Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, this sacred town of Rishikesh is located on the banks of the River Ganges. Rishikesh has been an important pilgrimage for the Hindus. This holy city is the point from which one starts the holy Char Dham Yatra of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Rishikesh for years has been the seat of Yoga and Meditation in India. One can easily explore ones spiritual side while on a visit to this part of India. The city of Rishikesh is situated at a close proximity from Haridwar which adds on to its spiritual sense and environment manifolds. Rishikesh, the Yoga and Meditation Capital of India, has been a seat for spiritual teachings for ages now. The serine environment, famous ashrams and the natural beauty of the place attracts tourists from far corners of the globe. There are a lot of places in Rishikesh which are of conventional and cultural importance, mouth watering cuisines which one can taste and also renowned vacationer's attractions which are mesmerizing, enchanting and also unique. These blends of traits make travelling in Rishikesh a delightful experience that each one, who has visited this place will remember for ages. Rishikesh comprises largely sites of historical importance. Vacationerâ€™s attractions include hanging bridge, Lakshman Jhula, Ram Jhula, Geeta Bhavan and host of other places.
Rishikesh is situated at an altitude of 372 meters above the sea level. This holy city is on the right bank of the river Ganges and surrounded by knoll form three sides. Rishikesh is located at around 238 kilometers from New Delhi and 24 kilometers from Haridwar. Precisely this city is situated at 30° 7' 12" N and 78° 19' 12" E. This picturesque city of Rishikesh includes five sections namely Muni-ki-reti, Shivananda Nagar, Lakshmanjhula, Swarg Ashram and the settlements on both sides of the river Ganges.
Rishikesh has been a major tourist destination for both Indians and Westerners. This place was once visited by the famous western world band Beetles who came here in search of salvation. There are many places in Rishikesh which pull crowd across the year from all corners of the globe. The major sites which one must see while on a vacation in Rishikesh include:
Tribeni Ghat: This is a place of religious significance for the Hindus. It is said that, a dip in the Ganges here lets one get rid of all his sins. Every evening the goddess Ganga is worshiped here and thousands of oil-lamps are floated on the river. This is a sight which one should not miss at any cost. Tamples which are around Tribeni Ghat are Bharat Mandir and Vishnu Mandir.
Chandreshwar Temple: This temple is located at meeting point of Chandrabhaga and the river Ganges.
Swarg Ashram: This is the most visited and most beautiful part of Rishikesh. This is a must see place and houses a number of temples, shopping places and cafes.
Lakshman Jhula: This hanging bridge is one of the major attractions of tourists visiting Rishikesh. This was built in the year 1939 and the length of this bridge is around 450 feet.
Kilashananda Ashram: This temple of Rishikesh is famous for its extraordinary architectural beauty and the thirteen stories. Each of these thirteen levels has been dedicated to a particular deity.
Ganga Museum: This museum of Rishikesh houses Mughal and Rajput paintings which are form 18th and 19th centuries.
Places Around Rishikesh
The Vilas Vinay Palace: Situated at around 10 km away from the central township, The Vilas Vinay Palace is a garden palace and was once the abode of Maharaja Vinay Singh. This palace houses the Silisehr Lake and the beautiful gardens. This palace has now been converted into a hotel
Narendra Nagar: 15 kilometers on the Rishikesh-Chamba highway is situated the historical township of Narendra Nagar. This is a township of great archaeological significance. Contructed by the King of Tehri Narendra Singh, this royal palace is a must see site. This township houses the superb figurine of Lord Shiva's attendant, the Nandi bull.
Rajaji National Park at Chilla: Located at around 16 km from Rishikesh, this park spread over 820 sq km has wildlife in profusion and is particularly famous for the wild elephants. The Sariska wild life sanctuary is also around 37 km from Rishikesh. Built in 1955, this national park is situated in the lap of the Aravallis.
