In December I took a week's tour from Delhi to Jim Corbett National Park and Rishikesh/Haridwar with sanjayindiatours.com
Had a great time, will be posting photos soon :)
Day 1: Was picked up at my friend's place in Delhi by Sunil, a driver I was very happy with having previously taken Delhi City Tour with him (see my review
The drive to Corbett was a little foggy for the first 2 hours but I was impressed that Sunil at one point stopped for 15 minutes when visibility was poor. It was amazing the sense of relief I felt once we were driving out of Delhi and the into the countryside. I was startingto have chest congestion from the pollution in Delhi. The drive from the highway on a dirt road to the Wild Iris resort was spectacular. As it was late in the afternoon we spotted deer and monkeys as we drove by. The Resort is on the edge of Jim Corbett National Park and you feel like you are in the forest. All meals are included with both fantastic western and indian food. I had a cottage to myself, the gift of biscuits and fruit platter was appreciated.
Day 2: After a leisurely breakfast Sunil and I went for a walk to the nearby river, passing a small village on the way. I felt very happy walking along the river bed and saw a group of monkeys coming down to the river for a drink. Hankering after just "being amongst the forest" Sunil and I walked for a km along a track in the forest, I felt like I was back in Australia on a bush walk. After lunch I had to take a rest as I suffer from chronic fatigue illness. After dinner the owner organised a bonfire with entertainment. A very good traditional Hindi singer crooned the guests with love songs.
Day 3: Wandered again thru the local village in the morning and watched Sunil wash the Toyota Innova car in the river like it was an elephant! Sanjay called to see how i was feeling and I told him i needed to rest for the afternoon even though he had booked jeep safari tour in the main part of the park. He was very kind and told me not to worry and rest.
Day 4: After breakfast we drove all day to reach Rishikesh, the holy city on the Ganges.
I was happy to check in to the hotel Tapovan Resort in Rishikesh, near Laxman Julla (julla meaning bridge). This was a beautiful hotel with very large rooms with balconies overlooking the mountains. They also have well kept gardens with lots of flowers.
Day 5: The next day we drove the short distance to ram julla, which is a quieter ghat area where I bought some puja thali (flowers, sweets and incense in a little boat). I then did the traditional pooja (prayer) and sent the little boat of offerings down the ganges.
Hoping that this had improved my karma I then boarded the motorized boat (Rs15) that take people across the ganges from ram julla to the rama temple. got gently nudged in the bottom by a cow!! The driver couldn’t stop laughing. The cows are very cheeky in rishikesh as they have the rule of this sacred hindu city. The walk from rama temple back to laxman julla was very interesting, lots of stalls selling hindu music, beads western hippie clothes etc. At laxman julla we had a great meal at the german bakery that has fantastic views of the bridge and the ganges before returning to the hotel.
Day 6: After a leisurley breakfast we drove to the market area near the base of the Mansa Devi temple. Their is a cable car up to the temple and on the way up there are amazing views. We then drove into Haridwar and had a late lunch watching the pilgrims on the ghats. At 6pm we joined the famous gangan aarti It was amazing watching the pilgrims immersing themselves in the River Ganges and the lamps that are lit during the Aarti which is then floated away.
Day 7: After a good nights sleep we left after breakfast for our return journey to delhi.
Much thanks to my driver, Sunil for a great trip. Thanks also to Sanjay from sanjayindiatours.com for organizing this trip, being flexible with my health, and booking such a great hotels.