Rishikesh News Updates
Rishikesh News Updates
For a few months this year, tourism in Rishikesh came to a halt. The state did not allow entry to tourists and Indians from certain states till September. For Rishikesh, tourism is a big and important business and many locals are employed in the industry. In September, rafting in Rishikesh is open again. This is a mainstay that brings in lots of local tourists every year. Sounds like good news for Rishikesh. Unfortunately shortly after opening for business again, many rafting guides began testing positive for the corona virus. The reason? The tourists were not following rules.
India is a very crowded country, even in a small town like Rishikesh. Many logical corona virus measures would not be quite logically implementable here or anywhere in India as people live in close proximity in crowded areas.
When can Rishikesh be safe again? When can the world be safe again for travels? Let's hope the corona vaccine will relieve us of this terrible period of time soon. Meanwhile, you will have to wait for that yoga retreat. But if you just want to practice with a particular yoga teacher in Rishikesh, many have started zoom classes. Check it out. Even some satsang teachers have gone online. So all is not lost, thankfully.
Is Rishikesh safe? Can women travel alone around Rishikesh? The big answer is Yes.
Does it mean there are no crimes on women or general crimes in Rishikesh? No, it doesn't mean that. Petty crimes like pick-pocketing or minor robberies can happen anywhere in the world although this doesn't happen often in Rishikesh. India is infamous for rape crimes. Rishikesh is no exception although the incident rates are low and if you read such news carefully, you may notice possible reasons that the crime could happen. Many men in India are sex hungry. I am sorry, but this is the truth. Perhaps from being deprived of regular boy-girl relationships which are sometimes frowned upon or restricted? Perhaps from lack of experience with nudity or partially clothe/unclothe women? Nobody really becomes sexually aroused seeing a naked woman in Europe for example, in fact, people will just laugh at the sight and wonder what's wrong. Nude strangers sitting together in public saunas in Europe raise not an eyelid. Reactions are different in India, bear in mind this is a totally different culture.
So okay, why is it still safe for women in Rishikesh then? Well, if you behave as Romans do when in Rome and don't do anything silly, why shouldn't it be safe? Here's what women should not do in Rishikesh:
- Walking in areas not inhabited by people (this can hardly be the case in main Rishikesh areas where tourists are), especially at night.
- Drinking with Indian male "friends". If you don't already know, Rishikesh is an alcohol free city. But nevertheless locals are known to drink in private sometimes. So if you are invited by your new found, friendly local guy to an alcoholic (or for that matter non-alcoholic) drink in your hotel room, a private house/room or yoga center, know that you put yourself at risks of being drunk or drugged or both. Many locals are nice, friendly people. Just know where the borders are with the men.
- Inviting men into your hotel room for chats. This could look like something else to the other person. Remember, you are in a different culture. Why not go to a cafe? Or just in your hotel lobby if everything is closed at that hour?
- going home too late after a round of hanging out somewhere - get someone you know to walk you back or not stay beyond 9-10pm when the shops are all closed and most people are already home.
- dressing too immodestly. Meaning showing off your cleavage in super tight yoga clothes for example. Too much skin attracts too much unnecessary attention no matter how you see it. Besides, Rishikesh is a holy town, so why the urge to flaunt or make a statement?
These sound all like logical advice but believe me, if you are in India for the first time, you might become over friendly or not understand where boundaries should be. Just be aware of your surroundings and nothing much can happen in Rishikesh. It is indeed a very safe town, especially the tourist areas.
Here's some recent serious crimes in the news. Though not at all common, it happens. Read how it happens.
Uttarakhand: 37-year-old yoga enthusiast from US raped by local resident in Rishikesh
Yogashala attendant rapes US woman in Rishikesh