Rishikesh tour, History of Rishikesh, Attractions in Rishikesh, Activities in Rishikesh, Adventure Tours in Rishikesh, Things to do in Rishikesh, Accommodation in Rishikesh, Food in Rishikesh, How to Reach Rishikesh.
Situated along the convergence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga, Rishikesh on the foothills of Himalayas is the hub of many ancient temples, popular cafes, yoga ashrams and adventure sports.
Rishikesh is the most beautiful blend of spiritual and adrenaline pumping experiences. With Whitewater Rafting industry growing and a number of camping and cafe spots springing up, Rishikesh has grown immensely as a favourite, catering to people with different needs.
Rishikesh, over the years, has become extremely popular as the top spiritual destination in the world, especially after the Beatles association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here in the late ’60s. As it lies on the holy banks of river Ganga, this place has been a hub of Sadhus (saints) and there are numerous ashrams teaching spirituality, yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. With the tourists coming in, there has been a surge in the number of cafes and restaurants in the town and there a lot of cafes serving English and American food and beverages. However, in the last few years, Rishikesh has also been developed as the hub of Adventure Sports in India as there is a multitude of options including White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Flying Fox, Mountain Biking, etc. here. It also serves as the gateway to many Himalayan treks and is used as a popular camping site. Rishikesh is a must visit for everyone visiting India to truly experience something new.
There are several myths and stories associated with the History of Rishikesh, the oldest of them being a sage Raibhya Rishi, performing a penance on the banks of the river Ganga. Impressed by his penance, Lord Vishnu appeared in front of him in the form of Hrishikesh. Hence, the spot was named after him. Another and probably a more famous legend is of Lord Lakshmana crossing the river Ganga on a bridge made of a rope. This bridge is known as the “Lakshmana Jhula”. The original bridge made of jute was destroyed in 1924 because of a flood. Later, this bridge was rebuilt, and today stands as a great tourist attraction. The fact that the river Ganga, on whose banks Rishikesh is situated, flows from the Himalayas, makes it a holy river in the eyes of the sages. Hence, Rishikesh sees the most beautiful evening aarti on the banks of the river Ganga, which is not too crowded unlike its contemporaries in Varanasi, and Badrinath.
Attractions in Rishikesh
Triveni Ghat : Triveni Ghat is biggest bathing ghat in Rishikesh. Situated near the main market this ghat has mesmerizing view of mountain and river. The reason for the name is it is believed that this is conference of 03 rivers Ganges, Yamuna and legendary Saraswati. Due to the conference this ghat is great place to take a bath. Ghat is structure of steps where people can acess river for holy bath. Everyday Ganges ceremony (Ganga Aarti) is organized at ghat in evening. (5 PM in winter and 6 PM in Summer) This is beautiful place to sit right on the bank of the river and view the mountain and river with the company of cool river breeze. Triveni Ghat is situated just 100 meter far from the main market. Small Shani Mandir is also located near Triveni Ghat.
Lakshman Jhula : Big iron suspension bridge on the river Ganges which is 4.5 kms far from Rishikesh. It is believed that Lakshman (Brother of lord Ram) crossed the river here by jute rope. Current bridge is built in 1929 in when the old bridge (1989 built) was damaged in flood. Laskman Jhula is popular in tourist for shopping and other activites such as rafting. Both side of the bridge has so many different shops with interesting things to buy. Lakshman temple and Tera Manzil Temple is also situated here. From the bridge you can have spectacular view of river and the city. Lakshman Jhula is pedestrian bridge but it is also used for bikes.
Ram Jhula : Suspension bridge similar to the Lakshman Jhula between Sivananda Ashram and Swarg Ashram is known as Ram Jhula or Sivananda Jhula. Boat is also available here on sharing basis to cross the river. So many shops are available on the both side of bridge for shopping. Sivananda Ashram, Yog Niketan Ashram and Omkarnanda Ashram is located at one end of the brindge and the other end has Swarg Ashram, Gita Bhawan and Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Ram Jhula is pedestrian bridge but it is also used for bikes.
