Rishikesh - About Rishikesh - Rishikesh Tourism
Rishikesh is town in the Dehradun District of Uttarakhand state in India. Total population of Rishikesh is 75,020 (53% male and 47 % female) as of 2001. Rishikesh is situated at 409 meters above sea level in the foothills of Garhwal Himalayan Range and surrounded by the Shivalik range. Rishikesh is 35 kms far from Haridwar, 90 Kms from Mussoorie, 25 Kms far from Jollygrant airport Dehradun, and 240 kms far from New Delhi.
Rishikesh has spectacular view of jungle-clad hills. Rishikesh has also confluence of River Ganges and Chandrabhaga. 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.
Rishikesh is also known as gateway to the Char Dham. Char Dham is four popular holy temples on the hills (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri) Thousands of people attracted every year to Rishikesh for spiritual relief, peace, learn yoga, adventure and to take a dip for salvation. The famous among them were Beatles, Kate Winslet and many more others celebrities. It is believed that by meditation in Rishikesh one can get "Moksha" (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth) as well as holy dip in the river Ganges.
Apart from spirituality now Rishikesh Tourism is also hub for the adventure activities such as rafting, camping, trekking and bungee jumping. Rishikesh is full of tourist every time. There are also big ashrams, centers for Yoga, Meditation, Ayurvedic Massage and astrology are here. Rishikesh is also known as the white water rafting capital of India.
Two big suspension bridges play a major role (such as nerve system in body) in day- to- day life of Rishikesh. These two bridges (jhulas) are know as Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula(Named after lord Ram and his brother Lakshman, the heroes of the Ramayana, who supposedly crossed the river Ganges at Rishikesh on their way up to the hills.). Rishikesh is divided loosely in many parts such as Rishikesh, Ram Jhula (Shivanand Nagar), Muni Ki Reti, Lakshman Jhula or Tapovan and Swarg Ashram, Pashulok Barrage, Dhalwala, 14 Bigha and Shisham Jhari.
From Ram Jhula one can take a boat on sharing basis or walk on the bridge to cross the river. Both sides of the bridge is always crowded with shops of cloths, holy beads, shawls, precious and semi precious stones, replicas of deities, astrological gems, Ayurvedic medicines and Vedic treatises as well as signs of marketing yoga, meditation classes and Ayurvedic massage. Other side of the bridge is known as Swarg Ashram area. So many big ashrams are here such as Swarg Ashram, Gita bhawan and Parmarth Niketan. When you cross the river temples welcomes you with their engraved deities and music shops greets you divine sacred ragas.
In evening beautiful Ganges Ceremony(Ganga Aarti) is organized at Parmarth Niketan and Triveni Ghat. The Brahmin Pundits (priests) performs Ganges Puja (ritual worship) with Vedic hymns, sound of hands clapping and the drums (tabla). Hundreds of people come to witness this Pooja and offer leaf bowls which are filled with flowers and small oil lamps to the goddess. The small sparkling lights floating lamps, river Ganges and auspicious atmosphere creates such a magnificent view and feeling that can attract anyone to join the prayer even the visitors from outside India who can't understand the vedic songs.
The whole area (Garhwal) was famous as Kedarkhand in the past as mentioned in the Skanda Purana. As per the Skanda Purana the area is named as Kubjamrak because here lord Vishnu appeared to Raibhya Rishi under a mango tree. Raibhya Rishi selected the place for his long penance (Tapasya or austerity) Lord Vishnu was pleased by his act and appeared to the sage as a "Hrishikesh." The word is combination of two word Hrishik and esh. Hrishik means senses and esh means god or master. It means god of senses. The Sthala Purana states as follows: "Raibhya Rishi preferred the sacredness and beauty of the place where Lord Vishnu appeared, so he remained there in the form of intense plants, which look like his matted locks. In consideration of this and the divine qualities of Raibhya Rishi, the area recognized as Rishi Kesha or Rishikesh, or the hair of the Rishi (Sage). Skanda Purana mention that the Lord Vishnu blessed Raibhya Rishi and gave him this divine message: "while you have performed supreme tapasya (austerities) by controlling your senses, let the place be recognized as Hrishikesha (Lord Hrishikesha, master of all senses).
