Rishikesh is the small town located in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India. It is built on the convergence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga. This town at the foothills of Himalayas is a heart to many popular cafes, ancient temples, yoga ashrams and adventure sports. The scenic beauty Rishikesh, is also known as the world capital of yoga. The pilgrimage of “The Char Dham” ideally begins from Rishikesh. With the growing popularity of white water rafting, camping and popular cafes his small town has grown into a famous tourist spot, catering to the people with different needs.
Every year with lot of tourist coming here had led Rishikesh to increase the number of cafes and restaurants to make available most of the cuisines. With the passing years Rishikesh has been a hub for the number of adventure sports such as white-water rafting, camping, trekking, bungee jumping, mountain biking, etc. Rishikesh has been rated as one of the best camping site in India. Rishikesh is a mandatory destination in every traveler’s list of places to visit who want to indulge themselves in something new and adventurous. Here, holy Ghats and scenic ambience provide a natural calmness to the body and soul. Rishikesh is also spelled as Hrishikesh.
Ever since time immemorial Rishikesh has been a crucial centre of spiritual activities along with being a part of the holy Kedarkhand. As per legend, after killing the evil King Raavan, and committing Brahma hatya, Lord Ram did some severe penance in Rishikesh. The brothers Lord Ram and Laxman had crossed the holy Ganga River where the current Ram and Laxman Jhula, an impressive suspension iron rope structure, has been constructed. The holy river Ganga makes its way through this sacred town and marks the point where the river leaves the Shivalik hills of the Himalayan region and enters the plains of the northern Indian region.
Temples of Rishikesh
Bharat Mata Mandir: Dedicated to lord Vishnu and established by the iconic and the legendary sage and philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya during the 12th century, this temple is one of the most unique establishments of Rishikesh. It is home to a complete map of the Indian subcontinent without its boundaries which is a stand out feature.
Neelkanth Mahadev: As the name suggests this temple I dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the most highly revered temples of Rishikesh. Nestled inside a thick and lush forest covering, amongst the bountiful natural surroundings a visit to this temple will definitely have a positive impact on your Soul.
Trayambakeshwar Temple: Also popularly known as 13 Manzil Mandir this temple is a landmark structure whose construction dates back to 400 years ago. Each floor of the temple houses a different deity making it one of the most highly revered temples of India.
Kunjapuri Temple:Located comfortably at a distance of 25 km from the main station of Rishikesh, and residing amidst the lush greenery this temple houses some important details and explanations about the Hindu religion. The point of this temple is to answer all the doubts that arise in Hindu religion.
Sightseeing in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is a sacred Hindu town which is famous for its religious spots, temples and monuments. You should definitely pay a visit to the following places.
Swarg Ashram: As the name suggests, it is a beautiful place situated in serene surroundings at the foot of Himalayas on the left bank of Ganga between Rishikesh & Laxmanjhula. It is a very spiritual place since it has many temples & ashrams. Here you can find the caves still inhabited by sadhus or hermits. The beautiful statues in the area mesmerize the tourists.
Triveni Ghat: The Maha Aarti is performed in the early hours of the morning and thousands of devotees come to take a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges.
Gita Bhavan: In March and December, millions of people congregate in Rishikesh to catch the communal Ramayana reading in Gita Bhavan (established by Saint Guru Ram Sukh).
Parmarth Niketan: You should take your kids to this place if you want them to be exposed to the Vedas and receive spiritual education from an early age.
Trayambakeshwar Temple: This is a 13 storied magnificent temple dotted with gorgeous deities and is one of the main attractions of Rishikesh.
Music Concert is organized by the Veena Maharaj Music School that is about 20 km from Ram Jhula. This happens every Sunday from 7 pm onwards and is a un-miss able event if you are in Rishikesh during the weekend.
How to Reach
Rishikesh is very near the Jolly Grant Airport which is officially the Airport of Dehradun City. About 15 minutes of travel by a taxi or an auto rickshaw will take you inside the city. If you are thinking of travelling by car then you will be happy to know that Rishikesh is well connected by roads. It’s reachable in 6-7 hours from Delhi. There is a train line between Rishikesh and Haridwar that can be availed if you are thinking of clubbing both cities together by train. All major Indian cities are connected to Haridwar by train so it’s best to make Haridwar a base if you are commuting by train.
Best Time to Visit
Being located at the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Rishikesh experiences a comparatively more pleasant and comfortable weather condition throughout the year. However if you want to have a wholesome experience then visiting Rishikesh during the months of February, March, August, September and October. If you are planning on going on a fun river rafting experience then the months of March – April and September – October is advised. If you are planning on having a more spiritual experience then visiting Rishikesh during the month of July in the auspicious eve of Savan is advised.
Activities in Rishikesh
In case you are more a fan of adventure, yoga and exercise then Rishikesh is paradise for you.
White Water Rafting happens in Rishikesh between Dec to March on the River Ganga. There are trained instructors who will guide you through this enjoyable sport.
Rappelling is done at the several Cliff drops near Rishikesh. There is a rope and safety equipment in place which will help you navigate your way down a sharp cliff while enjoying the thrill.
Camping grounds abound near Rishikesh where you can spend your time listening to Holy Music/ Trance music and admiring nature.
Kayaking, Cliff Jumping, trekking and River Rafting are some other enjoyable activities that happen in Rishikesh. Shivpuri which is 10 km away from Rishikesh is a good center for such activities. Rajaji National Park is good spot if you are interested in wildlife.
Yoga and Massage Centers abound in Rishikesh and you can avail of sessions or even learn these healing arts from trained instructors. A good place to target is Ayurveda Nirvana near Laxman Jhoola Road.
Yoga Capital of the World
Popularly known as the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is an ever growing and a thriving hub for not only experiencing but also learning some yoga. This rejuvenating experience can be done at the numerous ashrams that dot the entire town. Some of the yoga centres of Rishikesh include – Patanjali international yoga foundation, Tattvaa Yogashala, Om yoga, Vyas yoga peeth and so much more. People from all across the globe visit Rishikesh to have a memorable and rejuvenating yoga experience.
Adventure Tourism in Rishikesh
Apart from being the spiritual and yoga hubspot of India, Rishikesh has a whole different phase which is that of adventure. It is a teeming centre for various outdoor adventure and adrenaline pumping activities like – white river rafting, trekking, camping, bungee jumping along with a bunch of other blood pumping opportunities. It has become an ideal weekend getaway destination for its religious significance as well as its fun packed options.