Parmarth Niketan : Parmarth Niketan Ashram is located in the Swarg Ashram area. The Ashram has so many rooms for devotees as well as tourist. Ashram has many religious statues inside. Parmarth Niketan is also host for the Internationa Yoga Festival every year. Ashram is popular among the tourist for Yoga. Every day Ganga Aarti ceremony is organized at the Ghat of the Ashram in Evening.(5 PM in winter and 6 PM in Summer. The aarti is widely visited by the tourists.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple : This temple is situated at 1325 meters height and 31 kms far from Rishikesh. Neelkant Mahadev is Temple of Lord Shiva. According to legends Lord Shiva came here for meditation when he consumed poison during the sea churning. Lord Shiva’s throat became blue colored due to the poison so he is known as a NeelKanth (Blue throated) here. Thousand of tourist visit this temple during Shivratri and Kanwar Mela. Temple is also accessible by trekking route and by road from Swarg Ashram. Temple Timings: 05 AM to 01 PM and 04 PM to 09 PM.
Sivananda Ashram : Sivananda Ashram is also known as Divine Life Society. It is located near Ram Jhula. Sivanada Ashram was established by Swami Sivananda. Swami Sivanada lived here for more than 30 years. There are several activities performed by the Ashram such as Yoga Meditation and hospital. Sivananda Ashram has rooms for the guest. Ashram has Meditation hall, Yoga Hall & Music Hall. Sivananda Ashram is one of the most popular ashrams in Rishikesh.
Bharat Mandir : Bharat Mandir Temple situated at the center in Rishikesh and near the main market. This is one of the oldest temples in Rishikesh. The deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu. Raibhya Rishi made penance here and lord Vishnu appeared in front of the sage to give him blessing. Temple has small musium also. Bharat Mandir Temple is inside the Rishikesh Market area and can be reached easily from Chandrabhaga Bridge(Temple Timings: 05 AM to 11 AM and 3 PM to 09 PM).
Gita Bhawan : Gita Bhavan (Geeta Bhawan) is Ashram located in Swarg Ashram area. The ashram has large complex with discourse hall and more than 300 rooms which they are offering to tourist at very low cost. There is temple of also inside the ashram. Lessons from Bhagvad Gita is written on the walls of Ashram. Inside the temple you can see life of Lord Krishna in pictures. Cloth store, Book store, Ayurvedic medicine shop and restaurant are part of this.
Swarg Ashram : Swarg Ashram is area between Lakshman Jhula and Rishikesh. This place is well known for various famous ashrams, beautiful surroundings, healthy and divine living. So many shops are also here for shopping. Place is accessible via Ram Jhula bridge by walk or by road via Beraj. Parmarth Niketan, Gita Bhawan, Bhootnath Temple and many other intresting places are part of the Swarga Ashram area.
Tera Manzil Temple : Tera Manzil Temple has 13 floors. Each floor has many small temples with different deities throughout the This temple is located near the Lakshman Jhula. The view from the top of the temple is amazing. Temple is also known as Trayambakeshwar Temple, Trimbakeshwar Temple or Kailashanand Mission Trust.
Beatles Ashram : Beatles Ashram is located in the Swarg Ashram this ashram is closed in 1997 and consumed by forest department. Still there are some building such as meditation cells and lecture halls are there as a witness of the glory of ashram. In February 1968 Beatle stayed here to learn yoga and meditation. After the Beatle’s visit Rishikesh came in limelight throughout the world for yoga.
Jungle Vibes : Here you can learn to make some music instruments from Indian old men Mukesh Dhiman. Australian Didgeridoo and African Djembe are specialty of Mukesh.
Other places to visit in Rishikesh : Bhootnath Temple, Iscon Temple, Astha Path, Raghunath Temple, Rishikund, Swarga Niwas Temple, Marine Drive, Rishikesh Main Market, Chandreshwar Mahadev Temple and Goa Beach.
Things to do in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is unique city in terms of variety of things which it can offer to tourist. There is something for everyone who comes here. Rishikesh can’t disappoint anyone. All you need is good guidance. Take a look at some of the activities in Rishikesh.
Ganga aarti (Ganges Ceremony) : Highly recommended for everyone. Take a holy dip in the Ganges and enjoy Ceremony in evening at Parmarth Niketan or Triveni Ghat. Sit near the river Ganges, feel the music, the breeze and the auspicious atmosphere around you. Ganga Aarti is ceremony for the River Ganges. Every evening many people visit Triveni Ghat or Parmarth Niketan for the ceremony.