The place is also mentioned as place where God Vishnu defeated the mighty demon Madhu. As per the Ramayana Lord Ram made hard penance for killing mighty demon Ravana. Lakshmana (Brother of Lord Rama) crossed the river by Jute Bridge which is known as Lakshman Jhula. The Jute Bridge was replaced by Iron suspension bridge in 1889. The bridge damaged in 1924 flood, than bridge was replaced by new bridge.
Legends also mention that the Lord Agni (God of fire) made penance for Lord Shiva. According to the legends Lord Shiva consumed poison (Halahal) which was obtained during sea churning (Samudra Manthan) along with the Nectar (Amrit). The place is now known as Nilkanth Mahadev Temple. Kunind was the first one to rule the area. Later Shak kings and Naga Kings ruled here. In 1398 Vatsraj was the king of the area. Ajaypal was the king during 1493 1500. During the 1804 to 1815 Gorkha Kings rule the whole area. After 1815 East India Company came here. After freedom the area is merged in Uttarpradesh. In November 2000 Uttaranchal became independent from Uttarpradesh. From January 2007 Uttranchal was named as a Uttarakhand.
In 1880 Swami Danaraj Giri established Kailash Ashram. Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) founder "The Devine Life Society" lived here in Muni Ki Reti for 03 decades. Parmarth Niketan is estab/>lished by Swami Shukdevanandji. The Beatles came to Rishikesh in the 1960s to study yoga, and since then the city has styled itself as the "yoga capital of the world.
Attractions in Rishikesh
Triveni Ghat :
Triveni Ghat is biggest bathing ghat in Rishikesh. Situated near the main market this ghat has mesmerizing view of mountain and river. The reason for the name is it is believed that this is conference of 03 rivers Ganges, Yamuna and legendary Saraswati. Due to the conference this ghat is great place to take a bath. Ghat is structure of steps where people can acess river for holy bath. Everyday Ganges ceremony (Ganga Aarti) is organized at ghat in evening. (5 PM in winter and 6 PM in Summer) 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. Triveni Ghat is situated just 100 meter far from the main market. Small Shani Mandir is also located near Triveni Ghat.
Lakshman Jhula : Big iron suspension bridge on the river Ganges which is 4.5 kms far from Rishikesh. It is believed that Lakshman (Brother of lord Ram) crossed the river here by jute rope. Current bridge is built in 1929 in when the old bridge (1989 built) was damaged in flood. Laskman Jhula is popular in tourist for shopping and other activites such as rafting. Both side of the bridge has so many different shops with interesting things to buy. Lakshman temple and Tera Manzil Temple is also situated here. From the bridge you can have spectacular view of river and the city. Lakshman Jhula is pedestrian bridge but it is also used for bikes.
Ram Jhula : Suspension bridge similar to the Lakshman Jhula between Sivananda Ashram and Swarg Ashram is known as Ram Jhula or Sivananda Jhula. Boat is also available here on sharing basis to cross the river. So many shops are available on the both side of bridge for shopping. Sivananda 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.
Parmarth Niketan : Parmarth Niketan Ashram is located in the Swarg Ashram area. The Ashram has so many rooms for devotees as well as tourist. Ashram has many religious statues inside. Parmarth Niketan is also host for the Internationa Yoga Festival every year. Ashram is popular among the tourist for Yoga. Every day Ganga Aarti ceremony is organized at the Ghat of the Ashram in Evening.(5 PM in winter and 6 PM in Summer. The aarti is widely visited by the tourists.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple : This temple is situated at 1325 meters height and 31 kms far from Rishikesh. Neelkant Mahadev is Temple of Lord Shiva. According to legends Lord Shiva came here for meditation when he consumed poison during the sea churning. 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. Temple is also accessible by trekking route and by road from Swarg Ashram. Temple Timings: 05 AM to 01 PM and 04 PM to 09 PM.
