Rishikesh is a place known world over as the land of temples, ashrams, pilgrims, mountains and Ganges River. The journey to this spiritual and adventurous city usually takes around 6 hours by road. Just 25 kms before Rishikesh lies Haridwar, an ancient Hindu holy city where the Ganges River makes a touchdown in the plains after exiting the mountainous terrain. It is flocked by people through out the year. While many people prefer to take a bath in the sacred river Ganges at Hari-ki-Pauri (famous ghat in Haridwar), the more adventurous ones move on to Rishikesh to gather a more divine or adventurous experience.
It would take around 40 mins from Haridwar to reach Rishikesh. Defined by the invincible river Ganges and abstinent dwellings, Rishikesh, is a yoga and spiritual capital of the world. From here the upward journey towards various holy places and hill stations in the Garhwal mountains begins. The tranquility of this place is maintained despite of the streets bustling with tourists, spiritual people, locals, backpackers, sadhus, hippies and traffic. Ever since the historic spiritual visit by the Beatles to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ashram in Rishikesh, the city gained popularity in many western countries and thousands of westerners started flocking this city in search of peace and spirituality every year. Full of ashrams and temples, Rishikesh is home to devout mystics and sadhus who once travelled to Rishikesh in their quest for knowledge about various Hindu scriptures and to seek emancipation. These saffron draped men are a common sight here.
There are plenty of things to see and do in this hilly town:
Explore – Take a walk along the banks of river Ganges as you come across an intriguing view of cluster of temples, bazaars, ghats and ashrams surrounding the river from both sides. Enjoy a bath in the river or sit down at one of the many ghats and unwind yourself as you dip your feet in the mighty flowing Ganges or if you have time then go and explore the local bazaar (market). You may also discover the other side of the city by crossing the river by a motor boat or by foot through either of the two famous suspension bridges- Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula.
Adventure – Surrounded by lofty hills and mountains, enhanced with the rumbling Ganges and its streams, this holy city is also popular as an adventure destination. The adventure seekers can indulge in some exciting activities such as trekking, mountaineering, camping and white water rafting. This region offers the best white water rafting experience in the country with some of the most arduous rapids. The river comes gushing down the mountains and many rapids are formed on the way to Rishikesh. Usually the rafting season begins in September and ends in June and is thronged by a large number of thrill seekers from around the globe. There are different packages on offer which includes night camp stay on the banks of the river, accompanied by trekking in the morning and then rafting for a couple of hours.
Aarti – Another spectacle to watch in Rishikesh is the age old tradition of river worship ceremony. A quite popular one is the daily evening aarti ritual at the Parmarth Ashram. With the lit up diyas and sounds of the drums you are sure to rejoice in this 10-15 mins of holy ritual along the ghats of river Ganges.
Food – For a real Rishikesh food experience visit the the famous Chotiwala restaurant across the river and try their special vegetarian thali and lassi. Besides that you may also indulge in some mouth watering street food in many restaurants/bakeries across the city. For a more spiritual foodie experience, visit some ashram and enjoy the sattvic food as you sit down on the floor and eat with your bare hands.
Yoga – Known as the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is one of India’s most popular yoga destinations where people from all over the world gather to seek peace and spirituality at various ashrams and institutes. The city offers a mixture of courses ranging from a day class to short & long term courses. Signboards of yoga and ashram are omnipresent in every nook and corner of the city. You can indulge in some early morning or evening courses and discover the joy of a calmer, happier and a more peaceful spiritual experience.
Don’t forget to visit this divine land as you plan a trip to India.
Travel to the Yoga Mecca of Rishikesh with Bamba Experience and immerse yourself in the Himalayas culture, take yoga classes, go rafting and visit the its beautiful surroundings: