Rishikesh Travel Guide
Situated in the Himalayan foothills in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is commonly referred to as the ‘Spiritual Capital of the World’. Ever since the coming of the Beatles in the 1960’s thousands of travellers from all corners of the globe come to this tranquil town for a taste of the spiritual. Apart from its spiritual significance Rishikesh is also a noted adventure tourism destination where you can go for trekking, bungee jumping, kayaking, rock climbing or rafting. The cascading stream of Ganges, the old temples and ashrams, the forested foothills and the ringing of the temple bells are sure to make your stay in this town a fascinating one.
Places to Visit in Rishikesh
Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula
The Ram Jhula and the Laxman Jhula are two 450 feet long suspension bridges on the Ganges which is always populated both by locals and tourists. While the Ram Jhula located near the holy temples are more visited by the Indian tourists, the area around the Laxman Jhula is dotted with backpacker’s hotels and restaurants. While you are at it make sure to pay a visit to the Laxman Temple, Ram Temple and the Trayambakeshwar Temple all of which are located in the vicinity.
Swarg Ashram which is one of the oldest ashrams of the country lies between the Ram Jhula and the Laxman Jhula. The area around the ashram is a nice getaway from the din and bustle of the small town and is an ideal place for a solitary sojourn. Situated in an isolated riverside lots of tourists come here for some peaceful yoga or meditation time. You can also just simply sit back and enjoy the scenic beauty of this spot during sunset time.
The Beatles Ashram
The Beatles who came to India in the late 60s spent a lot of days at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ashram by the Ganges, which is more commonly known as The Beatles Ashram. It might surprise you to learn that some of the most popular Beatles’ songs were written here. Even a few years back this ashram used to be a dilapidated spot frequented mostly by hippies and Beatles’ fans. These days the building has been renovated and you have to pay an entry fee to take a look inside the ashram.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Nestled amidst the lush woods of the Himalayan foothills the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple which is about 12 Km from the town is one of the holiest shrines of Shiva. According to the Hindu mythology, it was at this spot that Shiva drank the venom which originated from the churning of the ocean. Ideally, you should hike up from Swarg Ashram for an even more charming experience.
Rajaji National Park
The Rajaji National Park which lies about 18 Km off Rishikesh, is sure to appeal to the wildlife enthusiasts. A day out at the national park is going to be an exciting one especially if you get to spot a sloth bear or a tiger.
If you have had enough of spiritualism then head to Shivpuri for a super exciting adventure time. Located about 19 Km from Rishikesh, the major attractions of Shivpuri consists of camping, trekking and rafting. Make sure to spend a day or two at this adventure’s paradise where you’ll find camping accommodation of all budgets.
The best time to visit the Triveni Ghat is the evening when you will get to take some nice pictures of the ‘arati’ or evening prayer. One of the holiest of all the ghats of Rishikesh, the Triveni ghat is the confluence of three rivers- the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Saraswati. The prayer chants, the floating lamps and the fire of the aarti are sure to leave any traveller spellbound.
If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the town then go for a short hike to the Neergarh Waterfall which is just 2 km from the Laxman Jhula. The waterfall is a mesmerizing spot while the hike itself is going to present you a lot of photo opportunities.
If you are looking forward to having a full-fledged adventure time then make sure to go visit Kaudiyala for a truly unforgettable rafting spree. Kaudiyala and its surrounding areas are the most noted whitewater rafting destination in Rishikesh. The 16 Km white water rafting stretch at Kaudilya is often said to be one of the finest rafting destinations of the globe.
As already mentioned before, Rishikesh is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts and the Jumping Heights Centre is definitely going to offer you a taste of some of the most thrilling adventure sports. Here you can take part in innumerable adventure activities such as bungee jumping, giant swings, flying fox and more.
Rishi Kund or “Pond for Sages” is a tiny hot spring attached to the Raghunath Temple Complex where both tourists and sages come to take a dip. If you want to get close with the sages and pilgrims then a visit to the Rishikund is an absolute must. The natural hot spring is also a nice spot to rest on a wintry day.
Vashishta Gufa is an ancient cave tucked away in the corner of the city which is sure to offer the visitor a totally tranquil surrounding. Make sure to head to the Vashishtha cave for some peaceful alone time.
Located at an altitude of 1700 m this temple is just a 30 minutes’ drive from the town of Rishikesh. Once you hike up to the temple top you will get to see a picturesque view of the surrounding mountains and the meadows of the Doon valley.
When you get too tired of all these tourist destinations all you need to do is head to a café by the riverside and enjoy a nice meal while chatting up with fellow travellers. Or else you can always go to a yoga centre and get a crash course on yoga or meditation.