Tucked away in a picturesque corner of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, is the Raga on the Ganges, a quaint hotel run by the Amritara Hideaways Group. Rishikesh being the birthplace of Yoga and home to a number of temples, ashrams and retreats, is always bustling with tourists. But despite being crowded all year long, this ‘sacred town’ has managed to retain its old-world appeal.
Situated on the banks of the Ganges and surrounded by hills, Raga on the Ganges is an apt name; just like a beautiful musical composition (raga) where different notes and scales come together to form one piece of music, a variety of aspects make the Raga on the Ganges a complete experience. The location itself is enough to allure you to this hotel. The hotel has been built on top of a hill with steps leading right down to the gushing river. It is the ultimate vacation if you’re looking for peace and quiet; nature’s beauty engulfs this retreat like a wonderfully sheltered cocoon.
As you approach the hotel, which looks like it’s on stilts, you’ll be overwhelmed by its spectacular appearance. This 31-roomed refuge resembles a log cabin with its aesthetic combination of wood and glass. The log-huts and log-cottages are all connected by wooden walkways. Each of these well-furnished accommodations is simple yet elegant— complete with cosy beds, a work desk, wardrobes and attached bathrooms. Large windows in each of these rooms provide you with breath-taking views of the Ganges as well at the Shivalik Ranges while wooden flooring and wood panelling add a distinct sense of warmth and character to these spaces.
You could start your day with some yoga or meditation on the hotel’s outdoor deck with the sounds and sights of gurgling water and chirping birds and then follow that up with a rejuvenating massage at the Raga’s Teertha Spa; the spa will leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to invigorating healing treatments and massages. Kairali Ayurveda runs the spa; an establishment that has been responsible for bringing in Ayurveda into our daily lives almost twenty years ago! ‘Teertha’ in Sanskrit means ‘water of life’, and the name could not have been more fitting as the spa’s highly trained therapists and professional physicians will leave you feeling renewed and refreshed!
After all that pampering your appetite will require some indulgence of its own! Head to the Tarana restaurant where health conscious guests can opt for their organic vegan dishes whereas the rest can treat themselves to all the other delicacies served here.
The local Garhwali cuisine is a big hit with most guests staying at the Raga on the Ganges. The spacious restaurant has wood-top tables and wicker chairs, while the floor to ceiling windows give you the most commanding view of the surroundings. It’s almost as if you’re enjoying your meal in mid air, amidst the clouds and the trees! Can you think of a more surreal experience?!
During the day, guests can take off to explore the many possibilities that Uttarakhand offers. Haridwar meaning “gateway to God” is close to Rishikesh and a prime destination for Hindu pilgrims.
While many come to ‘wash away their sins’ in the holy river Ganges, many also do the ‘Chota Char Dham Yatra’ to Badrinath and Kedarnath. Hordes of people flock to visit the abundance of Hindu temples and shrines, as well as the monasteries in this area especially the Mindroling Monastery with its tallest Buddha Stupa.
The evening ‘arti’ by the Ganges is a must-see! While there are plenty of options to explore for the religious- types, an equal array of opportunities await adventure buffs. Rishikesh is known for activities like white-water rafting, para gliding, bungee jumping and trekking. For those of you who aren’t particularly looking to step out of the hotel’s premises during your vacation, you could sit and read, paint or just chill at any one of the Raga’s many sit-outs and terraces with panoramic views.
Whether you’re a traveller looking for some adventure or seeking a leisurely vacation, Raga on the Ganges is the ideal experience!
Chilly evenings can be spent exchanging stories by the fire or enjoying a barbeque on the hotel’s lawn. Raga on the Ganges is indeed a spectacular sight in the evenings with its lights; the lone structure surrounded by nature resembles a congregation of fireflies in the middle of a dark forest. After a long day you can retire to the comfort of your cosy rooms and be lost in dreams, for the next day will be yet another exciting one!