Rishikesh is a city, municipal council and a tehsil in Dehradun district of the Indian state, Uttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas. Rishikesh has been a magnet for spiritual seekers. Today it styles itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, with masses of ashrams and all kinds of yoga and meditation classes. It is approximately 25 km north of the city Haridwar and 43 km southeast of the state capital Dehradun. The sacred river Ganga is truly astonishing and breathtaking which enhances the elegance of the area. The town is a famous tourist spot and also a major pilgrimage spot for the Hindus.
Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary ‘Kedarkhand’. Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the asura king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present ‘Lakshman Jhula’ bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The glorious attraction of Rishikesh is none other than the great river Ganges herself, running rapidly throughout the city. In the ancient time and still so many yogis, rishis, sages and sannyasis attracted to Rishikesh to practice yoga in this peaceful location. Since then, Rishikesh has known as an abode of sages. Rishikesh is a holy town with so many Ashrams and it is famous for the yoga world wide. Rishikesh is now world famous as a Yoga Capital of the world. Every year during the March month one week long International yoga festival is hosted by Rishikesh.
For all tourists heading to northern India, River Rafting in Rishikesh or White Water Rafting in Rishikesh is a major attraction. Since, rafting is a sport which can be enjoyed by the whole family, tourists arrive in Rishikesh in huge number. It doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie in the field or a skilled rafter, Rishikesh offers rafting opportunities for all. With the assistance of professional rafters and trainers, Rafting in Rishikesh can be a lot of fun. While rafting along the Ganges River, you can also feast your eyes upon the scenic sights that welcome you on the either side of the river.
Rishikesh Attraction :
Triveni Ghat :
Triveni Ghat is biggest bathing ghat in Rishikesh. Situated near the main market this ghat has mesmerizing view of mountain and river. It is the place where tourists can witness Hindu pilgrims in hordes. Pilgrims from all across the country arrive here to observe a holy dip in the Ganges. The scene however becomes surreal as hundreds of pilgrims flock to the ghat in the evening to attend the Ganga Aarti, an important ritual to worship the Ganga. Hundreds of diyas afloat the River Ganges add much to the sight. a ceremony accompanied by lights, drums and chanting, with the entire ghat lit with lamps glowing from a distance. 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
Ashrams in Rishikesh :
In rishikesh there are many ashram with different facilities. The prime tourist attractions in Rishikesh are the ashrams. world renowned centres for spiritual studies and lessons on meditation. Some of the most popular and much visited ashrams in Rishikesh include Paremarth Niketan, Sivanand Ashram, Yoga Niketan, Omkaranand Ashram, Vanprastha Ashram, Shankaracharya Nagar Transcendental Meditation Centre, Vithal Ashram and Yoga Study Centre.
Paremarth Niketan is one of the top Yoga center in India, And the biggest ashram in the area. Sivananda Ashram is also known as Divine Life Society. There are several activities performed by the Ashram such as Yoga Meditation and hospital. Sivananda Ashram is one of the most popular ashrams in Rishikesh. Omkaranand Ashram Lyengar yoga is the soeciality of this ashram. It has its own ghat where daily aarti is performed. Vanprastha Ashram Baba kali kamli wale is the founder of Vanprastha Ashram, and it is located at swarg ashram.
Lakshman Jhula & Ram Jhula :
Big iron suspension bridge on the river Ganges which is 4.5 kms far from Rishikesh. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Rishikesh. Built back in the year 1929, the Lakshman Jhula is actually a suspended bridge. As per the Hindu traditions, it is believed that Lakshmana crossed the river here with the help of a jute rope, thus making this another important pilgrim attraction. Lakshman temple and Tera Manzil Temple is also situated here. From the bridge you can have spectacular view of river and the city.
Another similar suspension bridge Ram Jhula was built in 1986 at nearby Sivananda Nagar. The bridge serves as the connection between the Shivanand Ashram and Swarg Ashram. ananda 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
19 km from Rishikesh, lies this town of Shivpuri which is pure heaven. Shivpuri is situated on the banks of the river Ganges and is famous for its Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This town offers a wide variety of adventure options and is one of the best places to visit in Rishikesh. However, it is also renowned for its Various Beach camps that are near the banks of the river Ganges, The main attraction of Shivpuri are the camps by the river bank. most of the beach camps located here offers the visitors a trilling adventure sport called white water rafting for about 16 kilometres in the river. The place is not only trilling but often provides a soothing and picturesque view of the Ganges valley, with its lush green and serene environment.
