We dragged our sick butts onto a sleeper train to get the hell out of Varanasi before concerned locals had the opportunity to drop us off at the dying room. I didn’t need to know how those ladies were feeling that badly. RIP to them.

Rishikesh was FULL! Every single place we tried to get a room at was completely occupied. First time ever during my India trip that this occurred. But I must say, Rishikesh is beautiful and the air really is so much fresher. We crossed the bridge trying not to make eye contact with the mischievous monkeys that lined both sides. Here we finally found a place to dump our bags and shower, my feet were black at this point so I needed one.

Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world

Naughty monkeys that would probably beat you up for food.

Situated near the foot of the Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is the yoga capital of the world and the 7th largest city in India. It’s where The Beatles visited the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late 60’s and ever since, Rishikesh has attracted spiritual seekers from all over the world. Considered to be the birthplace of yoga, there are so many ashrams and different kinds of yoga and meditation classes available.

Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world

And that’s pretty much all I did during my two weeks here. As soon as we’d dropped our bags off and gone for our first wander we’d met a Reiki Master called Debbie, who’s Guru is Sai Baba, who she talks to telepathically.

Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world

Debbie and Claudine (during Holi festival)

Both me and Claudine got Reiki attuned by Debbie and I’ll tell you about my experience because it was cool and powerful. Basically, I really felt it. I’m into facts. I need to see it, or feel it, or hear it. If it’s a fact, I’ll double check that fact and then I might believe it. So anyway, this whole Reiki thing. Damn.

We went into her tiny little room, we were all staying in an ex prison ashram for 50 rupees a night at this point. I sat down and I felt deeply relaxed and I was in a meditative state almost instantly. Debbie was standing behind me and although she wasn’t touching me I could feel the energy from her hands so strongly, I knew exactly where her hands were hovering behind my head. I had an intense throbbing, like a really nice relaxing headache, at the back of my head. It was INSANE. Whatever she did was real. I was floating at the end and when I left I forgot to put my shoes on.

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She said that my heart chakra is crying out for love (yeah sounds about right) and my solar plexus chakra was blocked. ALL Claudine’s chakras were blocked. Boy oh boy. I bought a green marcasite and rose quartz stone necklace from the market to help fix my chakra situation. I’d been reading a lot of crystal healing books (and Osho books) while I was here, there’s an amazing little bookshop in Rishikesh. So I knew what I was doing.

Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world

With all of this crazy energy stuff going on I’d missed a 2 hour tantric sex talk by some Swami. I did however go to lots of others and some that seemed to be a whole lot of BS. I just wasn’t feeling the authenticity of one particular Swami who announced that ‘surfers weren’t welcome’ after I’d payed 100 rupees to hear him talk. I think he was implying that you needed to be dedicated and always show up and follow him. Dude, lose the ego and you might be more believable.

Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world

Random Rishikesh Street

So there were all sorts of random coincidences and chance encounters while I was in Rishikesh. I befriended a blind man and helped him send emails to people. Deep, meaningful messages that were a little bit cryptic and didn’t always make sense. A fortune teller told me I was a Russian Gypsy in my last life. I also had to ship a heavy package of rocks home, I’d become obsessed with gems and crystals and there are so many shops selling them. I took some great yoga classes, and some not so great.

Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world

My Rishikesh reading/apple cake munching spot next to the Ganges

I found it very easy to end my India trip here, surrounded by hills, sitting next to the Ganges and eating homemade apple cake, the ‘best in India’ apparently.

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The apple cake that stole my heart (same size as my head).

I could have gone further north with Claudine to meet the Dalai Lama (I know… what was I thinking) but I was burnt out from all the traveling at this point and Rishikesh was just so tranquil that I didn’t feel the need to leave.

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Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world, is beautiful and the air is much fresher here. We tried not to make eye contact with the mischievous

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