Rishikesh is a famous religious place and a popular adventure destination as well. Located on the banks of the Ganga, Rishikesh attracts hundreds of pilgrims every year from India as well as abroad. It has ancient temples, ashrams, yoga centers and famous ghats where you can take a holy dip. It also serves as the starting point for a trip to the "Char Dham" pilgrimage which includes Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Rishikesh is also popular among tourists for the limitless recreational and adventurous activities that it offers. Rafting, trekking, rock climbing are some of the sports that you can enjoy at Rishikesh.
Location of Rishikesh
Rishikesh is located at the confluence of the Ganga and Chandrabagha rivers in Uttaranchal at the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas. It is about 230 kms from Delhi and is surrounded by the Shivalik ranges on all three sides.
Places to see in Rishikesh
Bharat Mandir: Bharat Mandir is the oldest temple situated in Rishikesh built by Adiguru Shankra Charya around 12th century. It is here that Rishi Rabhya did his penance and the place is devoted to Lord Vishnu. The idol of Lord Vishnu is made out of a single Saligram and placed at the Inner Sanctum. The temple has many ancient artifacts, coins and statues.
Triveni Ghat: Triveni Ghat is the most popular place in Rishikesh where many people take a holy dip to wash away all their sins. What makes it more popular is the fact that it is believed to be at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Hundreds of people attend the Ganga Aarti every evening at Triveni Ghat.
Rishikund: Located near Triveni Ghat is Rishikund or the sage's pond. It is believed that the waters of the Yamuna saturated this pond on the request of Kubz saint. A Shani mandir is also situated at Rishikund.
Laxman Jhula: Lakshman Jhula is a very famous 450 feet long hanging bridge on the river Ganga built in 1939. The legend says that Laksman, brother of Lord Ram crossed the river Ganga from this point on a jute rope. The Tera Manzil temple is located near Lakshman Jhula where the idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are kept. You can get an excellent sunset view from this place.
Ram Jhula: Also known as the Shivanand Jhula, Ram Jhoola connects Swargashram on the west and Shivanand Ashram on the east. Many ashrams are located around Ram Jhoola
Geeta Bhawan: Geeta Bhawan is one of the oldest temple complexes situated in Rishikesh. Large number of pilgrims and devotees visit this place as regular discourses are organized. The Transcendental Centre of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is situated close to Geeta Bhawan.
Ashrams: Rishikesh is a place of ashrams. Parmarth Niketan an important temple and ashram is located near Ram Jhoola. The oldest in Rishikesh is the Shiva Nanda Ashram (Divine Life Society). It is also one of the most active ashrams where Hinduism and related spiritual activities are practiced. Other than offering meditation and yoga courses, the ashram also runs the biggest charitable hospital. Yoga Niketan is an important center for yoga where yoga courses are conducted. Sacha Vedic Sansthan organizes spiritual and religious activities. One of the best ashrams for Hatha Yoga is the Yoga Study Center.
What to do in Rishikesh
Other than being a religious destination Rishikesh is also a place for adventure lovers. While at Rishikesh, you can enjoy trekking, white water rafting in the Ganges and rock climbing. Wildlife tours to Chilla or the Rajaji National Park are also worth not missing.
Rishikesh is one of the best places to rewind in India. Home to many ashrams and yoga centers, you can take a lesson or two in yoga and meditation. You can also rejuvenate yourself in the traditional Indian ayurvedic way at any of the Spa Centres in Rishikesh. Rishikesh will help you relieve your stress.
Excursions from Rishikesh
There are many places worth a visit around Rihikesh which includes pilgrimage sites, temples and parks.
If you are a wildlife lover, you can visit Rajaji National Park in Chilla, just 16kms away from Rishikesh.
The historical town of Narendra Nagar, just 15 kms the Rishikesh-Chamba road is another siginificant place near Rishikesh. The royal palace and the splendid statue of Lord Shiva’s attendant, the bull are important attractions of Narandra Nagar. Get a magnificent view of the snow capped Himalayas in Kunjapuri, a picturesque wonder near Rishikesh
Accomodations Hotels in Rishikesh
Rishikesh has a host of hotels ranging from budget to star class ones. Some of the popular hotels are High Bank Peasants Cottage, a budget hotel for tourists; Hotel Great Ganga, one of the best places to stay in Rishikesh; Hotel Vasundhara Palace with the latest facilities; and Hotel Jaipur Inn a medium budget hotel.
Best time to visit Rishikesh
The best time to visit Rishikesh is from April to October when the sun is bright and sunny and the river just perfect for rafting. Avoid visiting Rishikesh during the Monsoons
How to reach Rishikesh
Rishikesh is about 230 kms north of Delhi. You can reach Rishikesh from Delhi either in a car, train or in a bus.
By Road:It roughly takes 6 to 7 hours to reach Rishikesh in a car or a bus.
By Train: There are morning and evening trains leaving from Delhi to Haridwar which is about 21 kms from Rishikesh. A bus or a car will take you to Rishikesh. Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi are two major trains leaving for Haridwar from Delhi which you can avail.