A small pilgrim town, with scores of ashrams and yoga centres, Rishikesh is also famous for its adventure sports, along the Ganges, and trekking in the lower Himalayas. The gateway and the start off point for journeys, to the 4 famous pilgrims centres of Garhwal - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri, the little town of Rishikesh is the destination for the young and the restless seeking renewal. A holiday destination for cleansing of the mind and the soul, Rishikesh is where the wise ones spent time in devotion, meditation and yoga. Fast emerging as an exciting launch pad for adventure sports like trekking and white water river-rafting, it has ashrams or religious retreat centres, that offer lessons in meditation and treatment, for a variety of stress induced ailments, using the ancient medical techniques. Rishikesh is also home, to the annual International Yoga Festival, held in early February.
The Ganga, cut its passage, through the last foothills, and enters, a complex of 3 localites. First is the area around the spot where the famous Laxman Jhoola bridge spans the river and lends its name to the locality; then comes Muni-ki-Reti (Sands of the Sages) where the wise ones spent time in devotion, meditation and yoga; and then comes the expanding township on the bank of the river. The whole complex is called Rishikesh.
Rishikesh, does not have a swinging lifestyle, as a pilgrimage centre, its entire life revolves around prayers and festivals. Being the gateway to the Char Dhams or the four famous pilgrims centres of Garhwal - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri, it is the destination for the young and the restless seeking renewal and cleansing of the mind and the soul. Being a major centre, where the wise ones spent time in devotion, meditation and yoga, its ashrams or religious retreat centres offer lessons in meditation and treatment for a variety of stress induced ailments, using the ancient medical techniques. It is also the home to the annual International Yoga Festival held in early February.
Climate & Geogaphical Location
Winter lasts from November till mid-February. By June it starts getting warm. The rains begin in mid-July bringing relief from the heat. Hrishikesh is located 25 km up the Ganges from Haridwar and 238 km from Delhi, at an altitude of 1,160 ft.
How to Reach
Hrishikesh is well connected by road, rail and air. By air, the nearest airport Jolly Grant at Dehradoon is 17 kms away ,and is connected with flights to Delhi. By rail, the main railhead Haridwar is 22 kms away and is well connected with direct trains .coming in from Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Varanasi, Lucknow and other places. Hrishikesh,is also linked, by rail by a rather slow shuttle train, betwen Haridwar and Hrishikesh. There is good network of roads which helps to connect it with many parts of the country. Hrishikesh has buses plying to Haridwar, Agra, Chandigarh, Dehra Dun, Delhi and Nainital besides other places.
In the mornings, thousands come here to bathe and make offerings to the Lord. But at dusk, the arati on the Triveni Ghat, makes for an unforgettable experience. Barefoot, scores of devotees sit in rows on the steps of the ghat. As the sun begins to setm plating the river with its golden orange hue, a row of religious Mahants hold plates of flaming clarified butter, moving them in circular salutation to the river Ganges. Bask in the serene and peaceful aarti ceremony, performed daily on the river bank, or release flower filled leaf boats carrying tiny oil lamps and let them float out on the river, it is a ceremony of worship, rememberance and faith and an experience in itself.
Built when Rama's younger brother Lakshman, decided to cross the river on a jute rope. Today, the rope bridge has been replaced by a concrete one, by the same name. Ram Jhula is the other suspended iron bridge, recently constructed between Shivanand Ashram and Swarg Ashram.
Founded in early 50s, Gita Bhavan is an ashram, that runs an ayurvedic dispensary and has a branch of the famous Gita press, Gorakhpur. The place is also worth visiting for its collection of paintings and statues. While there are hundreds of rooms for visiting pilgrims, foreigners are not accommodated here.
BHARAT MANDIR - Reputedly the oldest structure in Rishikesh, the image installed here has a distinctly Himalayan cast of features.Though the temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu, it has several beautiful images associated with the worship of Lord Shiva.
NILKANTHA MAHADEV - According to mythology, when the cosmic ocean was being churned for amrit, what came out first was poison. This was the place where Shiva drank the venom, which turned his throat into a murky blue color, giving him the appellation Nilkantha, the one with blue neck.
OMKARANANDA ASHRAM - Omkarananda Ashram, located above the Yoga Niketan meditation centre, runs a school, maintains several temples and conducts classes in various Indian languages and classical art.
SIVANANDA ASHRAM - Established by Swami Sivananda, the ashram is an elaborate centre for meditation and yoga. Promoting society welfare, it runs a hospital and produces herbal medicines. Also known as the Divine Life Society, it has branches abroad as well.
Get Answers from our Experienced Travel Consultants now