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Rishikesh

Rishikesh(Hrishikesh)  is a city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River.

The river is considered holy, and the city is renowned as a centre for studying yoga and meditation. It is a pilgrimage town and is considered to be the holiest city in India. 

Over the years Rishikesh has grown in the tourism industry, bringing Beatles to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram where they spent their time composing songs which appear in their album called the “White Album”.

Here you will also find students who come to learn yoga to become yoga instructors. This place is a haven for the pilgrims where peace flows like gold in the rivers. Get on the raft and let’s swiftly take a closer look at Rishikesh.

En Route Rishikesh! Hop-On…..

By Flight:

To all those travelling from around the world, take a flight straight to Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport to Rishikesh which is approximately 35 kilometres away. Popular carriers like Air India, Spice Jet and Jet Airways often have daily flights from New Delhi.

Apart from Delhi, there is a flight from Lucknow to Dehradun as well. Once you reach the airport, you can opt for a regular taxi or bus service which is easily available from Dehradun to Rishikesh. The second nearest international airport for Rishikesh is in New Delhi which is well-connected with different cities across the globe. 

By Road: 

Being a popular tourist destination, Rishikesh has a good network of buses connecting it with important places such as Haridwar, Dehradun and New Delhi. Buses depart in the morning and late evening from the Kashmere Gate ISBT, New Delhi for Rishikesh every day.

You can choose from a regular, deluxe or a luxurious coach. Either this or if you choose to travel by your own vehicle, Rishikesh is connected via National Highway 58. The drive from Delhi is about 6-7 hours.  

By Train:

The nearest railhead to Rishikesh is in Haridwar which is approximately 25 kilometres away. Haridwar, in turn, is linked to major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow and Varanasi. Some of the popular trains are Shatabadi Express, Jan Shatabdi, AC Special Express and Mussoorie Express.

For those making the journey to Rishikesh, it is advisable to take the train till Haridwar and then either take a bus or hire a taxi to Rishikesh. While the bus would take about 45 minutes, the taxi will take you to Rishikesh in about half an hour.

Places To Visit In Rishikesh:

1. Laxman Jhula 

Laxman Jhula was completed in 1929. This bridge covers the most beautiful scenery of the river Ganges which makes it so magical. The bridge connects the two villages of Tapovan in Tehri Garhwal district, on the west bank of the river, to Jonk in Pauri Garhwal district, on the east bank. The bridge is around 5 km away from the city which can easily be located.

2. Ram Jhula

Ram Jhula is an iron suspension bridge across the river Ganges, located 3 kilometres north-east from the town. It is comparatively bigger in length than Laxman Jhula.

On both the sides of the bridge are various temples as well as Ashram.

There are markets too, selling incense books, books on religious and spiritual topics, idols of gods and goddess, keyrings and other knick-knacks. Do not forget to capture the beautiful scenery in your cameras.

3. Triveni Ghat

This ghat is the most famous and biggest as of on the banks of river Ganges. People all over, come to take a bath in this ghat to wash away their sins. This ghat is believed to be very holy where rituals are conducted. It is a great visit for Devotees.

4. Parmarth Niketan Ashram

The ashram was founded in 1942 by Pujya Swami Shukdevanandji Maharaj. It is along the road towards Ram Jhula.

Parmarth Niketan is a true spiritual haven, lying on the holy banks of Mother Ganga in the lap of the lush Himalayas. It is one of the biggest ashram in Rishikesh. 

Timing: 9 AM-8 PM

5. Beatles Ashram

Beatles Ashram, also known as Chaurasi Kutia, is an ashram about 30 minutes walk from Laxman Jhula.

The tickets are a bit pricey due to its name, although it offers quite a funky environment with a river flowing blissfully behind the ashram. The ashram offers yoga and meditation practices under the guidance of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Timing: Between Sunrise to Sunset only for about an Hour.

6. Sivananda Ashram

Sivananda Ashram, the Headquarters of The Divine Life Society, is housed at Shivanandanagar, on the right bank of the Ganga, at a distance of 3 kilometres from Rishikesh Town.

The Divine Life Society is a shining example of the creative aspect of the Divinity within man.

It is a remarkable achievement of the Founder, Sri Swami Sivananda, who from the year 1936, has built up the wonderful mansion of ‘Divine Life’ brick by brick, on the firm foundations of purity, integrity, nobility and magnanimity.

7. Neer Garh Waterfalls

Neer Garh Waterfalls is one of the more serene tourist destination. There is a short trek one has to take to reach the waterfall. You can take a bath in the most clean natural pool nature has created. The spot is not very far from Laxman Jhula.

Fee Rate: 

Rs. 30 for Indians

Rs. 50 for Foreigners 

8. Vashistha Cave

This is an ancient cave located 22 km from Rishikesh and 6 km from Shivpuri. Vashishta Gufa, situated on the banks of the Ganga River, is a popular place for meditation lovers.

This is the cave where great Sage Vashishta said to have meditated. The Vashishta Gufa is situated in the middle of a grove of Gular (Ficus) trees and the slopes leading to sacred River Ganga.

To reach this cave, one has to climb a flight of around 200 steps.

Timings: 7 AM to 6 PM 

9. Maa Kunjapuri Devi Temple

Kunjapuri Devi Temple is a sacred temple of immense importance in the Hindu religion, located at a height of 1676 meters on a hill. It offers a perfect place to stay with your family.

Due to its high altitude locations, the environment is quite cool and relaxing. The sunset from this place is just so beautiful. 

Timings: 4.30 AM – 6 PM

10. Swarg Ashram

The ashram was built in the memory of Swami Vishudhanand, the saint better known as Kali Kamli Wala. Swarg Ashram is a little township found 5 km upstream from Rishikesh, on the left bank of the Ganges, inverse to Shri Shivananda Ashram. This ashram is the oldest in India. It also conducts 5-day retreats for meditation and yoga. 