Sivananda Ashram : Sivananda Ashram is also known as Divine Life Society. It is located near Ram Jhula. Sivanada Ashram was established by Swami Sivananda. Swami Sivanada lived here for more than 30 years. There are several activities performed by the Ashram such as Yoga Meditation and hospital. Sivananda Ashram has rooms for the guest. Ashram has Meditation hall, Yoga Hall & Music Hall. Sivananda Ashram is one of the most popular ashrams in Rishikesh.
Bharat Mandir : Bharat Mandir Temple situated at the center in Rishikesh and near the main market. This is one of the oldest temples in Rishikesh. The deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu. Raibhya Rishi made penance here and lord Vishnu appeared in front of the sage to give him blessing. Temple has small musium also. Bharat Mandir Temple is inside the Rishikesh Market area and can be reached easily from Chandrabhaga Bridge(Temple Timings: 05 AM to 11 AM and 3 PM to 09 PM).
Gita Bhawan : Gita Bhavan (Geeta Bhawan) is Ashram located in Swarg Ashram area. The ashram has large complex with discourse hall and more than 300 rooms which they are offering to tourist at very low cost. There is temple of also inside the ashram. Lessons from Bhagvad Gita is written on the walls of Ashram. Inside the temple you can see life of Lord Krishna in pictures. Cloth store, Book store, Ayurvedic medicine shop and restaurant are part of this.
Swarg Ashram : Swarg Ashram is area between Lakshman Jhula and Rishikesh. This place is well known for various famous ashrams, beautiful surroundings, healthy and divine living. So many shops are also here for shopping. Place is accessible via Ram Jhula bridge by walk or by road via Beraj. Parmarth Niketan, Gita Bhawan, Bhootnath Temple and many other intresting places are part of the Swarga Ashram area.
Tera Manzil Temple : Tera Manzil Temple has 13 floors. Each floor has many small temples with different deities throughout the This temple is located near the Lakshman Jhula. The view from the top of the temple is amazing. Temple is also known as Trayambakeshwar Temple, Trimbakeshwar Temple or Kailashanand Mission Trust.
Beatles Ashram : Beatles Ashram is located in the Swarg Ashram this ashram is closed in 1997 and consumed by forest department. Still there are some building such as meditation cells and lecture halls are there as a witness of the glory of ashram. In February 1968 Beatle stayed here to learn yoga and meditation. After the Beatle's visit Rishikesh came in limelight throughout the world for yoga.
Jungle Vibes : Here you can learn to make some music instruments from Indian old men Mukesh Dhiman. Australian Didgeridoo and African Djembe are specialty of Mukesh.
Other places to visit in Rishikesh : Bhootnath Temple, Iscon Temple, Astha Path, Raghunath Temple, Rishikund, Swarga Niwas Temple, Marine Drive, Rishikesh Main Market, Chandreshwar Mahadev Temple and Goa Beach.
Things to do in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is unique city in terms of variety of things which it can offer to tourist. There is something for everyone who comes here. Rishikesh can't disappoint anyone. All you need is good guidance. Take a look at some of the activities in Rishikesh.
Ganga aarti (Ganges Ceremony) : Highly recommended for everyone. Take a holy dip in the Ganges and enjoy Ceremony in evening at Parmarth Niketan or Triveni Ghat. Sit near the river Ganges, feel the music, the breeze and the auspicious atmosphere around you. Ganga Aarti is ceremony for the River Ganges. Every evening many people visit Triveni Ghat or Parmarth Niketan for the ceremony.
Yoga and Meditation in Rishikesh : Rishikesh is world famous for yoga. You can experience yoga is small sessions or you can stay here and spend a week or month to learn yoga. So many yoga experts are here who can teach you yoga in unique way which you cant learn anywhere. Rishikesh is also one of the best places in whole world for meditation. Natural atmosphere, auspicious surroundings, river and mountains what else one can expect to make a strong bond with nature and himself/herself. That's reason that thousands of famous spiritual personalities selected this place for their meditation.
