Rishikesh – a destination so rich in natural beauty that it offers a two in one recipe- for the mind as well as the body. Further north of Rishikesh downtown, on the banks of the Ganges, lies the quintessential Rishikesh for the traveler. To the south of Lakshman Jhula is the Swarg Ashram. It has Ashrams built at scenic spots where sages and devotees do their usual rounds of callisthenics, temples which resound with the ritual peal of bells every morning and dusk, bazaars where bargaining sages and haggling ascetics feel totally at home, and the famous Ganga Aarti that dramatic and devotional at the same time.
On the west of Lakshman Jhula is a world waiting for backpackers. Trekkers to the Himalayas start their journey from here. Add to it river rafting, kayaking and bungee jumping- all in breathtaking scenery and you have a Rishikesh that adventure enthusiasts have fallen in love with, and returned to year after year, bestowing on it the name of ‘adventure capital of India’.
Places to visit in Rishikesh
- Triveni Ghat: Thousands of devotees flock to the Triveni Ghat every morning and afternoon to take a dip in the holy water of three rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. The water is believed to have a cathartic effect on the bathers as it washes away their sins. The magnificence of the Ganga Aarti that takes place every evening is quite an affair.
- Bharat Mandir: This 12th-century temple has the idol of Lord Vishnu that was carved out of a single black fossil rock – Shaligram.
- Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula: These 450-ft-long suspension bridges, connecting opposite banks of the River Ganga, are the landmarks of the city. While the Lakshman Jhula is linked to an episode from the epic Ramayana, the Ram Jhula was built to connect Shivananda Ashram with Swarg Ashram.
- Geeta Bhawan: One of the oldest temple complexes is a museum dedicated to Hindu scriptures. It also has 1000 rooms where devotees stay for free.
- Neelkanth Mahadev: Situated on the mountaintop across the River Ganga, this is where Lord Shiva is believed to have drunk poison and came to be known as Neelkanth (one with the blue throat).
- Tera Manzil Temple: Visible from the Badrinath Highway, this 13-storied temple in Rishikesh is known for its architecture and the wonderful view of sunset it affords from the top.
- Kaudiyala: It is popularly known as the white water river rafting capital of India.
- Vashishta Gufa: Once the cave of the famous sage Vashishtha, this place is now a favorite camping spot 16 km off Rishikesh.
- Kunjapuri Devi Temple: This hilltop temple, dedicated to one of the many Hindu Goddesses, offers splendid views at dawn and dusk.
Things to Do in Rishikesh
- Camping and river rafting are the very soul of Rishikesh. The white water rapids and the rafters inspire travelers to hop onto a raft and row away. Many tour companies offer bespoke packages for camping and river rafting.
- Trekking: Rishikesh is equally welcoming to those who prefer soft treks and those who love to walk the tough terrains. Trekking options such as half-day sunrise or sunset trekking to Kunjapuri, full trek to Kunjapuri and full-day trek to Sukanda Devi are quite a lure for trekking enthusiasts.
- Over the years, Rishikesh has come to be known as ‘The Yoga Capital of the World‘ as scores of tourists throng this city to learn Yoga.Every year in February, the International Yoga Week is organized in Rishikesh that sees attendance from all over the world.You can try bungee jumping, cliff jumping, hiking, rappelling, rock climbing, and kayaking as well.
Hotels in Rishikesh
There are no ultra-luxury accommodations available in Rishikesh, yet there are hotels which offer fine staying experience. Divine Ganga Cottage, Green Hills Cottage, Dewa Retreat (A Himalayan Boutique Hotel), Ganga Kinare (a Riverside Boutique Hotel), and Ganga Beach Resort are some of the hotels one would love stay.
Restaurants in Rishikesh
There are quite a few famous restaurants in Rishikesh offering authentic Indian and Continental cuisines. Chotiwala, Oasis Restaurant, Maa Cozy, Green Italian Restaurant, Bistro Nirvana, Ganga Beach Restaurant, and Tip Top Restaurant are common dining destinations.
Where is Rishikesh?
Rishikesh is a city in Uttarakhand located at the foothills of the Himalayas. It is about 25 km north of Haridwar and 43 km from the capital city of Dehradun.
Best Time to Visit Rishikesh
The best time to visit Rishikesh is during fall and winter (October to March). While you get to try all the adventure activities, the added temptation is the International Yoga Festival in February. It is better to avoid the monsoon that prevails from July to September.
How to Reach Rishikesh?
The nearest international airport is in Dehradun. From the airport, a cab will take you to Rishikesh in about 20 minutes. The distance from Jolly Grant Airport to Rishikesh is about 20 km.
The second nearest international airport is in New Delhi. This airport operates flights to and from several countries.
The nearest railway station is in Haridwar that is 25 km away from Rishikesh. From Haridwar railway station, it’s a half-an-hour drive to Rishikesh.
Rishikesh has an extensive road network that connects it with the nearby cities and the capital city of Delhi.
- Rishikesh is also called the ‘Yoga Capital of the World.’
- It lies at an altitude of 1,360 feet above sea level.
- It is the gateway to important religious towns – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
- The Beatles visited Rishikesh in 1968 and supposedly wrote most parts of the ‘White Album’, including hits such as ‘Ob-la-di Ob-la-da’ and ‘Back in the USSR’ here.
- Rishikesh is referred to as the ‘Adventure Capital of India.’ Tourists can explore white water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, hiking, cliff jumping, rappelling, and camping opportunities here.
- You may not find any non-vegetarian food, but the vegetarian dishes served here are quite appetizing.
MS20151107Published On: Thursday, January 15th, 2015