Located in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas, the town of Rishikesh abounds in temples and ashrams. The world famous pilgrimage town is perched at an altitude of 1,360 ft a.s.l. According to the Hindu mythology, Rishikesh is the place where Lord Vishnu crushed demon Madhu. This is also the place from where begins the holy Chardham Yatra (covering Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri). Abounding in natural beauty, the town of Rishikesh (Uttaranchal) proves to be an ideal destination for tourists interested in pilgrimage travel and adventure sports. The ashrams of Rishikesh are renowned the world over for the study of spiritualism and meditation.
Rishikesh is also a Gateway to the World Heritage Site Valley of Flowers National Park - The 8th Wonder of the World
Rishikesh, also known as the “Place of Sagas” is a spiritual town situated 24 kms upstream from Haridwar, at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and Ganga and surrounded by scenic beauty of the hills on three sides. 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 represents the site where Vishnu vanquished the demon Madhu.
Rishikesh as appering the Adventure Capital of India for the adventure seekers as Rishikesh is the suggested place for starting their trekking expeditions to the Himalayan Peaks and for the White River Rafting. Also, International Yoga week which attracts participation from across the world, is held here, every year, in February on the banks of the holy Ganga.
Rishikesh is a vegetarian city by law, as well as an alcohol-free city. Rishikesh has also banned use of plastics bags by shopkeepers and vendors.
PLACES TO VISIT
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.
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 (Rama's brother; Rama is the hero of epic Ramayana) crossed the river here with the help of a jute rope. Apart from for its mythological significance, the bridge is also visited to soak up the panoramic views of the surroundings.
Ashrams in Rishikesh:
The prime tourist attractions in Rishikesh are the ashrams. The town is dispersed over with a number of 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.
The temple was laid down by Adiguru Shankaracharya around 8th century AD. One of the most ancient in Rishikesh, the temple occupies a position on the banks of the Holy Ganges. An idol of Lord Vishnu stands in the inner sanctum of the temple.
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.
Yet another suspended bridge in Rishikesh is the Ram Jhula. The bridge serves as the connection between the Shivanand Ashram and Swarg Ashram. It is dedicated to Ram, Lakshmana's elder brother.
HOW TO GET HERE
By Air :
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant which is 18km. from Rishikesh on way to Dehradun. At present chartered planes operate.
Rishikesh is connected by rail with Haridwar, Delhi, Bombay, Howrah, Lucknow and Agra.
Rishikesh is connected by road with most places of North India.