11. Rishikund

Rishikund means the ‘Pond of the Sage’ and is one of the most important places to visit. It is a natural hot water spring located within a close proximity to the Triveni Ghat, the most commonly believed story behind this holy pond narrates that it was once a havan kund. It has a very high spiritual energy, you cannot ignore. 

12. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Scenically situated on a hill at a height of 1330 meters, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is one of the most popular temples of Lord Shiva. A famous pilgrimage covered in the most beautiful and vibrant colours making it such an attractive yet a holy temple.

Timings: 5 AM – 6 PM

13. Tehri Dam

The Tehri Dam is the highest dam in India and one of the highest in the world. The Tehri dam, in the north of India, was commissioned in 2006 to provide water for electricity generation, irrigation and drinking water.

This huge, high dam offers sweeping, scenic views, plus a reservoir for water sports. 

14. Tera Manzil Temple

This is a very holy tourist spot, a multi-storey temple that is located on the Banks of the river Ganges, a few km from Laxman Jhula.

It is a temple, unlike the others where you can visit all deities at one place. It is at a distance of 6 km from the Rishikesh Railway Station. 

Timings: 6 AM – 7 PM

15. Muni Ki Reti

Muni Ki Reti is a town and a municipal council in Tehri Garhwal district and is known for its ashrams, including the Divine Life Society of Sivananda Saraswati.

It is a religiously important pilgrim centre near Rishikesh considered as the gateway for the pilgrimage of Char Dham. You can take a bus to this place directly. 

Best Time To Visit Rishikesh

May June is quite hot at Rishikesh temperature touching + 35 °C.

The best time to visit Rishikesh for River Rafting is from late September – October to mid-November, and then the best time to visit Rishikesh is from early March – April to first week of May.

Fascinating Facts About Rishikesh:

  • Known as the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is the foremost destination when it comes to practising and learning yoga. It is known as Tapobhumi, which means the place for meditation and yoga of the Gods.
  • Interestingly, as compared to other states, the literacy rate in Rishikesh is approximately 86%.
  • If you are escaping to a spiritual town, then why not eat pure and healthy food? Rishikesh is also famous for its diverse vegetarian dishes that are freshly sourced and delicious.
  • The most famous festival of Rishikesh is the International Yoga Festival that is held each year in March. Other lively festivals are The Kumbh Mela festival, The Makar Sankranti, and Baisakhi Festival which is celebrated in with enthusiasm and energy.

Important Information About Rishikesh:

  • Due to the religious significance of the place, non-vegetarian food and alcohol are strictly prohibited in Rishikesh.
  • Local people of Rishikesh are very humble and even make sure that all the tourists are safe and sound. Hence it is really safe even if you wish to go on a solo trip. 
  • Don’t forget to carry your trekking shoes, and some old sneakers for the river rafting.
  • There is no worry about cash, there are ATMs all around and even currency exchange places.

Shivpuri Camping and River Rafting In Rishikesh:

If you ever visit Rishikesh, Shivpuri Camping is the best way to stay here. The camping sites just along the river Ganges is truly a serene vacation.

With these camping options, you can enjoy the various adventure activities like river rafting in Rishikesh, cliff jump, zipline, bonfire, waterfall trek, bunjy jumping, yoga, body surfing in Ganga river, etc.

The camping over here takes place at a very inexpensive rate and a priceless memory for life.

Pack on your stuff and let’s go camping in Rishikesh.

Shivpuri is situated 19 km away from Rishikesh, on the National Highway between Rishikesh and Patisira. 

Adventure Activities To Do In Rishikesh:

1.River Rafting  – River Rafting is the most thrilling and exciting adventure sport. It is the most famous activity in Rishikesh along the river Ganges

2.Paint Ball – Get your guns out and go on an adventure with your friends and family. You can either go to XPaintball Adventure or River Rangers Rishikesh.

3.Bungee Jumping – Another activity that includes diving off an altitude of 120 – 160 ft. 

4.Flying Fox – Two sensational zip lines up to 400m long that catapult you across the white water rapids at Shivpuri, with unbelievable views of the Himalayan foothills, the mighty Ganga, and the rafting crews way down below.’

5.Cliff Jumping – The Basic height to enjoy the thrill of Cliff Jumping is 25 to 30 feet. Though, cliff jumper can jump from more or less height than the basic.

The height of the jump also varies according to the water level of the Ganges and the river current, which is controlled by the Tehri Dam.

6.Air safari – Take an incredible experience of flying over the sparkling Ganga River, the lush green forests, dams and the majestic Himalayas! Rishikesh Air Safari brings a thrilling experience to adventure lovers.

7. Water rappelling – Experience a fun and exciting waterfall rappelling experience in Rishikesh with your friends and family and indulge in an adventure you will not forget.

It is one of the most daring experiences one can experience by descending from the rock straight in the waterfall. 

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By Abhishek Saraswat

Abhishek (@himalayan_gypsy) is a travel photographer and blogger known as Himalayan Gypsy over the internet. Academically from an engineering background and born the Himalayan valley of Dehradun, he found himself in love with nature and ever since he has been on a journey to travel India and showcase the beauty of the country through his pictures, motivating and encouraging people on the go to feel the same and also take responsibilities to conserve our rich heritage, culture and environment. He is a Certified Digital Marketer and a Travel Influencer who is efficient to create visually appealing content for Travel Brands, Property Owners, Cafes and other Product Shoots. He also specializes in running Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns for Brand Awareness, Brand Promotion and Online Reputation Management.

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