Ashram life in Rishikesh : Rishikesh is best option if you want to experience the ashram life. Stay in ashram, eat satwik (organic) food, take part in ashram activities, listen the lecture on Hinduism and how to live peaceful life, help the needful, help in ashram work and spend time with children and locals these are the key activities you can do at ashram.
Ayurveda in Rishikesh : Ayurveda is a traditional way or system of medicines native to Indian subcontinent. Ayurveda is type of alternate medicine. Ayurveda is widely used in Rishikesh. Some ashram and centers provide facility of Ayurvedic treatment. Panchkarma is very popular therapy. Panchkarma is used to get rid of toxic materials from our body. Ayurveda uses generally plant based medicines which found in Indian subcontinent.
Shopping in Rishikesh : Every tourist wants some special souvenirs of the trip for their family, friends or relatives. Rishikesh has so many varieties for Shopping. Here in markets you can get gems, jewelry, precious and semi precious stones, cloths, idols, rudraksh, spiritual books and other spiritual items. Laksman Jhula (Tapovan), Ram Jhula, Swarg Ashram and main market are major shopping areas.
Lecture or Discussion with Guru : This is new trend in Rishikesh. So many visitors from foreign countries are eager to learn and know about Hinduism when they come in this holy area. Some Guru’s (Spiritual Leaders) are here from them one can have small discussion or lecture on Hinduism. Prior appointment is required for this.
Music Classes : During free time during the long stay one can learn Indian musical instruments. Some people also try singing lessons. Rishikesh has some beautiful music schools. Some people stay in Rishikesh for long period to learn yoga & meditation. During the free time some people also joins music classes to learn Indian classical music. One can have lifetime experience of learning vocals as well as musical instruments such as Sitar (Plucked string instrument), Harmonium, Shehnai (Flute), Dholak, Tabla (Drums) and many others.
Astrology in Rishikesh : Astrology or Palmistry services are also available in Rishikesh. Personal horoscope and palm reading can be done at many places but you should choose the best among them. Birth date, time and city are general requirements for the session. Most of the people like to have answers about their future. Normal astrology needs 02 hours.
Cooking Classes : In Rishikesh you can get cooking classes where you can learn some Indian dishes. Good cook is not easy to get but not impossible. Knowledge of cooking in traditional Indian way is something different thing that you can take away to your country.
Activities in Rishikesh
Pilgrimage: Rishikesh is one of the most revered pilgrimage destinations in Hinduism and attracts large number of devotees and pilgrims who visit this spiritual abode and take a dip in the holy Ganges to cleanse their soul.
Yoga in Rishikesh: Located at the convergence of the Ganga and Chandrabagha, Rishikesh is believed to be the holiest place for Hindu pilgrims. The numerous temples, the holy ghats, and the serene ambiance provide a natural calmness to the body and soul. The land of yogis, Rishikesh is popular for the several yoga ashrams present in the city. Visited by numerous people worldwide, the yoga camps is Rishikesh are known to rejuvenate the tourists and help them break free from the stress of daily life. From the evening arti in the Triveni Ghat to the simple culture of the ashrams, exploring Rishikesh is a treat to the mind and a trip to the inner self.
Adventure Sports In Rishikesh: Rishikesh has gained popularity over the last few years as an ideal place for adventure. The city offers a myriad of adventure sports ranging from river rafting to bungee jumping, cliff jumping, firefox, waterfall trekking, kayaking, swing, rock climbing etc. The availability and rates of these activities vary with seasons and is often a thrilling, life-changing experience for tourists. The exciting experience and natural beauty of Rishikesh are sure to be etched in the mind of tourists for years.
Adventure Tours in Rishikesh
Rafting in Rishikesh : Brahmpuri, Shivpuri and Kaudiyala are small villages from where people can start their rafting to Rishikesh. Small rafting can be done from Brahmpuri (11 kms). 18 kms rafting can be done from Shivpuri and 25 kms long rafting can be done from kaudiyala. During monsoon rafting is not possible due to heavy rain. October to June is general season for Rafting.
Camping in Rishikesh : Camping is a famous weekend activity. So many temporary camps are established near Rishikesh. Camping can be done in jungle and river bank. Some camps provide group activities. There is no age limit for camping. Enjoy the nature, river and small trek in the camp. Best time for stay in camp October to May. You have a few options of choice for camps like budget camps, Luxury camps or deluxe camps.