The Beatles Ashram :
In February 1968 the Beatles travelled to the Indian town of rishikesh to attend a session of transcendental Meditation at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was this visit that changed the world’s outlook of Indian spirituality. The calmness and tranquility of this place will leave you spell-bound and explain why this ashram is one of the best tourist places in Rishikesh. The most important event that took place during the Beatles’ visit to this facility was their rehabilitation from LSD abuse, which in turn inspired them to write a huge number of songs. In 2009, McCartney commented that Transcendental Meditation was a gift the Beatles had received from the Maharishi at a time when they were looking for something to stabilise them. A quiet session of meditation here will make you fall in love with its spiritual beauty. Though it lacks maintenance and information, this quiet getaway is worth visiting.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple :
To be found at a distance of 12 km from Rishikesh, Situated at 1670 m, amidst the sylvan forest above Swarg Ashram the Neelkantha Mahadev Temple is one of the most important shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Republic of India. In Hindu mythology, the temple stands at the exact spot where lord Shiva drank the Venom ‘halahala’ that originated after the churning of the ocean by the Devas and Asuras in order to obtain the Amrita or the elixir of life. 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. The inside tomb depicting the saga of Samudramanthan is one of the key attractions here. The temple also has a freshwater spring which attracts many devotees for a bath.
Kaudiyala is considered to be one of the most visited view-points in Rishikesh. Located at around 36 kilometres from Rishikesh towards Dev prayag and 380 meters above sea level, Kaudiyala is famous for offering its visitors the adventure sport of white water rafting and is one of the premier locations in the country for this sport. The stretch from Dev prayag and Rishikesh has been on the rafting and adventure tourism map of the country for decades now! There is nothing quite like the ‘pure energy high’ one gets from riding foaming white water rapids. The rafting stretch between Kaudiyala and Rishikesh, offers some of the fast action white water rapids. With opportunities for plenty of bodysurfing and bird watching, the rafting stretch offers an opportunity to enjoy the natural surroundings. Starting from Daniel’s Dip at Kaudiyala to begin with and then the biggest rapid on the Ganga.
Bharat Mandir :
Bharat Mandir, situated at the bank of River Ganga, is one of the oldest temples of Rishikesh. Located in the centre of the old town, this temple is just half a kilometre away from Triveni Ghat. The ancient records of ‘Kedarkhand’, this temple was built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. This temple is said to be devastated in 1398 AD by Tamur Lane. The Bharat Mandir is one of the major reasons behind the success of Rishikesh as a holy town in India. The temple is famous among visitors as it comprises an idol of Lord Vishnu, which is placed in the inner sanctum of this temple. This idol was carved out of Saligram, a single black stone and has Himalayan cast of features. Several tourists throng this temple at the time of the famous spring festival, know as Basant Panchami. The temple is also famous for old statues, pots, coins and various artefacts that are housed inside.
Rishikesh is also known as one of the best spots for rafting and bungee jumping with professional bungee jumping courses from New Zealand. Rishikesh is also a great place if you want to enjoy camping near the shores. Trekking, rock climbing, rappelling, cliff jumping are the other adventure sports that are offered in Rishikesh.
Best time to visit :
The only season Rishikesh should be avoided is during the monsoons. The place is full with a lot of scenic beauty during the rainy season but landslides and flooding of the river is common and visitors should be extremely careful during this season. The best season to visit Rishikesh is late September till February. Unlike other hill stations which are visited by tourists during the summers, Rishikesh is best visited during the winters when the climate is the most pleasant and the scenery can be enjoyed without the scorching sun or the fear of heavy rainfall.
How to Reach :
By Air : Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport to the Rishikesh situated at a distance of 21 kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to the Delhi with daily flights.
By Train : The nearest railway station to Rishikesh is Haridwar, which is approximately 25 kilometres away. Haridwar is connected to major cities and can be reached easily from Rishikesh too. There are buses, cabs and private taxis available outside the station that can be used to reach Rishikesh from Haridwar.
By Road : Rishikesh is well connected to all the major roads and national highways and can be easily reached from all the parts of the country.
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