Lakshman Jhula is the most popular landmark in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. It is a 450-ft long suspended bridge and connects Tehri and Pauri district. Rishikesh is located in the foothills of the Himalayas and is about 45 km from Dehradun, the state capital.
When we visited Rishikesh on a beautiful winter morning in January, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was a sacred city, was called the Yoga Capital of the World, and that tourists flocked from far and wide to meditate and relax their exhausting mind. And then, enveloped by forested hills where the exquisite sight of the fast-flowing Ganges. It left me breathless!
The best time to visit Rishikesh is in the months of November and May. Else it could get very hot and humid. We decided to take a walk from Ram Jhula to Lakshman Jhula where we could stop by the many Ashrams. All kinds of yoga and meditation classes are available here. There is so much to absorb and imbibe in Rishikesh; the holy river Ganga, the Sadhus, the Yoga and the international tourists clad in saffron, symbolizing sannyasa/renunciation give you the feeling of inner peace.
History of Lakshman Jhula
The sacred city of Rishikesh finds its mention in many mythological references. Legend has it that Lord Rama dedicated his life in search of moksha/liberation here after he executed Ravana. Lord Rama’s younger brother Lakshmana, crossed the Ganges using two jute ropes, for which the famous Laxman Jhula was built. It is an iron and cable suspension bridge that connects the nearby villages to the various retail outlets near the bridge.
Walking the bridge is not so easy. It sways to and fro even on the calmest weather days. You can find scooters, bicycles, monkeys and cows trying to use the bridge and things become tad bit difficult.
We headed to the famous Trayambakeshwar temple near Lakshman Jhula. Aptly called Tera Manzil because of its 13 storeyed structure, it is believed that the prayers offered at the Trimbakeshwar – ‘Abode of the three eyed one‘ are fulfilled. Lord Shiva in the form of a magnificent Lingam is the main deity. The temple is also adorned with idols of various gods and goddesses from Hindu mythology.
We reached early afternoon but I was worried if the temple would be open at that time. We were relieved to know that the temple remains open at all times on all days. One important thing! Do not confuse with the Trayambakeshwar Temple of Nasik that houses one of the only twelve Jyotirlingams in the world.
From this small round about, take a left towards the temple lane and entrance. These are mainly Pooja Bhandars where you get pooja items and rudrakshas.
Markets at Lakshman Jhula
Take a right and you can find a long array of shops. The market near Lakshman Jhula is ideal for some shopping therapy. You’ll find some stunning pieces of Crochet work Ponchos, handmade jewelry, wooden pieces, jewelry, rudrakshas and idols of God. Be sure to bargain and you’ll strike gold.
We had purchased in bulk from this store and it was easy on the pocket (even though it had fixed price!) – Indian Spice Masala boxes, laddles, corner tables and household items, all made of wood.
There were some splendid show pieces and idols made of brass as well.
My favorite were the wooden ladles which were available for Rs 20 per piece.
Do not miss authentic Rishikesh food at Chotiwala Restaurant, which has a mascot sitting on a high chair with a painted face and a prominent choti/Pig Tail. Oh! He lets you take a picture with him as well.
The service was prompt and the hygiene factor was good as well. The food is delicious and affordable. One should deinitely try the Thaali.
We were back to Ram Jhula by late afternoon and decided sit back for a few minutes and enjoy some quiet moments on the river bank, listening to the soft gurgling sound of the river. We took a holy dip in the Ganges and swore to return for the Ganga Aarti soon. Oh, do rafting too!