Rishikesh is acknowledged as the “land of Gods”, which is located amidst a tranquil atmosphere, remarkable water facade and thick forest. It is at a remoteness of about 25 kms from Haridwar and 43 kms from Dehradun; positioned at an altitude of 1,160 ft. Rishikesh is the entrance to the sacred cities that structures the ‘Char Dham’ namely, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Rishikesh has now become the adventure destination, especially for white water rafting fanatics.
It is the international capital of Yoga & Meditation renowned worldwide.
Rishikesh is marked by a moderate climate for most of the year. Summers are extremely hot with the maximum temperature reaching up to 40 degree Celsius. In winters, the days are pleasant whereas the can be chilly.
Best time to visit
For River Rafting, Yoga, trekking - March - April
For Pilgrimage to Yamnotri, Gangotri and Badrinath - May - June
For Valley of Flowers and Hemkund trekking - July - September
River Rafting, Camping on the beaches - October-15th November
For Wild life Safaris in Rajaji & Corbett National park, Skiing in Auli - 15th November to February
Rishikesh is a pilgrimage, situated on the foothills of the Himalayas along with the banks of the sacred river ‘Ganges’. It accommodates numerous ashrams such as Vivekananda, Osho and Bihar school of yoga. It is considered as an important place to witness classical Indian yoga where the classes conducted are methodical and the spiritual atmosphere created is heavenly. The people in Rishikesh are warm hearted and welcoming; with great impact of religion. Hindu devotees come here to take a dip in the holy Ganges as it believed that this purifies them and relieves them from their bad karma.
Besides being a holy place, Rishikesh is a scenic place where sunrise is a heavenly experience when the golden rays of the sun merge with the holy waters of Ganga to present a eye catching view. In the morning, live temple chanting begins around 4 am and fills the air with pure mantras. During pujas offered in the nighttime, hundreds of camphor flame leaf boats are set afloat on the river and offer a view to be carried in the hearts forever.
Major Attractions in the city
Rishikesh, Lakshman Jhula : This is a suspended bridge made up of iron which was build in 1939 and is a major source of attraction for the tourists coming to Rishikesh. As per a popular legend, it is said that Lakshman crossed the sacred river, Ganga on jute ropes between the places where now this bridge is built.
Ram Jhula : This is another suspended Iron bridge which was recently constructed between Shivanand Ashram and Sawarg Ashram.
Bharat Mandir : This 12th century monument was built by Adiguru Shankra Charaya and is situated in the heart of Rishikesh on the banks of the holy river, Ganga. It must be noted that a detailed account of this ancient temple is available in an ancient record of Kearkhand. An idol of Lord Vishnu, carved out of a single 'Saligram' is located in the inner sanctum of the temple and right above the idol a Shree Yantra installed by Adi Shankraya Charya is kept in the inner sanctum.
Nilkanth Mahadeo : This ancient place is surrounded by dense forests which is just 12 kms from Rishikesh. According to Hindu mythology, in the ancient times when the ocean was being churned by the Devatas and the Rakshasas (Gods) for 'amrit' (Potion for immortality), first venom oozed out. Then in order to save the life on Earth, Lord Shiva himself drank the venom at a place which is now referred as Nilkanth Mahadeo.
Other places of interest
Chilla : Located just 20 kms from Rishikesh, Chilla is a place covered with forests which bestows a calm and serene environment to the place. Moreover, it is noteworthy that Chilla has been declared as a sanctuary by the government. There is a reservoir here fed by a canal from Ganga and various animals can be spotted here. There are tourist lodges available where one can stay and enjoy the serene and beautiful surroundings.
Narendra nagar : The historical town of Narendra nagar is considered to be of archaeological importance and is located 15 kms on the Rishikesh Chamba road. This beautiful town was built by the King of Tehri Narendra Singh. The Royal palace and the magnificent Nandi bull situated here are worth visiting.
Kunjapuri : This alluring place is at an altitude of 7000 ft and is located in the vicinity of Narendra nagar. Being covered with dense forests, this awesome destination provides eye catching glimpse of the peaks and valleys.
Devprayag : The rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirath start their journey from the mountains and merge at this place and it here from where they get the name Ganga. This is considered to be a peaceful holy place and houses the ancient Raghunathji Temple.
Auli :This is one of the well established Sports Circuit of the state of Uttar Pradesh where the wide open spaces above the snowfields of Garhwal and Kumaon, presents a great chance for ski touring amongst the glaciers.
How to reach
By Train : Haridwar is the nearest railway station from Rishikesh which is approximately 21 km away. Morning - evening trains for Delhi to Haridwar are available. On reaching Haridwar, one can hire a bus or a taxi from Railway station to reach Rishikesh.
By Road : Rishikesh is well linked with all the major cities by moderately well developed roads. The distances from Rishikesh are – Badrinath - 301 kms, Kedarnath - 228 kms, Delhi - 224 kms, Dehradun - 43 kms, Gangotri - 258 kms, Yamunotri - 288 kms and Uttarkashi - 154 kms.