Rishikesh is a holy town nestled in foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. It is known as the “Gateway to Garhwal Himalayas” and is the starting point for travelling to the Char Dham pilgrimage places- Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. The sacred river Ganga flows through Rishikesh, and several ancient temples are located along the banks of the river.
The right time to visit Rishikesh would be February to March and August to October. Rishikesh is one of the favourite destinations for seekers of peace through Yoga and meditation, and has become the world capital of Yoga. It is a popular destination for white water rafting and is a much coveted spot for adventure water sports, attracting tourists from world over. It offers wonderful opportunities for adventure water sports, camping in the sun and sand on the pristine silver beaches of Ganga, trekking in the Himalayas, and wild life Safaris in the Rajaji national park. Rishikesh is also famous for ancient ayurvedic treatments like Panchkarma and ayurvedic massages.
How to reach Rishikesh
Rishikesh is located approximately 25 km from Haridwar and 45 kms from the state capital Dehradun. The nearest Airport is Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport which is about 25 km from Rishikesh. Haridwar is the nearest major railway station, which is about 25 km. The other nearby railway stations are Raiwala (12 kms) and Dehradun (45 kms). Rishikesh is well connected to Delhi by road also, the distance being 230 km which takes about 5-6 hours. There is regular AC as well as Volvo bus service connecting Rishikesh to the National Capital (Tickets can be booked online via the official website www.utc.uk.gov.in).
Places of tourist interest in Rishikesh
Triveni ghat is the most popular bathing ghat and is famous for the Ganga aarti performed at dusk. Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula are two suspension bridges built over the Ganges. These hanging bridges are believed to have a mythological connection and hence are very popular amongst the tourists. Numerous Ashrams like the Geeta Bhawan and Swarg Ashram (to name some of the most famous ones) are located near these Jhulas. The Ganga aarti at Parmarth Niketan is a beautiful visual and spiritual experience, with vedic chants and devotional music stirring the environment, and tiny glittering oil filled diyas floating in the holy waters. The Nilkanth Mahadev temple and Kunjapuri temple are situated around 30 kms from Rishikesh and are popular places of local pilgrimage. Shivpuri, located 16 kms from Rishikesh is the starting point for white water rafting and hosts scores of beach camps. Another place of tourist interest is the Vashisht gufa (ancient caves), situated around 21 kms from Rishikesh.
Places to visit around Rishikesh
There are a number of towns around Rishikesh, which harbor plenty of tourist attractions. Dehradun, Mussoorie, Dhanaulti, Lansdowne, Chamba, Kausani and Haridwar are amongst the top tourist destinations around Rishikesh. Hemkund, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are the famous pilgrimage destinations near Rishikesh.