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Rishikesh is a small town in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India. Scenically located where the Ganges River comes down from the Himalayas, Rishikesh catapulted to Western fame when the Beatles dropped by for a visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram (now closed), and the town is still known as the World Capital of Yoga.
Rishikesh is also the Gateway to the Himalayas. The Char Dham Yatra (Four Shrines Sacred Journey) ideally begins from Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is one of the
best located pilgrimage centers along the right bank of the Ganga. The
holy river emerging from high mountains not far from here, runs deep and
silent through the thickly wooded hills of the Tehri that straddle this
region. A breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered
wildlife await here. Not to mention the peace and tranquility of a
landscape associated with 'munis' and meditation. Today Rishikesh has become
a center for learning and research in yoga and meditation- the renowned
Indian methods for mental and physical health. The week-long International
Yoga festival which attracts participation from all across the world is held
here annually in the month of February on the banks of serene Ganga.
History of Rishikesh
Legend has it that the sage Raibhya Rishi
did severe penance and, as a reward, God appeared to him in the form of
Hrishikesh. Rishikesh also represents the site where Lord Vishnu vanquished
the demon Madhu. The place is known as the Tapo Bhumi or the place for
meditation of the Gods. Tapovan, on the other bank of the Ganges, houses a
temple to Lakshmana. It is believed that Lakshmana, the younger brother of
Lord Rama, carried out penances here. The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is
believed to be the site where Lord Shiva had drunk the venom that came out
during the churning of the ocean. In the 1960s, the place came into
limelight as the place where the pop group Beatles met their guru, Maharishi
General Information :-
Area: 11.20 sq km. Population: 29,145 (1981 census). Altitude: 356 m.
Temperature: Summer 18.3 to 32.2° C and Winter 14.4 to 29° C.
Rainfall: 1,524 mm (average) June to September.
Best season to visit : April to June or September to October.
Clothing: Summer-Cotton and Winter -Heavy Woollens.
Language spoken: Hindi, Garhwali and English.
Major Attractions of Rishikesh
Trayambakeshwar Temple, Lakshman Jhula, is 13 stories high, with different deities throughout.
Antibiotics Project at Virbhadra : 6.4 km. Permission to visit antibiotics plant is to be obtained from the General Manager, Antibiotics Plant, Virbhadra, Rishikesh.
Laxman Jhoola : It is a beautiful sight about 7 km north of Rishikesh. There was a hanging just rope bridge across river Ganga (without pillar) till 1889 which was rebuilt with iron ropes in 1939. The suspension bridge has a span of 140. Raghunathji's temple is the main attraction at Laxman Jhoola. Laxman is said to have visited this place and is believed to have done penance to wash his sins for having killed a Brahmin. The suspension bridge connects Rishikesh with Tapovan across river Ganga where a temple is dedicated to Laxman.
Triveni Ghat: 1.6 km. A bathing Ghat, where three streams of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati are believed to be flowing together underground. This is a sacred place where 'Pinda Shradha' is performed or food is offered to the departed soul. Evening Aarti (prayer) of goddess Ganga is also performed here.
Swarga Ashram: 8 km. It is a quiet place on the left bank of the Ganges opposite to Shri Shivananda Ashram. Swarg Ashram can be reached either by crossing Ganga by boat or by another Ram/Shivanand suspension bridge since built across river Ganga. An idol of Shri Badrinath Ji is enshrined in the temple which is surrounded by forest. Pilgrims visiting Badrinath temple also pay their visit to Swarga Ashram. The temple and Dharamshala is maintained by Kali Kamliwala Kshetra enroute. In fact Swarga Ashram is a self-contained township with restaurants, shopping centres alongwith temple, parks, libraries, meditation centres and Ay.urvedic dispensaries.
Gita Bhawan : 8 km. Constructed by Geeta Bhawan Trust Gorakhpur in 1944 adjacent to Swarga Ashram complex. The temple and group of buildings have Gita and Ramayana inscribed on its walls. The Bhawan is controlled by a body of trustees, who are affiliated to the Gita Press, Gorakhpur. The mission of the trust is to serve the society through normal and spiritual education.