Adventures in Rishikesh : Rishikesh is became an adventure hub since last 10 years. Adventure means challenge for your stamina and strength. Rishikesh has many activities for amazing fun that you will remember it for life time. Challenging rapids, Muntains and dense forest is here to test your skills physical and mental strenght. Rishikesh has Rafting, camping, trekking, Rock climbing, Rappelling and bungee jumping are famous adventure activities which you can enjoy here. Weekend Adventure tour in Rishikesh can refresh your mind from day to day life.
Ashram life in Rishikesh : Rishikesh is best option if you want to experience the ashram life. Stay in ashram, eat satwik (organic) food, take part in ashram activities, listen the lecture on Hinduism and how to live peaceful life, help the needful, help in ashram work and spend time with children and locals these are the key activities you can do at ashram.
Ayurveda in Rishikesh : Ayurveda is a traditional way or system of medicines native to Indian subcontinent. Ayurveda is type of alternate medicine. Ayurveda is widely used in Rishikesh. Some ashram and centers provide facility of Ayurvedic treatment. Panchkarma is very popular therapy. Panchkarma is used to get rid of toxic materials from our body. Ayurveda uses generally plant based medicines which found in Indian subcontinent.
Shopping in Rishikesh : Every tourist wants some special souvenirs of the trip for their family, friends or relatives. Rishikesh has so many varieties for Shopping. Here in markets you can get gems, jewelry, precious and semi precious stones, cloths, idols, rudraksh, spiritual books and other spiritual items. Laksman Jhula (Tapovan), Ram Jhula, Swarg Ashram and main market are major shopping areas.
Lecture or Discussion with Guru : This is new trend in Rishikesh. So many visitors from foreign countries are eager to learn and know about Hinduism when they come in this holy area. Some Guru's (Spiritual Leaders) are here from them one can have small discussion or lecture on Hinduism. Prior appointment is required for this.
Music Classes : During free time during the long stay one can learn Indian musical instruments. Some people also try singing lessons. Rishikesh has some beautiful music schools. Some people stay in Rishikesh for long period to learn yoga & meditation. During the free time some people also joins music classes to learn Indian classical music. One can have lifetime experience of learning vocals as well as musical instruments such as Sitar (Plucked string instrument), Harmonium, Shehnai (Flute), Dholak, Tabla (Drums) and many others.
Astrology in Rishikesh : Astrology or Palmistry services are also available in Rishikesh. Personal horoscope and palm reading can be done at many places but you should choose the best among them. Birth date, time and city are general requirements for the session. Most of the people like to have answers about their future. Normal astrology needs 02 hours.
Cooking Classes : In Rishikesh you can get cooking classes where you can learn some Indian dishes. Good cook is not easy to get but not impossible. Knowledge of cooking in traditional Indian way is something different thing that you can take away to your country.
Yoga in Rishikesh
Rishikesh has very beautiful atmosphere which has attracted so many spiritual persons as well as people who are looking for peace since ancient time. Legends says that Raibhya Rishi who made intense tapasya (austerity) here to please lord Vishnu. Later he stayed here and practiced Yoga. After Raibhya Rishi so many sages, monks and famous spiritual personalities used this place for yoga and meditation. The Beatles came to Rishikesh in the 1960s to learn and practice yoga. The incident promoted Rishikesh in world map as ultimate destination for yoga. Now Rishikesh is also known as Yoga capital of the world. Thousands of tourists are attracted to Rishikesh every year to learn yoga. Rishikesh is full of places where one can learn yoga.
Yoga Ashrams in Rishikesh : Rishikesh has so many ashrams for yoga. Yoga classes are provided daily basis or pre decided schedules. Some ashrams provide classes only to the people who stay in their ashram. Ashrams are best option if you want to stay for long time for yoga. (More than week). Parmarth Niketan, Sivananda Ashram, Yog Niketan, Aurovally Ashram, Phool Chatti Ashram, Anand Prakash Ashram, Omkarnanda Ashram and Swami Ram Sadhak Gram Ashram are one of the leading ashrams in Rishikesh for Yoga and Meditation.
