Gateway to the Himalyas-Rishikesh
Located in the northern state of Uttrakhand, the small town of Rishikesh is scenically located where the river Ganga comes down from the Himalyas. Rishikesh is a magnet for spiritual seekers, both foreign and domestic.
The masses of ashrams and the surrounding forested hills set the perfect tone for a spiritual journey. Rishikesh found its popularity among foreign tourists during the ‘60s when the famous band Beatles visited Maharishi Mahesh yogi’s ashram and John Lenon even recorded a song called ‘Happy Rishikesh song’.
In the view of SPIRITUALITY SEEKERS, Rishikesh is the place to be.
Rishikesh also styles itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. Rishikesh is the ideal place for a truly spiritual journey.
Rishikesh has many beautiful temples and monuments.
The NeelkanthMahadev temple is a wonderful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Many Hindu pilgrims travel to this temple with the holy water of Ganga to the idol of Lord Shiva placed at the temple. The temple can be reached eithervia a forest path that translates into a three hour long walk or by car on a road via LakshmanJhula.
A pleasant 2km walk south of LakshmanJhula along the path skirting the east bank of the Ganges leads to the spiritual community of Swarg Ashram, made up of temples, ashrams, shops and the bathing ghats where religious ceremonies are performed at sunrise and sunset.
The colourful “Ganga aarti” ceremony is held at the riverside temple of the ParmarthNiketan Ashram, with singing, chanting, musicians and the lighting of candles.Just south of Swarg Ashram, slowly being consumed by the forest undergrowth is what’s left of the original Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram. It was abandoned in 1997 and is now back under the control of the forest department, but the shells of many buildings, meditation cells and lecture halls can still be seen, including Maharishi’s own house and the guesthouse where the Beatles stayed.
A trip to Rishikesh need not always be a spiritual one. There are aspects for ADVENTURE SEEKERS in this amazingly versatile peaceful place. In recent times the natural set up of Rishikesh has been harnessed by many for memorable adventure trips.
Rishikesh has now become very popular for white water rafting. The waters of Ganga are ideal for rafting, with the path interspersed with rapids ranging from level 1 to 5 depending on the difficulty.
At the end of the trip you have the opportunity take part in cliff jumping into the freezing waters of Ganga.
Camping on the bank of Ganga is a fun filled experience in itself, complete with tents, campfire and swimming.
Trekking and nature hikes to explore hidden lakes and waterfalls are a hobby among many visiting rishikesh. This place offers a beautifully wild terrain and nature filled scenic landscape for the hikers
North and south Indian food is widely available but only vegetarian dishes are available as non-vegetarian food has been banned here for many years.
Various multi-cuisines cafes and restaurants are located near LakshmanJhula. Many wooden push carts selling various fruits and nuts are also present. Papayas available here are particularly delicious.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or spirituality, Rishikesh is one place that is surely high on both. This amazingly spiritual, calm and quiet place is one you must visit.