Location : 24 Kms from Haridwar (Uttar Pradesh)
Main Attracion : Lakshman Jhula, Swarga Ashram
Best Season : Throughout the Year
Main Languages : Garhwali and Hindi
Rishikesh is just 24 Kms from Haridwar. Located in the laps of lower Himalayas, this place is considered to be the access point of three other pilgrim places of Badrinath - Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri the four great places which combine to make Chardham . Rishikesh is surrounded by scenic beauty of the hills on three sides with Holy Ganga flowing through it. The whole place is considered to be sacred as it is believed that meditation at this place leads to attainment of salvation. There are many temples-some ancient, some new along the river Ganges. The River side is dotted by the ashrams of Sadhus and sages. Rishikesh is also famous for ashrams teaching Yoga.
In the 60's even the Beatles could not miss the charm of Rishikesh and they came here to meet their Guru. The Ganga, which is known for its strong currents and fierce behaviour up stream, suddenly becomes slow and gracious here. At Rishikesh, Ganga leaves the mountains and joins the plains for her long journey.
Rishikesh is not only an attraction for pilgrims but it also attracts foreigners who want to know about Hinduism, who want to spend some time close to the Lord, people who love rafting come here to conquer the rapids of Ganga. Rishikesh is also an ideal base camp for trekking in the nearby Himalayas.
Prime Religious Attractions of Rishikesh
• Lakshman Jhula
This suspended iron bridge was build in 1939 and has been a major attraction among the tourists. Ram Jhula- The other suspended Iron bridge was recently constructed between Shivanand Ashram and Sawarg Ashram.
• Gita Bhavan
This newly constructed building is famous for its attractive paintings and statues from the Hindu mythology. Situated just across the Lakshman Jhula.
• Swarga Ashram
One can find numerous temples here. This place has the eating joints and shops where one can do shopping. The beautiful statues in the area mesmerise the visitors.
• Neelkanth Mahadev Mela
Situated at a height of 1675 m, on a hill above Swarg Ashram, Neelkanth Mahadev is one of the most revered temples of Rishikesh.
• Nilkanth Mahadeo
Mythology says that in the ancient times when the ocean was being churned for 'amrit' (Potion for immortality), first venom oozed out. Lord Shiva drank the venom at a place which is now called Nilkanth Mahadeo. It is 12 kms from Rishikesh and is surrounded by peaceful forests.
• Triveni Ghat
This is a bathing ghat. Daily in the morning and evening there are thousands who take bath here and enjoy the Maha Aarti being performed. It very soothing to sit on the banks of the river and enjoy the cool breeze from the river.
Excursions of Rishikesh
Beyond the gardens amidst the low hill guarding the city lies the old pilgrim centre of Galtaji. Temples, pavilions and holy 'kunds' (natural springs and reservoirs) dot the serene green landscape. The small temple of the Sun god, built by Diwan Kriparam on top of the highest peak, is visible form all parts of the city.
• White Water Rafting
The challenge of violent rivers is no less than that of the rugged mountains. The icy heights of the Himalayas are the source of some of India's mighty rivers. Fed by innumerable streams, they race along tortuous boulder-strewn beds, cutting deep gorges and breaking into silvery-white rapids.
Gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttrakhand region, is located on the foot hills of Shivaliks.
The queen of hill stations.
It is just 20 kms from Rishikesh. The whole place is covered with forests and provides very pleasant environment. Government has declared Chila a sanctuary. A canal from Ganga feeds the reservoir where one can spot many animals. One can stay at the tourist lodge and enjoy the peaceful scenic surroundings.
Close to Narendra nagar, situated at 7000 ft this place is covered with dense forests. From here one can get a glimpse of the peaks and valleys.
• Valley of Flowers
The famous Valley of Flowers with the largest concentration of various species of wild flowers is off the Rishikesh-Badrinath road, 16 km from Govindghat.
• Narendra Nagar
15 kms on the Rishikesh Chamba road is located the historical town of Narendra nagar. This town is of archaeological importance. The town was built by the King of Tehri Narendra Singh. Narendra nagar has recorded many events which have left their impact on the town. The Royal palace is worth seeing and the huge magnificent Nandi bull cannot escape your attention.
One of the well established Sports Circuit of the state of Uttar Pradesh. With their wide open spaces above the snowfields of Garhwal and Kumaon, the place offers an exciting possibility - ski touring amongst the glaciers. The cross-country runs of 10-20 km with added advantage of fresh powder snow from crisscrossing streams, tearing down the snowlines of the European Alps.
The rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirath leave the mountains and merge at this place. From here they get the name Ganga. A peaceful holy place. It has got the ancient Raghunathji Temple.
Places to stay in Rishikesh
Rishikesh does not have any big hotels in the five star category but there are other hotels which offer comfortable stay. The Ashrams also provide accommodation facility. There are also dharamsalas and guest houses which offer good, inexpensive stay. The Garhwal Vikas Manda Nigam's guest has dormitory as well as single and double rooms for the tourists.
How to get there
Rishikesh does not have an airstrip of its own. But there are trains from all the major cities in the plains. The best transport for Rishikesh is by bus. Bus services are available from far and near places. Particularly there are regular services from Haridwar which is just half-an- hour journey from Rishikesh.
Shopping in Rishikesh
Being a pilgrimage place, the glamour of big shop bargains are absent but Rishikesh offers you handicraft items made of shells, beads and pearls. Sarees, kurtas, sheets and rugs can be purchased from here. You can buy these items from the government approved U.P handloom shop, Khadi Bhandar, Garhwal wool and craft shop etc.
Climate in Rishikesh
The climate here is continental type but its location in the foot hills gives it a pleasant weather throughout the year. One can visit Rishikesh any time of the year.
Trekking from Rishikesh
1. Chandrashila Trek
2. Chandrashila Summit
3. Devi Darshan Trek
4. Gangotri Nandavan Trek
5. Kauri Pass Trek
6. Kauri Tapovan Trek
7. Kedarnath Trek
8. Khatling Sahasratal Trek
9. Rishikesh Gopeshwar Trek
10. Rishikesh Pauri Binsar Trek