Baba Kali Kamliwala Panchayati Kshetra : It is one of the oldest institutions, founded by Shri Baba Vishuddha Nanda Ji and now run by a Trust. The main office of the institution is at Rishikesh and it has branches at all the pilgrim centres in Garhwal hills. They provide lodging and boarding facilities to the pilgrims all along the route even at the higher altitude of the Himalayas upto Kailash.
Shri Sivananda Ashram and Divine Life Society: 2.5 km from Rishikesh Bus stand on Rishikesh-Laxman Jhoola Road. This Ashram was established in 1936 by Shri Swami Sivananda Ji Maharaj, the renowned Yogi of India. A hospital is run here and experienced doctors attend the sick tree of charge. Arrangements of food and bedding for sick and ailing are made tree. In the serene atmosphere of the Ashram a large number of saints and devotees are leading holy lives and practicing Yoga here. The members of the Society believe in one religion and have vowed to help people in distress.
Ashram and Yoga Centres: Yoga Niketan Laxman Thoola, Yoga Sadan Ashram Rishikesh, Shri Vithala Ashram and Transcendental Meditation Centres of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Shankaracharya Nagar, Ved Niketan and Yoga study centre.
Temples: Raghunath temple, Bharat temple, Pushkar temple, Shatrughan temple, Laxman temple, Sheshdhara, Rishikund and Bhagirath temple
Narendra Nagar: The hill station of Narendra Nagar is 15 kms trom the foothill town of Rishikesh in Tehri district on the way to the holy shrines of Gangotri and Yamnotri. Narendra nagar was the capital of former Tehri State and the palaces of the former Maharaja Narendra Shah are located here. The offices of Tehri district are also located here. Kunjpura is an attractive place on top of a hillock near Narendra Nagar which provides beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayas.
Chamba : 62 kms trom Rishikesh. While staying in Rishikesh, visitors can go upto Chamba which is very pleasant during summer months. Chamba provides an impressive view of the Himalayan peak Bandarpoochh on a clear day. A tTuit belt has since been developed in Chamba and apples and apricots are grown here in plenty A tourist bungalow is available for spending a night. More about Chamba
Garur Chatti : 8 kms trom Laxman Jhoola. A temple is here which is dedicated to Lord Garur Maharaj.
Bhootnath Cave: 3 kms trom Laxman Thoola. An attractive place both for pilgrims and tourists as well as adventurers.
Neel Kanth Mahadev : 1675 m. This temple is dedicated to Neelkanth Mahadev (Lord Shiva) which is about 22 kms from Laxman Jhoola. According to mythology, Lord Shiva had consumed the effluent poison produced after Sagar manthan which had turned his throat blue and thus this place came to be known as Neelkanth Mahadev or Shiva with Blue throat. While going upto Neelkanth Mahadev one can have a wide spread view of Himalayan peaks, Bhabar forests and plains below. Pilgrims mostly come here during the month of July/August.
Do in Rishikesh (Sports and Adventure)
Photo Gallery of Rishikesh
Places to Eat
Accommodation in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is filled almost entirely with budget hotels, with a few mid-range thrown in for good measure. Lakshman Jhula is popular with backpackers and has the cheapest accommodation, while Swarg Ashram is where the majority of the ashrams are located, and is a nice alternative. There's also a handful of accommodation options in High Bank.
It's wise to book ahead in the peak tourist season, and during the Kumbh Mela in neighboring Haridwar
Budget Hotels in this range start as low as Rs 100.
Many ashrams also offer cheap lodging.
There are two Government Tourist Lodges.Their rates range from INR 600 to 2000.
Online booking of both these tourist resorts can be done at
A holy city it may be, but Rishikesh draws more than its fair share of criminals and conmen. Don't walk around alone at night and beware of the motives of sadhus offering one-on-one tutoring.
Information Centre for Haridwar
Regional Tourist Office, Haridwar,