Rishikesh , also known as “gateway to Himalayas” is located in the Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. Haridwar, famous pilgrimage for Hindus from all over the country is also located near Rishikesh. Rishikesh is also known as a residence for saints and sadhus who will be seen around the city meditating for years and years since ancient rimes.
History: Rishikesh was the part of Kedarkhand. History says that Lord Ram did self-punishment here for killing Ravana. Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram had crossed the river Ganga, where Lakshman-Jula is established at present. This jute rope bridge was replaced by iron rope in 1889, but after the floods in 1924, it was again replaced by another stronger bridge. This city is also considered to be vegetarian city and one cannot find meat and alcohol to be sold or available in Rishikesh. Cows are not tied here.
Cultural Heritage: From the era of kings rule, the former Royal palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal near Narendranagar, is now housing the Ananda in the Himalayas destination spa and retreat formed in the year 2000. In 2013, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles visited Rishikesh and they performed the Ganga aarti too. They had also organised a special pooja (Hawan) for world peace. Rishikesh: One in all and all for one..!!
Rishikesh is one point attraction for several activities like yoga centres, adventure sports, its holiness from temples and ancient history. So if one is looking for a quiet peaceful holiday, yoga centres are here for them; if one is looking for excitement, thrill and have a thirst for adventure, adventure sports like rafting, camping are waiting for them.
Yoga Centres: The first and the most important attraction in Rishikesh is no guess for us. It is the yoga centre. Rishikesh is also known as the “Yoga capital of India”. You can find several yoga centres which are more than enough to gain attention of tourists. In the present competitive age, our lifestyle is getting more and more complicated, hectic and consequently more stressful. Inside us, there is a soul who needs peace and serenity after all the struggles, busy schedules, it demands a time that is meant only for soul. For this, we need a break; a break which has all the time for yourself. For it, what can be best solution than meditation and yoga..!! And for yoga, there is no better place thanRishikesh. It is believed that meditating in Rishikesh brings oneself closer to attaining “moksha”.
Adventure Sports: Rishikesh, from some time is gaining huge attraction for adventure sports like
white river rafting, nationally and internationally, as the river Ganga has all kinds of rapids (a whirlpool of water amidst the river formed by high and low tides), from medium to class 3-4. River rafting is usually carried out on white water which has different levels of rough water. It also signifies challenging task for adventure enthusiasts. One can experience working as unit with the members of the raft by keeping co-ordination to keep the raft moving over high rapids. This extreme sport is also considered to be dangerous but for thrill lovers, they do not mind to take a little risk which can help them overcome their fear. Of course, there are tour guides and raft guides to take care of you during raft and so it is worth a task..!! This is not it, Rishikesh offers a lot more..!! It is also the popular centre for
■ Backpacking (travel or hike carrying your belongings in a bag)
■ Hiking (taking a long walk along the road side, hills)
■ Rock climbing (climbing rocks of hills with ropes and other equipments)
■ Rappelling (coming down from mountains with the help of two ropes)
■ Bungee jumping ( an extreme sport in which people jump from a higher ground for example a bridge with the help of ropes, the rope stretches and it bounces back taking the person on higher ground again)
■ Kayaking (travelling in a boat across waters) A new sport getting popular among adventure freaks is mountain biking. It can also be done at Mohanchatti which is located near Lakshman-Jhula in Rishikesh.
Ashrams: Rishikesh is residence of a 133 year old Kailash Ashram. It is an institution to conserve and foster Vedantic Studies. Famous personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Shivananda have studied at the institution. Temples in Rishikesh: One can find temples at every point in Rishikesh, small, big and countless temples on every street of the city. Rishikesh is significant as a pilgrimage spot related to Ramayana. It is also home for vital locations related to Hindu religion. Char Dham temples, the well-known four temples starts the series of temples in the city. It is also said that in Rishikund tank, Lord Ram used to bath in the tank during his exile. Some of the famous temples in Rishikesh are:
■ NilkantMahadev temple: It is located around 5500 ft. It is said that Lord Shiva drank the “vish” when the sea was being shrunk for finding “amrit”. After drinking it, Lord shiva turned into blue colour and after that the temple was named as Nilkanth temple.
■ Kunjapuri temple: This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
■ Parmarth Niketan temple: The temple is known for its school print on the traditional style, showing Hinduism.
■ Bharat Mandirrishikesh: This temple is dedicated to Bharat, the younger brother of Lord Ram.
■ Geeta Bhavan: This temple is famous for its explanation of epics Ramayana and Mahabharata on its walls. There are other more temples like Tera Manzil temple, a temple from where one can have beautiful scenic views from the top of the temple especially the sunset during winters which one cannot forget in his lifetime; Rishikund tank and Raghunath temple which are worth a visit.
■ Ghats in rishikesh Triveni Ghat: This ghat is located at a distance of 1.5 kilometres from Rishikesh. It is to have a bath. This ghat is famous as it is considered sacred for its convergence of three mountain streams. One can find pilgrims from all over the world taking a dip in the water.
This ghat is also known for its Maha Ganga Aarti performed in the evening. It is believed that taking a holy dip in the water can relieve one from sins as the pure water has the powers to purify all the bad deeds. Even it is also said that Lord Krishna had visited the ghat when he was shot by an arrow.
Shopping at Rishikesh...Oh yes… Splendid..!! Triveni ghat is also a hub of a beautiful market where one can shop gems, precious stones, clothes, Hawan and puja items, cassettes and CDs of holy songs and videos. One can also find shops of religious items like traditional clothes, accessories and also painted God idols. Book worms can find historical and mythological books bringing you closer to the city. Got tired after shopping… need a break..?? Grab some roadside food like golgappa, Ice creams and lots of sweets. Hotels and Accommodation in Rishikesh: One can find most of the accommodation on both the sides of the river Ganga and Lakshmanjhula. But there are not much hotels near ashrams. While hotels and resorts of any budget are available in Rishikesh, providing value added services like yoga and spa packages, meditation packages. Hotels near river Ganga can offer incredible views from the hotels. Adventure enthusiastic can have camps in Shivpuri, Kaudiyala enjoying water sports like River rafting, rapelling, Kayaking and many more..!!!