamal flower pics sometime, would love to look at it.

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  18. Hi, Arti, thank you for the introduction of wonderful places. This time, I especially like the images of the sun's rays raditaing over the water and the glowing path across the water as well. Perfect captures!

    Have a nice and restful weekend.
    Yoko

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  19. Thanks for the contact details Arti. It reminds me of my stay at Pandharpur at ISKCON where the accommodation and food was free and voluntary donations are accepted.

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  20. The natural world sometimes offers a greater sense of wonder than a beautiful building. I love the views of the sun struck river and mountains. Seeing such a sight would surely sooth the soul. :)

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  21. Last November my nephew about 20 days in that ashram as he was attending a discourse given by Dayanda swamiji.He also narrated similar kind of experiences as you have shared here.

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  22. I love the photos with sun rays, my friend. Felt like someone powerful is talking to me just by staring at those photos. Take care in all your trips. I enjoyed this post very much. Happy weekend. :)

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  23. Hi Arti,

    I came accross your blog from blogadda. I see that you love travelling. I would be grateful if you could take a travel survey. It wouldnt take much of your time. I am looking at this survey to give some answers to some statistics I am looking for.

    Link to survey – http://megh.polldaddy.com/s/love-travelling

    Thanks!

    Regards
    Megha

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  24. Wow Rishikesh looks like a beautiful town and it was so cool seeing all of the photos. My sons best childhood friend is from India but I don't know where.

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  25. "If you are on a serious soul-searching mission, then Rishikesh is the destination tailor-made just for you. People come here to find a direction to their lives, connect to their inner selves and go back home with pleasurable memories and a silent promise to return again."

    Very very true.

    Your pious description of Rishikesh has stolen
    my heart.I would like to perform 'aarti' to your this post,Arti ji.
    Many many thanks.

    Please,find time to visit my blog.
    Would also like your views on 'devotion'
    and 'Shiv-ling'.

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  26. Hi there, thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog. I wish for you to find peace, and smiles along your journey. Happy times to you. Hugs Dagmar

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  27. This looks lije a fabulous trip and the pictures are nice. I like hearing all about your trip, so interesting.

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  28. Looks very satvik! There's probably a very blissful and spiritual environment where one wants to stay a very long time! I 've heard that there is such a Rishikesh ashram nice, but I do not remember what it's called....

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  29. Have been to Rishikesh many times but never visited the Ashram.On my list now .Have a beautiful week ahead Arti :)

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  30. It's awesome to read ur blog ... i too also wanted to go for a trip to Rishikesh (n above) but always thought of where to stay n when to travel - now aleast i know where to stay !! i love to travel n ur blog is just what i want :)
    Thanks for visiting my
    blog !!

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  31. पिछले सप्ताह ही हृषिकेश के एक संछिप्त टूर से लौटा. काश की आपकी पोस्ट पहले ही नजरों से गुजरी होती. :-)
    Thanks to share these valuable informations, which will help us in future also.

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  32. Dear Arti

    Thanks a lot for yr wishes and I wish you the same (though belated). Hope you had fun on janmashtmi. I couldn't find yr email so writing it here...

    I enjoyed this virtual tour of Rishikesh. It's on my wish list :-)

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  33. superb pictorials and very useful descriptions.

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  34. nicely compiled... gave a good insight on the place...

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  35. i like how the sun peeks through the mountain. very lovely.

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  36. @ ALL
    Many Thanks for your kind words.
    Have a wonderful week ahead:)

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  37. Ah this is pretty useful Arti! We are planning a Rishikesh trip sometime soon. Have read in a previous issue of Outlook Traveller about the six different types of accomodations available in Rishikesh.. from the five star ones to the Ashrams. And it's the latter that interested me too!
    PS: you can pick up your fave painted pot from me, the next time you're in Blore :P Thanks for the comments Arti!

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  38. You are a great guide, Arti - the trip to Dayananda ashram sounds peaceful and soul-renewing. Seeing the writing on the board makes me wonder how many languages you speak? You write in English so well.

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  39. Hello, Arti

    Awe inspiring your works...
    It lets me feel warmth with the humanity.

    Thank you for your usual visit.

    Have a good weekend.
    From Saga, Japan.
    ruma ✰

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  40. Lovely place, Arti! There are a few places in Rishikesh which are really good! Thanks a lot for enriching the knowledge!

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  41. Arti I visit Rishikesh very frequently and stay at 'Parmarth'. I'll try this one next time. Thanks for sharing. Lively(and lovely)post as always:)

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  42. It is always a spiritual experience to read your posts. I would definitely want to visit the Yoga Capital of the world at least once. Lovely post. :)

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  43. Oh!! Swami Dayananda Ashram is a beautiful place. I loved the serenity, the calmness. I wanted to stay there for a few days. But, somehow, things couldn’t materialised. I was so impressed with the place, that I couldn’t like any other place to stay at Rishikesh, n finally went back to Haridwar in the evening. I’ll make another try in future for sure. If again, I couldn’t get to there, I’d go to the broken eggs at the other shore the Ganges.

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  44. From someone who has been thinking of visiting Rishikesh for a long time ..thanks

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  45. So much to learn and know from your posts. You should write a book Arti on your yatras.

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  46. I had stayed there for 10 days and but gone there everyday for three weeks before that, partaking of the food there and attending evening arti and vedanta classes, while staying outside the ashram. Lovely and serene.

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  47. Arti thanks for sharing such a wonderful place...as i am from Saharanpur(UP) I always make a short visit to Haridwar and Rishikesh also but I never went this place efore...but next time I will try for sure to visit the ashram.

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  48. Ok, I will stop at Dayanand Ashram..actually I love Rishikesh but have stayed in horrid touristy places...I will stay here the next time!

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  49. thanks for all the info..i think i will go & stay at Swami Dayanand Ashram soon.

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  50. Never knew that these Ashrams offer such clean & comfortable lodging and dining facilities. Really Arti.. I agree with Arnab... you should come up with a book.

    Currently I'm away from India. But your posts always make me feel closer to the homeland. Thanks dear..

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  51. Lke a Yoga in india , nepal is the treking paradise http://www.nepalholidaystrek.com

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  52. Thanks for this fantastic blog. Very helpful.

    I am planning to stay at the Dayananda ashram in June. I wondered if anyone has been to this region of India in June -- if so, how hot it is during this season? Cheers, Susan

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  53. Hi Susan,
    June can be quite hot but it is also the time when monsoon sets in. You should really call up at the ashram itself to know what kind of whether they are experiencing at the time when you plan to leave.

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  54. Hey, stupefying perfect !

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  55. How will we get permission to stay in Dayananda Ashram?
    Syamkrisna kamath

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  56. The places are so almighty. But when i see the spritual places.?
    O' God please bless & allow me....

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  57. If I want to work as an volunteer, What to do? Please contact me on 9408717177.

    Nishant.

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  58. @ Anonymous (Nishant) Sorry Nishant, I am afraid I have no clue to your query. You may contact one of these numbers of their office (0135-2430769/1769) to check if they require any volunteering services. Good luck!

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  59. How tough is it to get the accommodation in the ashram, on arriving rishikesh. There may be a huge queue waiting for the accommodation, this being a nice place and many people might be looking forward to stay there.

    Jana.

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  60. Thanks Arti for this blog. Am planning a trip to Ashram next week and this post is helpful..

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  61. Hi Arti I have written to your email id that you had given, pl reply.

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Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

If you have asked a question, please give me at least 2 days to reply back. Thank you :)

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