The Nilkanth Mahadev: Situated at the eastern part of Rishikesh, this is one of the holiest pilgrip place for the Hindus. The gorgeous woodland pathway rises through the woods in the rear of Swarg Ashram, encompasses Mahesh Yogi's ashram, and ultimately descends at Nilkantha. This holy shrine is situated at an elevation of 1700 meters above the sea level. Its diminutive marketplace and dharamshala becomes particularly lively during mid-July, when the visitors gather at the temple.
Rishikesh is very well connected by road and rail and air.
By Air: The nearest airport from Rishikesh is Dehradun which is situated at approximately 35 km away from Haridwar.
By Rail: Rishikesh is connected with the rest of India by rail via Haridwar which is around 24 kilometers away. This nearest railhead from Rishikesh connects the city with major cities of India such as Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun and other cities.
By Road: Rishikesh is linked by road via Haridwar with Agra, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Kullu, Manali, and Shimla. Rishikesh is also connected to Mussourie , Badrinath , Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Srinagar and Joshimath. One can hire taxies as well in order to enjoy a smooth and luxurious journey.
Adventure Sport: Rishikesh is a great place for the adventure sports lovers. Rishikesh is the best to commence on a trekking trip into the Himalayan ranges. The destinations which one can include in the visit chart are Uttarakhand (144 km), Kedarnath (228 km), Badrinath (203 km), Gangotri (253 km), Yamunotri (226 km), and Mussourie (77 km).
Water sports: Rishikesh is synonymous these days with river rafting. One can find numerous rafting service providers here. Rafting is feasible at Brahmpuri which is around 10 km away from Rishikesh and on the rapids at Shivpuri which is located at 18 km away from Rishikesh.
Other things that one can enjoy: Caving voyages are carried out through the 200 meter long Vishitha Gufa located at around 16 km away from Rishikesh. Half-day elephant safaris can be enjoyed in the Rajaji National Park. Boat rides on the Ganges can be availes from Swarg Ashram Ghat. Other related sports like skating, horse riding, and gliding are also available. Paddle boating and ropeway-rides are also possible in Rishikesh.
Local Cuisines: Foodies can enjoy tasty local cuisines here in Rishikesh. Though the preferred food items here are all vegetarian, but they are cooked with great care.
Aarti Darshan: One should not miss the Aarti of the river Ganges with is done every evening at the Tribeni ghat. Every evening thousands of oil lamps are floated on the river which make the environment serine and enchants your heart with spiritualism which is in the air.
With the opening of river rafting on the Ganges, escapade trips and rising attention of people towards yoga, meditation and Ayurveda has made Rishikesh a place to be visited round the year.
March - April: This is the best time for river rafting, yoga and trekking in the Himalayas
May - June: Best time for long treks in the Himalayas and visit to Yamnotri, Gangotri and Badrinath
July - September: Best time to visit Valley of Flowers and Hemkund trek as well as a visit to Chardham
October- 15th November: This is the time suited for river rafting, camping on the river side and yoga.
15th November to February: This period is suited for Wild life Safaris in Rajaji & Corbett National park, River Rafting, skiing at Auli and yoga.
Myths prevail here that, Raibhya Rishi did rigorous penance here and as a result, God came to him in the appearance of Hrishikesh. Rishikesh also symbolizes as the-locate where Lord Vishnu defeated the demon Madhu. This holy land is also known as the Tapo Bhumi or the place for meditation of the Gods. Tapovan, which is situated on the other side of the Ganges, has a temple of Lakshmana. It is believed that Lakshmana the younger brother of Lord Rama did penances here. The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is supposed to be the place where Lord Shiva had drunk the poison that came out during the churning of the ocean.
Rishikesh enjoys three seasons namely summers, winters and monsoon. Summer starts in May and lasts till end of July. Temperature ranges between 29°C to 40°C and often it rains a little bit at night. Winter starts normally in the month of October and lasts till last week of February. Winters here in Rishikesh are really pleasant and the temperature ranges between 20°C to 5°C. Winter showers are also witnessed which further drops the mercury. Monsoons arrives normally around the mid of July and soaks the whole region and lasts till September. This region receives on an average total of 2136.7 mm of rain.