Sometimes even the festival of lights can feel like lone darkness around you. Perhaps all you need is a getaway to a place where nature’s bliss is enough to light up your soul. Amidst the beauty of the wilderness, nobody to stop you or ask you to keep moving, the life at peace on your terms, that’s the charm of a solo trip. One such Diwali vacation, Prateek Parimal decided to light up his lights in Uttarakhand rather than in his hometown of Delhi. After all, the fireworks of accomplishing one’s goals no matter how strange they may seem are more sparkly than the ones in the sky.
Prateek Parimal’s idea of a solo trip was born when he saw Diwali holiday as freedom from his mundane workdays. It wasn’t just any other leave, it was the festival of lights, and he wanted his life to liven up with an adventure. The heave pollution of Delhi called for a getaway while he thought of ways to cure his loneliness better. There was a need to feel the rush. Not from the sweet hones but a rush of nothing holding you back. That was when the thought of a free fall from a cliff hit him, and soon, he was booking his tickets the next morning to Uttarakhand for a leap of faith.
The Journey – Rishikesh
The destination remained the same that he had visited multiple times as a kid. However, he wanted to see it differently. The ride to Uttarakhand started with a train ride to Rishikesh. Nobody would perhaps look at the sleepy little town with an adorable train station and think this was the highest of adventure one could find in the country. Furthermore, sipping his warm tea, he searched for autos to take him to Lakshman Jhula. A 20 mins ride to his hotel and by 8 am, he had dumped his bag in his room.
There was a breeze that beckoned him out. The overlooking turquoise waters of Ganges and the breezy town was spread like paint on canvas. Hopping across the Lakshman Jhula, he roamed around Rishikesh dotted with yoga schools and river-facing cafes.
However, the goal was the bungee jump he was awaiting. Prateek had already made his booking at Jumping Heights for his experience at INR 3000. There was no backing out of it! Knowing that he was alone perhaps made him have second thoughts, but the good part was if anything embarrassing were to come up, nobody would remember it. Moreover, from talking with the locals, he figured that the destination was still 45 mins away. Luckily, they had a minibus pick up till Mohan Chatti.
The adrenaline inside was going haywire for him to eat anything. However, the ride through the scenic hills made up for a calming trip. Perhaps always the best part of a solo trip was the likeminded people he met on the bus. Just before reaching the centre, they could locate the extended metallic truss platform specially constructed to throw people off the 250 metres deep valley with the river flowing beneath. The height of that is the same as that of standing atop a 30 odd storey building planning to jump a spider-man sequence.
The Jump In Rishikesh
The jumping Heights bungee jumping facility is the highest in Uttarakhand and India. Looking after the jumps is a dedicated team from Europe personally monitoring each.
Soon after a brief introduction, Prateek signed a form taking full responsibility of the jump. Right then, they were walking towards the place for the showdown. Furthermore, the team was friendly and calm, but the height at which he was standing curdled my stomach harder as he approached closer. It was finally time.
Prateek recalled that how much one is prepared, the mind would never allow one to jump into a valley knowing that the rope would come into action after you have freely fallen 250 ft down. Moreover, with a sudden increase in heartbeats, the last moment thought would always be – why the hell am I doing this. That is the fear, one needed to overcome. The guide asked him to shout his heart out, which helps in the blood rush. Once he had fallen into the river, two people helped him lay down on a cot for a few seconds.
Further on, he had to trek up to the centre again. When he saw the other jumpers doing the bungee, he wondered how he would have looked flying. Jumping right at the face of his fears, he knew he had fulfilled the purpose of his solo trip.
Moreover, he even received a free certificate certifying that he had got guts.
After the power-packed jump, he returned to the yoga town. He spent the rest of the day cafe hopping like tropical tourists. Moreover, the Ganga aarti at Triveni Ghat started at 6 pm and was a refreshing vibe to his Diwali.
The first day was long. Soon, he headed back to his hotel for a good sleep before venturing into his next day of the solo trip in Uttarakhand.
- Also Read: River Rafting in Rishikesh
The Next Frontier – Dehradun
Catching the morning, 8 am ST bus from Rishikesh took him through some memorable Himalayan roads. He had reached the capital city of Uttarakhand by 9:30 am. Prateek reminisced how he had always been more of a hustler. Dehradun, as beautiful as it was, it failed to give him the thrill. There were a cooling breeze and a mountainous backdrop of the hills which made for pristine city life. However, it reminded him of any other Indian city with a lot of traffic and a chaotic population.
After a visit to the Forest Research Institute and the colonial architectural buildings, he decided to explore another places of Uttarakhand. Perhaps Haridwar? It was already 12 by the time he had lunch and caught his next bus. With thoughts running through his head, he switched to the Queen Of Hills in Uttarakhand instead.
Mussoorie – Solo Trip To The Queen Of Hills
A one and a half an hour bus ride up the hills, he reached Mussoorie by 5 pm. Furthermore, the bus stop was near the mall road, just a flight of stairs away so needn’t hire any other taxi. Winter was starting to set in, and the place was shuffling with tourists. With basic amenities and satisfying views of Himalayas, he settled for his hotel.
He hopped from one side of the Mall Road to the other. As the sun set down, the views became paintings by the minutes. Soon as the night crawled in, the crowd thinned out. By 10 pm, he strolled along the empty roads with earphones. It felt like an ideal solo trip to shut the world off and live in the moment.
After 30 minutes of walk, he settled himself in a cosy cafe. A cup of coffee on the balcony overlooking the shimmering lights on the hilly town, it made for a perfect solo trip accomplishment. The next morning, he was awake early.
The sunrise from behind the hills helped push him out of his blankets. The view from the Lal Tibba Scenic Point was everything out of a dream. Furthermore, he walked along the Camel’s back road, which veered him away from Mall Road. With the localities going about their daily lives, it was an experience for him. While having his tea and some random chats, he got local advice to head 30 km further to experience snowfall. I had made a plan for Nag Tibba but could not go.
Dhanaulti and its snowfall was a dream for him in the unplanned solo trip. However, the trip had to be rushed!
Soon enough, he had packed his bags by noon and had returned to Dehra Dun. The bus ride taking him through Haridwar, he ventured his way back to New Delhi. While it was a short 3-days and 2-nights journey, it was a much-needed getaway.
That’s when he realised an unplanned journey would have many memories, some logistical changes and many that would be forgotten when written in words. However, it is unplanned that drove one to test their extremes. The solo trip was the light he needed in his Diwali.