Rishikesh, is a destination that often draws numerous stressed souls from far and wide. It has an idyllic charm of its own. It is indeed an immense pleasure to practice yoga in the beautiful natural setting of Rishikesh and that’s the reason why Rishikesh is regarded as India’s yoga capital. The place has many renowned yoga huts and yogic expert who can guide you in your yoga training. If you are planning for a Rishikesh trip, the travel information below will help you.
The World Yoga Capital of Rishikesh lies in the state of Uttarakhand and is visited by thousands of national and international tourists every year. This was the place where the legendary Beatles paid a visit to Maharishi Yogi Yoga Center and this is also the place which can serve as the source for a trek to the great Himalayan Range or a visit to the Char Dham Yatra.
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.
Hotels In Rishikesh
Rishikesh has lots of guest houses, lounges, resorts, ashrams, low range, mid-range and luxury hotels. One can easily find cheap accommodation near Lakshman Jhula but the majority of ashrams are located in the Swargashram areas. One can choose according to one’s budget and needs.
- Ananda guest house, Swargashram- The place is clean & comfortable and one definitely gets the best value for money here. Charges are Rs.150-200.
- Sarika sanctuary, Swargashram-Place is known to be clean & tidy. Rooms have attached bathrooms with water heaters. The owner has a travel agency and internet cafe too. Rs.150-200
- Raj Resort, Badrinath road, Tapovan- Place offers comfort and A/C & non A/C rooms with balconies overlooking the Mountain View. Gardens, parking & restaurant facilities are also available. The hotel also holds yoga sessions. Charges are Rs.200-1500.
- Vashisht Guest house, Swargashram- Clean & safe place to stay with A/C rooms with television, attached bathroom with water heater. Charges are Rs.300-650.
- Shiva resort, Swargashram-Offers nice & open rooms with balconies and garden. Also offers yoga lessons in morning & evening. An in house pool, internet cafe, ayurvedic treatments & Panchkarma center are also available. Charges are Rs.250-999.
- Green Hotel, Swargashram- The place offers well furnished rooms with television & telephone, attached bathroom with hot water. It also has a restaurant and also provides internet services. Charges are Rs.400-2000.
- Lucky Hotel, Lakshman Jhula- Charges are Rs.300-1299.
- Hotel Ishan, Lakshman Jhula- Decent rooms with Ganga views and balconies Charges starting from Rs. 200.
- Mount Valley Mama Cottage, High Bank- A very friendly hostess & great food, nice Ganga views and the best showers all at very reasonable prices.
- Yoga Niketan Guest House, near Ram Jhula- Clean A/C, non A/C rooms on ground and first floor with exceptional view of Ganga. Meditation & yoga classes in their main ashram which is a 5 min uphill walk from the guest house. Basic Vegetarian meal available on request. Charges are Rs. 500-1000.
- There are two government tourist lodges. Their rate ranges from Rs.600-2000.
- Hotel Prasanna Inn, near Dayananda Ashram – near the river, rooftop yoga.
- Bharat Bhumi- in the town.
- Sisham Jhari- on the banks of river Ganga. Two tourist resorts are also available:-
- Hotel Ganga view, Haridwar road- 15 meter away from the river. Charges are Rs. 1950-2350.
- Tapovan Resort, Lakshmana Jhula-Good rooms & a garden. It also has a good restaurant. Charges are Rs. 1650-1850.
Cuisine in Rishikesh
Though Rishikesh is strictly a vegetarian alcohol banned city the food here has a nice cosmopolitan touch owing to the thousands of foreigners who visit this city every year. North Indian food like Chole Puri, Rajma Chawal, Parantha Sabzi is widely available and so is South Indian food like Sambhar Rice, Dosa, Appam- Stew etc. There are several Ayurvedic and Health Food Restaurants that serve perfect low calorie meals.
During summers and monsoons fresh fruits are sold on carts along with nuts, cookies and popcorn. The jalebis and imartis of Rishikesh are really famous.
Chotiwala is a restaurant serving 5 different types of traditional Indian Thalis.
Little Italy AND Moon Dance Café serve great tasting World Cuisine like Italian, Latin and French.
The Office near Swarg Ashram is best known for its fruit muesli, sweet samosa and masala chai.
Alcohol is banned in Rishikesh but there are nice coffee shops and the Freedom Ganga Café serves mango smoothie, pineapple lassi and strawberry shakes which are delicious.
Cheap quality clothes, prayer beads, several incense brands, religious statues, rudrakhsha malas, bronze utensils abound in the markets of Rishikesh. Gemstones are sold on the roads but you should only buy them from the government emporium or a reputed jewelry shop in Rishikesh. There are several shops selling face packs, massage oils, herbal extracts etc which claim to have soothing and healing properties.