Bungee Jumping : Bungee Jumping or Bungy Jumping is newly added in Rishikesh. It can be done at Jumpin heights which is 15km far from Rishikesh on the Rishikesh – Neelkanth road) Bungee Jump is 83 mtrs above a natural river. Other activities such as Flying Fox and Giant Swing is also available here. Only few places in India have facilities for Bungee Jumping.
Jungle Safari in Rishikesh : Rajaji National Park or Chilla park is Just 25 kms far from Rishikesh. If you are interested in wildlife this is nearest National park. Per day 02 times Jungle safari can be done here. Morning at 07:00HRS and afternoon 14:00HRS. Normal Jungle safari takes 03 to 04 hour by jeep ride for 36 kms safari range in Rajaji National Park. Elephant, deer, birds and tigers (only few) are key animals of the park.
Trekking in Rishikesh : There are so many treks available near the Rishikesh. Soft, moderate and hard trek are options. Small treks can be done to beautiful villages and waterfalls and other treks for more than 01 day can be done in jungle or near by mountains. Trekking alone is not advisable. Famous small trek are Neer garh (Neer Gaddu waterfall trek, Kunjapuri trek, Neelkanth Temple Trek, Jhilmil Gufa Trek and Trek near Rajaji National Park. Other famous long treks are Gomukh (Gaumukh) Trek, Valley of flower Trek, Tungnath Trek, Devoria tal Trek, Hemkund sahib trek, Kuari Pass Trek and Roop kund Trek.
Other Adventure activities in Rishikesh : Kayaking, Biking, Cycling, Rock climbing, Rappelling, Body Surfing and Cliff Jumping are other famous adventures in Rishikesh.
Accommodation is not a problem at Rishikesh as the place is flooded with numerous guesthouses, hotels and resorts. Also, being a religious place, there are many ashrams and dharamshalas in Rishikesh where one can stay.
Weather in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is located at an altitude of 360 meters above the sea level in hill area. Rishikesh can be visited through out the year how ever September, October & November are best time to visit Rishikesh. Spring season in Rishikesh is from Mid February to late May. Summer season is from mid May to July. Monsoon starts generally in late July till the September. Winter season is from Oct to mid feb. In winter temperature is around 8 C to 20 C & during summer temperature is around 30 to 42 C. Rishikesh weather has very pleasant during the whole year.
Restaurants and Local Food in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is a purely vegetarian place by law. One would mostly find North Indian cuisine here. However, South Indian, Italian, Nepali, Thai and Chinese cuisine are also available at some of the places. The city fosters a parallel vibrant culture that revolves around authentic Continental cuisine and some cafes.
Another standout in the area is the Ayurvedic food. The outlets that have these health foods offer a variety of food items and teas as well as a complete ambience with elements of Yoga and Ayurveda. Other than these, the street also offers some equally lip-smacking treasure such as Jalebi, Imarti, Samosas, Popcorn as well as fresh and seasonal local fruits. Also, order a ‘Thali’ for enjoying the best of what the city offers, all in one place.
How to Reach Rishikesh
Rishikesh By Road: Rishikesh is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand and northern states of India. Luxury and normal Buses to Rishikesh are easily available from Delhi ISBT Kashmiri Gate and Meerut. Buses and Taxis to Rishikesh are available from major destinations of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Haridwar, Srinagar, Tehri, Uttarkashi etc. Rishikesh is situated on National Highway 58 which connects Badrinath.
Rishikesh By Air : Dehradun Jollygrant airport is nearest airport for come by Air Rishikesh which is just 25 kms far from here. There are daily flights from New Delhi to Dehradun. There is also Air India flight from Lucknow on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Air India, Jet Konnect & Spice Jet are major airlines which have daily flights from Delhi to Dehradun.
Rishikesh By Train : Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. Trains to Rishikesh Railway station are frequent. Taxis and buses are easily available from Rishikesh to Muni-ki-reti and Swargashram.
Rishikesh has Railway connectivity with limited trains. Haridwar Railway station is very close (35 kms far) so its best option to reach Rishikesh by train. Shatabdi Express (Train Number 12017), A/C Special (Train Number 12205) & Mussoorie Express (Train Number 14041) are one of the best options to reach Haridwar from New Delhi. Haridwar to Rishikesh you can hire taxi or you can hire auto rickshaw.