Adventure Tours in Rishikesh
Rafting in Rishikesh :
Brahmpuri, Shivpuri and Kaudiyala are small villages from where people can start their rafting to Rishikesh. Small rafting can be done from Brahmpuri (11 kms). 18 kms rafting can be done from Shivpuri and 25 kms long rafting can be done from kaudiyala. During monsoon rafting is not possible due to heavy rain. October to June is general season for Rafting.
Camping in Rishikesh : Camping is a famous weekend activity. So many temporary camps are established near Rishikesh. Camping can be done in jungle and river bank. Some camps provide group activities. There is no age limit for camping. Enjoy the nature, river and small trek in the camp. Best time for stay in camp October to May. You have a few options of choice for camps like budget camps, Luxury camps or deluxe camps.
Bungee Jumping : Bungee Jumping or Bungy Jumping is newly added in Rishikesh. It can be done at Jumpin heights which is 15km far from Rishikesh on the Rishikesh - Neelkanth road) Bungee Jump is 83 mtrs above a natural river. Other activities such as Flying Fox and Giant Swing is also available here. Only few places in India have facilities for Bungee Jumping.
Jungle Safari in Rishikesh : Rajaji National Park or Chilla park is Just 25 kms far from Rishikesh. If you are interested in wildlife this is nearest National park. Per day 02 times Jungle safari can be done here. Morning at 07:00HRS and afternoon 14:00HRS. Normal Jungle safari takes 03 to 04 hour by jeep ride for 36 kms safari range in Rajaji National Park. Elephant, deer, birds and tigers (only few) are key animals of the park.
Trekking in Rishikesh : There are so many treks available near the Rishikesh. Soft, moderate and hard trek are options. Small treks can be done to beautiful villages and waterfalls and other treks for more than 01 day can be done in jungle or near by mountains. Trekking alone is not advisable. Famous small trek are Neer garh (Neer Gaddu waterfall trek, Kunjapuri trek, Neelkanth Temple Trek, Jhilmil Gufa Trek and Trek near Rajaji National Park. Other famous long treks are Gomukh (Gaumukh) Trek, Valley of flower Trek, Tungnath Trek, Devoria tal Trek, Hemkund sahib trek, Kuari Pass Trek and Roop kund Trek.
Other Adventure activities in Rishikesh : Kayaking, Biking, Cycling, Rock climbing, Rappelling, Body Surfing and Cliff Jumping are other famous adventures in Rishikesh.
Places to Eat in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is well known destination for Indian as well as foreign tourists, so Rishikesh has lots of varieties in food. In Rishikesh traditional Indian cuisine, Italian, Maxican, Chinese, Middle Eastern, American ajnd Israeli food is available. North Indian and South Indian food is widely used. Non vegetarian food is prohibited in Rishikesh area because it is a holy place. How ever there are lots of varieties of food in Rishikesh mainly in Lakshman Jhula area.
Food in Rishikesh :
Roti Indian bread (Naan, Tandoori Roti and Chapati are its options).
Paratha : Paratha is India flat bread generally stuffed with potato and paneer.
Paneer : Cottage cheese.(Generally mixed with vegetables)
Pulao Rice cooked with spices and vegetables.
Kofta : Similar to meatball but vegetarian.
Thali Combine platter of different dishes.
Dosa : Similar to crepe or thin pancake made from Rice and black lentils)
Vegetables : Aaloo (Potato), Mattar (Peas) and Palak (Spinach)
Popular Snacks in Rishikesh : Chat, Panipuri, Jalebi, Kachori, Samosa, Chow mein
Popular Drinks in Rishikesh : Lassi (A yogurt drink generally mixed with fruits and other stuff), Chai Tea (Masala Chai Tea with special spices) and Various Fruit Juices.
Restaurants in Rishikesh
Ramanas Garden :
Ramanas Garden is located in Lakshman Jhula area. Organic food and bakery items are available here. Unique concept of business with charity.
60s (Caf Delmar) : 60s Caf is located at Lakshman Jhula. It is also known as Beatles caf. This caf has lots of variety in food. It also has good view of River Ganga. Good option for foreigners.
