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Aashraya on Ganga, near Rishikesh, Himalayas – “Paradise in the middle of nowhere”

2016-02-10 - Blog - India - Aashraya on Ganga - Cottage 2.jpg

For complete escapism, look no further than the delightful Aashraya on Ganga. The realisation of a longstanding dream for the owner, this traditionally built and eco-friendly retreat is a great place to stay for those seeking serenity and a remote location combined with daily adventures.

The adventure starts from the moment you arrive as the house is only accessed by foot. Luggage will be transported by mules whilst guests get their first taste of the days to come crossing a dramatic bridge across the Ganga to get there. The walk is around 2.5 kilometres and takes around 40 minutes.

There are three individual cottages here and a communal area for dining and relaxation. Each cottage is very spacious and so extra beds can be added for younger children needing to be in the same room as the parents. This design makes it perfect for couples travelling as friends or families travelling with children younger or older.

During your stay explore the local area on foot– visiting villages and absorbing the Himalayan scenery. Enjoy a natural hydrotherapy treatment under a waterfall, relax or meditate on the beaches of the Ganga and for thrill seekers – white water rafting.

In the evenings, enjoy simple, home-cooked and delicious local fare. If you love cooking just ask and the staff will help you create your favourite dish or if you are looking for something new, cookery lessons are on offer too.

Private instructors can be arranged for yoga and meditation and just in case you need help relaxing, treatments in the privacy of your room can be booked with advance notice.

The owner certainly had a vision for Aashraya on Ganga. Not only did he carefully consider the materials to use (using recycled materials for the roof and traditional local dry stone construction methods) he also employed local craftsmen to complete the works.

Furthermore, the local community benefits from his vision with 5% of the profits being reinvested to them as well as employing local villagers to help run the house.

They also support the local school and guests are invited to visit the school and can help teach the children too – what better way to get involved with a community than this?! This truly is a soul-enriching experience.

Originally intended as a private home, this ambience remains here. It is simple in its décor and the luxury comes in the form of location, views and being able to enjoy a small part of the world where very few others will pass.

Those interested can visit Rishikesh for the day as it is just 45km away. The real reason for coming to Rishikesh, of course, must be for the Aarti ceremonies. This is a very powerful and spiritual ritual, performed on the banks of the Ganges.

These are simply magnificent and humbling experiences to behold, to stand on the steps of the River Ganga, with the Brahmen priests and their helpers, just as the sun begins to set, listening to their melodic chanting.

You then are given your marigold candle and your leaf and set it sail, together with your wishes, down the river, as the sky rages from pinks to orange and purple hues.

Aashraya on Ganga can be visited year round, however from mid-October to the end of February (winter months) the water in the river is blue and although a bit more chilly in the evenings the days can be very pleasant. During the rainy season (mid-July to the end of August) the foliage is lush and the surroundings green.

So peaceful you only hear the wind and the birds”

For more remote, off-the-beaten-track safaris and holidays in Asia, visit our page Where are the remotest safaris and holidays in Asia.