Updated: Apr 11
Rishikesh, known worldwide for being home to the famous “Beatles Ashram” is a place of peace and tranquillity along with adrenaline-spiking adventure sports.
“Rishikesh is the Yoga Capital of the World” Renuka read out from the brochure. She continued, “Visit beautiful and sublime temples and marvel at the magnanimity of Nature this summer in Rishikesh.”
Her colleague Anand said, “Sounds great.” Anand tried to take a sip of water from his water bottle as the bus jerked to a stop. The water spilled out of the bottle and onto Ali sitting behind him.
“Hey! Watch it!” Ali said.
“Sorry!” Anand replied, sheepishly.
Another colleague, Srishti said, “Are we there?”
Their manager Rohit replied from the front, “We are here! Let’s get down from the bus!”
Srishti looked out the window at the hotel they were going to stay at for the night. It wasn’t fancy but she decided to not make a big deal about it as the view wrapped around the small brown lodge made up for its lack of glamour.
The colleagues had come to Rishikesh on a company sponsored trip, an annual event that had been skipped for the last two years due to the pandemic. The trip two years ago had been to Singapore, but the company had chosen a safer, domestic option this year instead. There had been some discussion about the destination but when Anand had pulled up photos of his last trip to Rishikesh, everyone had agreed eagerly to go there.
Now, as they stepped out of the bus that had carried them all the way from Gurgaon. They had stopped for a long break about halfway into their 8 - hour long journey, but they had been travelling for almost three hours since that one and everyone needed to stretch their limbs before they walked into the small hotel.
While the hotel had looked small and unimpressive to Srishti, it looked warm and inviting to almost everyone who had been unable to sleep on the bus. One group, led by Srishti decided to head into their rooms and call it a night, while the others, led by Anand, decided to head towards the Triveni Ghat to attend the evening Ganga Aarti.
The aarti was a terrific affair, there seemed to be a hundred little flames burning next to the river from afar. Ali exclaimed, “It looks so beautiful! They look like little yellow stars, like there are two skies today, one above us and one on the ground.” The others smiled, Ali was quite poetic and completely in love with nature. He was going to be an exciting person to hang around on this trip, they all decided mentally.
Anand led them closer to the Ghat and they stopped a little way from the crowds, where they could hear the Aarti but were still maintaining a safe distance from the locals. They sat scattered on stumps and stools until the aarti ended and the people left. Anand said, “I would love to stay here until the Sun comes out, but we are going river rafting tomorrow, so, let’s go back to the hotel and turn in for the night.”
The others agreed and they made their way back to the hotel in anticipation of the day they were going to have tomorrow.
The decision to get some rest proved to be an excellent one as their manager informed them of his surprise plan to sleep in tents the next night. Srishti and a few others groaned as they realized that this trip was going to switch over from being a “luxury stay next to the river” to “an adventure sports day” really quickly.
After breakfast the group left for river rafting at Shivpuri. The instructors there gave them two options, going down the river at top speed and dodging rocks left and right for a stretch of 9 km or 21 km. The instructors collected everyone’s precious belongings and sealed them in a water-proof bag. Then, they began helping everyone into the rafts one by one.
One of the analysts, Rahul, who had a passionate love for beer, carried a can into the raft with him. Anand asked him, “Why are you taking that with you?”
Rahul replied, “I’ll drink it on one of the slow stretches. I’m hoping that the cold water is going to keep the beer chilled. No fun drinking warm beer. Some of the 21 km is pretty nice and relaxing too, I’ve heard.”
Anand smiled knowingly and said, “Sure.”
As their group finished the 21 km stretch of water and was climbing back onto land, Rahul, who had fallen into the river twice and lost his beer in the first 10 minutes of the experience, said, “Thanks for the warning.”
Anand began to laugh hysterically as the group moved on towards their campsite.
They fumbled about trying to make a bonfire until one of the tour guides someone had befriended decided to step in and do it. As soon as there was a fire going, someone brought out a ukulele and began singing. A few others joined in and Anand brought out the bag he had carried with him on the bus out of his tent. The bag said, “Outer Woods, Carry Happiness.”
Anand fished out a beer and gave it to Rahul. Rahul held the beer in his hand and said, “But, it is cold. How?”
Anand chuckled and said, “Insulated Bottle Cooler Bag. Carries 6 bottles. I have some snacks too.”
Rahul snapped his fingers and said, “I want it.”
Anand replied, “I’ll send you the link.”
"A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles." - Tim Cahill
Check out the range of Outer Woods Insulated Bottle Bags here.