There was a time when Rishikesh, situated at the confluence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga (Chenab) rivers, was a place only known to the sages and mystics. These god-seekers would often resort to this place for a peaceful communion with the mother nature. But with time things have changed; Rishikesh of the present dons many caps. Along with a spiritual retreat, it is a bustling town filled with domestic pilgrims and global backpackers. Its river currents and gentle slopes have brought it in the focus of sports enthusiasts. This town also serves as a launchpad to venture into the Garhwal Himalayas. Rishikesh is now one of the most sought after travel destinations in Uttarakhand.
Travel Tip: If you are interested in yoga and meditation, there are many ashrams and retreats offering short and long duration programs. Adventure sports like river rafting, kayaking and rock climbing are on offer at Shivpuri near Rishikesh.
Attractions in Rishikesh
This ghat is supposed to be the confluence point of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Most pilgrims headed to the shrines in the higher Himalayas stop here for a dip and ‘puja’. Every evening a grand ‘aarti’ takes place on this ghat; it is a spectacular event.
This busy area opposite Shivananda Ashram has many shops, cafes, and Ashrams. Parmarth Niketan, a popular ashram-temple, is also located here.
Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula are the two suspended footbridges and are quite an attraction amongst tourists.
This is the name of the settlement reached by crossing the footbridge called Laxman Jhula. This area is quite atmospheric and is a favourite of many travellers. Kailash Niketan, a 13-storeyed temple, is located here.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
You need to do a 7-km long forest trail from Swarg Ashram to reach this temple. As per mythology, this is the place where Lord Shiva drank the poison.
This is the oldest temple in Rishikesh. Inside there is a black stone image of Lord Vishnu.
Videos of Rishikesh:
This video offers a short introduction to the attractions in Rishikesh:
If you want to know what drives westerners to Rishikesh, apart from the Beatles connection, here is the documentary:
How to Reach?
Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. It is just 21 km from here and has several flights to Delhi.
Railway: While Rishikesh has a railway station, the railway station of Haridwar (20 km) has better connections.
Road: Dehradun, the state capital, is just 45 km away from here. The distance from Delhi is about 240 km.
When to Go?
Rishikesh is open all year round. You can expect rainfall during the monsoon months of July and August.