Honey Hut : Unique concept based caf. Honey Hut is located in Lakshman Jhula. The cafe uses honey instead of sugar in every item.
Little Buddha cafe : Little buddha caf is located in Lakshman Jhula area. Caf has good variety in Nepali, European and Thai food. It also has good view of the river.
Devraj Coffee Corner : Devraj coffee corner is also known as German Bakery. Devraj Coffee corner is located just near the Lakshman Jhula. Its spinach pie is very famous. Cafe has amazing view of river and the Laskman Jhula bridge.
Ganga View Restaurant : Ganga View Restaurant is situated in Lakshman Jhula area. The hotel has good Nepali food and can provide many kind of world food.
Other Restaurants in Rishikesh : Oasis Restaurant, Govind Jis Prasadam, Midway Restaurant and Bar, Maa Cozy, Ganga Beach Restaurant, Madras Caf, Green Italian Restaurant, Tulsi Restaurant, Flavors Restaurants, Lucky Restaurants, Paradise Restaurants, The Pyramid Caf, Caf Okaeri, Little Itali, Moon Dance Caf, Moksha, The Dosa Caf, The Office, New Bhandari Swiss Cottage, Tattva Restaurant, Mama Mia, Swiss Garden Restaurant, Mudra Caf and Restaurant, Freedom Caf, Holy Water- Dinning by the Ganges, Raj Resort Restaurant, Devine Resort, Himalayan Herbs, Health Caf, Serene Garden Restaurant, Ihasa and Laxmi.
Hotels in Rishikesh:
Rishikesh is full of various kind of hotels in Rishikesh for accommodation. Lakshman Jhula has so many hotels. Swarga Ashram has variety of Ashrams. Ram Jhula and other parts have less accommodation places. There are some beautiful resorts are there on the hill areas. Camps are also one of the options to stay near by. All Camps are minimum 12 kms far from the Rishikesh. During pick season such as May, June, October, November, December, January and in festival days its good to book hotel in advance. Hotel Vashundhara Palace, Hotel Divine resorts, Hotel Himalayan Hideaway, Hotel Narayana Palace, Hotel Gayatri Resorts, Hotel Explore Himalayas Resort, Hotel Ganga Kinare, Hotel Ganga Beach Resort.
Weather in Rishikesh:
Rishikesh is located at an altitude of 360 meters above the sea level in hill area. Rishikesh can be visited through out the year how ever September, October & November are best time to visit Rishikesh. Spring season in Rishikesh is from Mid February to late May. Summer season is from mid May to July. Monsoon starts generally in late July till the September. Winter season is from Oct to mid feb. In winter temperature is around 8 C to 20 C & during summer temperature is around 30 to 42 C. Rishikesh weather has very pleasant during the whole year.
How to Reach Rishikesh
Three way to come in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh By Bus : Rishikesh by road is well connected by road to other Indian cities. Rishikesh is just 245 kms far from New Delhi by road. Haridwar to Rishikesh distance is just 30 kms. Dehradun is 50 kms far from here. You can get Govt Buses for Rishikesh from New Delhi, Haridwar and Dehradun. New Delhi to Rishikesh bus takes normally 07 to 08 hour to reach here. Rishikesh to Haridwar is just 45 minuts journey.
Rishikesh By Air : Dehradun Jollygrant airport is nearest airport for come by Air Rishikesh which is just 25 kms far from here. There are daily flights from New Delhi to Dehradun. There is also Air India flight from Lucknow on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Air India, Jet Konnect & Spice Jet are major airlines which have daily flights from Delhi to Dehradun.
Rishikesh By Train : Rishikesh has Railway connectivity with limited trains. Haridwar Railway station is very close (35 kms far) so its best option to reach Rishikesh by train. Shatabdi Express (Train Number 12017), A/C Special (Train Number 12205) & Mussoorie Express (Train Number 14041) are one of the best options to reach Haridwar from New Delhi. Haridwar to Rishikesh you can hire taxi or you can hire auto rickshaw.
Important Note : All information is updated frequently for public interest and mistakes in above information are purely unintentional. Please feel free to inform us if you find mistakes in above information.