Rishikesh – temple city of yoga and meditation

Rishikesh – an ancient city on the bank of the sacred river Ganges is one of the greatest pilgrimage centres of India. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas at an average altitude of 356 m above sea level, this sacred destination is often nicknamed as “the world capital of Yoga”. Rishikesh being the gateway and starting point for the famous Char Dham pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, sees a large influx of tourists throughout the year from around the world. Visit of the world famous English rock band, Beatles in 1968 at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh in search of salvation made Rishikesh immensely popular among tourists all over the world.

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Rishikesh town on the bank of river Ganges

Where is Rishikesh?

The scenic city of Rishikesh lies in Dehradun district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. This sacred city is the place where river Ganges leaves the Shivalik Mountains and flows out into the plains of northern India.

About Rishikesh

The mythological city of Rishikesh lying on the right bank of River Ganges is considered to be one of the major seats of Hindu philosophy. This vegetarian city by law is a place filled with serenity and tranquility making it an ideal place for meditation and soul stirring. The belief that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha aided by a dip in the holy Ganges that flows through it, makes it one of the most important and popular pilgrimage destination of India. The quest for spirituality and the desire to attain Nirvana draws pilgrims from around the world to Rishikesh.

Surrounded on three sides by Himalayan ranges this alcohol-free city’s association with Yoga and meditation has made it a favourite place to relax, recharge and rejuvenate. Rishikesh is world famous for Rafting, trekking and other adventure sports and as such is a sought after adventure sports destination as well.

Rishikesh Sightseeing

Apart from its own scenic beauty coupled with moderate and soothing climate, Rishikesh has a number of temples and meditation centres on the bank of the holy river Ganges. There are quite a few popular sightseeing and adventure sports destinations in and around Rishikesh that makes it one of the sought after tourist place of India.

Lakshman Jhula

This suspension bridge across the holy river Ganges is the greatest attraction of this sacred city. This 450 ft long bridge situated at a height of 70 ft from the river was initially made of jute ropes, which was rebuilt using iron ropes in 1939. Apart from its mythological association and importance this hanging bridge offers splendid scenic views of the surrounding.

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Ramjhula bridge on river Ganges at Rishikesh

Ram Jhula

This is another suspension bridge with similar architectural style to that of Lakshman Jhula. This iron bridge connects Shivanand Ashram and Swarag Ashram. The fresh air, sound of flowing water, the scenic beauty of the surrounding region and the distant sound of bells create an unforgettable experience making it another popular sightseeing spot for tourists visiting Rishikesh.

Triveni Ghat

It is the most sacred bathing Ghats of Rishikesh built at the confluence of three holy Rivers the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Saraswati. The very belief that those who take a dip in Triveni Ghat will attain salvation makes it a favourite place among pilgrims and devotees from around the world.

In the evenings, the truly magical Maha Aarti at Triveni Ghat is a sight to behold. As evening descends, rows of devotees sit patiently on the steps of the Triveni Ghat and as sun begin to set; they hold plates of flaming ghee and to the accompaniment of drums, chants, bells and prayers, release tiny oil lamps on flower leaf boats and allow them to float down the river. The whole scene becomes so magical that even the most stubborn atheist tends to melt down in the wave of devotion.

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Maha Aarti in progress at Triveni ghat

Trayambakeshwar Temple

This thirteen-storey high temple set on the backdrop of majestic Himalayan ranges is one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting the temple town of Rishikesh. This amazingly beautiful temple near Lakshman Jhula is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. One can have an excellent view of the entire area from the top floor of the temple complex. View of the sunset from this place is a fascinating experience.

Neelkanth Mahadev temple

At a distance of about 25 Km from Rishikesh at an altitude of 1330 m lies the temple of Neelkanth Mahadev dedicated to Lord Shiva. Nestled on a high mountain top with pristine waters of the holy Ganges below, the place is known for breathtaking scenic beauty apart from being one of the most revered holy shrines of Rishikesh. Being enveloped between the valleys of Manikoot, Brahmakoot and Vishnukoot and located at the confluence of the rivers Pankaja and Madhumati, the temple is a must visit destination in the tour of Rishikesh.

According to Hindu mythology, the place where the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple currently stands is the sacred location where Lord Shiva consumed the poison Halahala that originated from the sea during the Samudra Manthan.

