Devout Hindus believe the ritual bath in the river Ganga cleanses them of sin and frees them from the cycle of birth and rebirth. And then there is the shortcut. Go body surfing in Rishikesh. This is where the Ganga is at its best — sparkling, clean and inviting. A dip, a swim, a bath here may not clear the slate if you are a ‘A ‘ league sinner, but is highly recommended if you are a small-timer in the sin stakes. And body surfing isnot the only option. If you have time on your hands, go down to the river bank, play with the white sand, build sand castles with your child, and take a swig of the Ganga water flowing beside you. Or go for a long walk up in the mountains. If you get thirsty, come down to the river and drink a palmful.
Does the shortcut work? Will I make it to heaven? I don’t know. But rafting down the Ganga at Rishikesh and drinking the sweet river water offered a taste of heaven here on earth. I even brought home two bottles.