Famously known as the Yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is a quiet haven for those who seek tranquility from a fast-paced life. Located in Uttarakhand, about twenty-five kilometers from Haridwar, Rishikesh is a small town that encapsulates faith and Hinduism like no other town in India.
Situated on the banks of the holy River Ganges and on the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Rishikesh attracts flocks of tourists all throughout the year. The town isn’t just home to temples and some of the famous pilgrimage sites in the country, Rishikesh is also a premium holiday destination because of the stretch of the River Ganges that gives adventurers the opportunity to go river rafting, and other locations near the town let them opt for other adventure sports such as mountaineering, cliff jumping, hiking, trekking, bungee jumping etc.
The best way to experience this beautiful town and understand its true relevance is to visit it.
History of Rishikesh
Rishikesh’s roots trace back to the legendary Kedarkhand (Garhwal region). Legend has it that Rama performed a penance here for killing Ravana. Impressed by Ram, Lord Vishnu appeared to him here in his avatar of “Hrishikesh”. This is where Rishikesh derives its name from. The Skanda Purana’s Kedar Khand also speaks of Indrakund, which existed in Rishikesh.
The place where Lakshman Jhula is located is believed to be the place where Lakshman crossed the Ganges River using a jute rope. The jute bridge was replaced by an iron one in 1889 and followed by the floods of 1924 when the bridge was washed away, it was replaced by the present-day bridge, which is much stronger.
It is the cultural, mythical and religious heritage like this that draws thousands of tourists to Rishikesh every year. Home to hundreds of prominent and smaller temples, this town on the banks of the holy River Ganges has a sacred resting place for many saints and sages since time immemorial.
One of the main attractions of Rishikesh, the Laxman Jhula is located at a distance of five kilometers from the city. Till 1889, there was a jute rope in the place of the modern day Laxman Jhula, which was replaced by steel ropes in 1939. The bridge exists between Rishikesh and Tapovan. You will also find a temple dedicated to Laxman close to the Laxman Jhula.
Triveni Ghat is the meeting point of the three rivers of Saraswati, Kapil, and Hiran. This is where the aarti of Goddess Ganga is performed every evening, which is the main attraction here.
This is an ancient temple located in Rishikesh. There are thirteen deities in the temple that reside on different levels, making it a popular destination for pilgrims.
Located just one kilometer from the Trayambakeshwar Temple, this ashram is a township in itself. There are parks, Ayurveda centers, temples, restaurants, libraries etc in the township.
An extremely popular tourist destination, this is a large complex located on the banks of Ganga. It houses a temple, retail shops, accommodations for devotees and a banyan tree.
The Kunjapuri Devi Mandir is located at a distance of 25 kilometers from Rishikesh, this is one of the 52 Shakti Peeths in the state of Uttarakhand.
The hub of pilgrimage is placed at an altitude of 7,000 f above sea level. This place is very nearby to Narendra Nagar. The jungle of Banj Burans encircles this region.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located 32 kilometers from Rishikesh and is a popular tourist destination.
Rishikund and Raghunath Temple
The Raghunath temple is located on the Triveni Ghat, and Rishikund is located near the Raghunath temple. The Rishikund is believed to be blessed by Goddess Yamuna and it is her waters that fill the pool.
When to visit Rishikesh?
Rishikesh boasts of a continental climate throughout the year. But the most pleasant weather to visit Rishikesh is from February-March and August-October.
The best time to visit Rishikesh for river rafting is from the third week of September to the second week of November when the weather is mild.
How to Reach
Jolly Grant Airport (Dehradun) is the nearest airport to the town of Rishikesh. It is located seventeen kilometers away from Rishikesh. You can book a taxi to get to the town from here.
Rishikesh is well connected to major cities of the country through trains. You can catch a train to Rishikesh from Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun etc.
Rishikesh is well connected via road as well. There are regular bus services from New Delhi, Haridwar, Shimla, Chandigarh etc., which you can avail. You may also drive to Rishikesh in a hired car or bring your own car. Make sure you have an elaborate map with you that mists the major highways etc.