Other places of tourist interest include Gita Bhavan, Swarga Ashram, Rishikund, Raghunath Temple, Bharat Mandir, Paramarth Niketan, Kailash Niketan Temple, Raghunath Temple, Satya Narayan Temple and Shatrughan Temple.

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Camping at Shivpuri during rafting

Shivpuri

Just 19 Km from Rishikesh is the verdant town of Shivpuri known for adventure sports and meditation. Rafting on river Ganges from Shivpuri to Rishikesh is extremely popular among adventure loving tourists. Best time for rafting is September to May and there are several local travel agencies, offering these rafting trips.

During your stay in Shivpuri, you will have the opportunity of learning the techniques of yoga and meditation. You can enjoy early morning yoga and relaxation sessions. Spend the day enjoying river rafting along the Ganges and indulge in other adventure activities. In the evening, sit around a campfire under the starlit sky with your lady love accompanying by rippling sound of the river breaking the silence. The experience of staying in a camp on the bank of the fast flowing Ganges with your loved ones is awesome.

How to reach Rishikesh?

By Air

Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun at a distance of about 15 Km from Rishikesh is the nearest airport. This new airport has flights from Delhi only. International airport at Delhi at a distance of about 230 Km is a better option for both domestic and international tourists.

By Rail

Rishikesh has a small railway station with only about three slow trains daily connecting it to the city of Haridwar. So taking a train up to Haridwar and further travelling to Rishikesh by road is a better option. A 45 min bus ride will take you to Rishikesh from Haridwar. Haridwar has a number of trains connecting it to all the major Indian cities.

By Road

Rishikesh is well connected to all the neighboring cities of the state as well as the other states with the help of good motorable roads. An efficient bus service plies from here at regular intervals.

Where to stay at Rishikesh?

Rishikesh being a popular and important tourist destination offers a wide range of hotels. One can find accommodation at Rishikesh by spending merely Rs.100 a day and can even spend thousands of rupees for comfort.

Hotel Ganga Kinare

On the right bank of the Ganga, with a private ghat, this upscale hotel overlooks the picturesque Rajaji National Park. With luxurious rooms, a cafeteria, multi-cuisine restaurant and a sprawling lawn, Hotel Ganga Kinare is one of the best hotels of Rishikesh. For booking details contact at : 9999600365, 9873010266.

To know more about this hotel and to avail its online booking facility, just click HERE.

Hotel Ellbee Ganga View

Situated in the heart of city of Rishikesh, Hotel Ellbee Ganga View is one of the best located hotels facing Ganga with a panoramic view of the serene hills overlooking Rajaji National Park. All the rooms presents an enthralling view of the Rishikesh City and holy river Ganga, flowing opposite the hotel. Eight Executive suites and twenty four Premier rooms are well equipped to make your stay with us a memorable one. For booking details contact at : 0135 – 2430781/2431081/2433169.

To know more about this hotel and to avail its online booking facility, just click HERE.

Ganga Beach Resort

Set among the green forested hills above the holy Ganges, Ganga Beach Resort is a mid-range hotel with room like cottages each with a balcony. Breathtaking view of the river and hills from the hotel balcony is an awesome experience. For booking details contact at : 9990234386.

To know more about this hotel and to avail its online booking facility, just click HERE.

Hotel Basera

This centrally located hotel with 32 large well furnished rooms having continuous power supply with generator backup, hot water, multi-cuisine restaurant and other amenities is one of the popular hotels of Rishikesh. For booking details contact at : 0135 – 2430720.

Hotel Indralok

This luxury hotel is a cherished tourist hideaway of Rishikesh. With 52 different category rooms and suites this hotel is situated near the Triveni Ghat with greenery of hills in the backdrop. Apart from having a multi-cuisine restaurant, spacious parking, an efficient laundry service and other amenities of modern day comfort, this hotel rooms are spacious and are cocoons of comfort. For booking details contact at : 0135 – 2430555.

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About the Author: Hi! friends, travelling is my passion and my only hobby. High mountains to deep seas, lush green forests to barren deserts, holy places to sites of historical importance, - every beautiful place attracts me the same way. I want everyone to feel the same and so through my writing I intend to take you all to a virtual trip to all those lovely places that I have visited.

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