You can study yoga and music with sitar guru, Bhuwan Chandra at his gurukul near the Ram Jhula Bridge, next door to Swargashram police station. People travel from all over the world for personal study with the maestro. He is most welcoming and very knowledgeable about the history of the sitar. His brother, Kamal, gives daily yoga lessons in their splendid yoga & music hall, just two minutes from the school.
Fondest memory: Be sure not to miss Bhuwan Chandra's INTERNATIONAL FREE YOGA AND MUSIC FESTIVAL 1st-14th November EVERY year.
Favorite thing: The Property is spread over a couple of hills. It has a Palace ( once a residence of Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal. You can either choose a deluxe room or Viceregal Palace (rooms in the palace cost twice as much). Every Deluxe room has a Balcony which promises a view of the valley or of the Palace.
Spend as much time in Rishikesh as you can afford, it's a serendipitous place with contrasting surprises around each corner. There's even an ATM machine next to the Shiva garden in Swarg Ashram, it is a bit of a congregational point for the local beggars though. It's a bit tough leaving the ATMs air-conditioned booth, stepping over limbless pilgrims, dropping a few rupees into their bowls when you've just filled your wallet with crisp new notes. At least they seem to accept their Karma, knowing next time around, they'll have the fat purse and you the rice bowl. We rested easy in the knowledge that the town has some very exclusive ashrams, which are way out of our budget, where India's new elite stay while purging their souls.
A good tip for spending your last day visiting Haridwar, is to catch the night train from there back to Delhi. If we get around to it we must add our tips for visiting this even more holy city, though it is geared more towards the devout Hindu, than Rishikesh; which is far more welcoming to both new age and old age hippies like us.
Fondest memory: We miss the tranquility.