Rishikesh (Rishikesh) – the world capital of yoga, the gateway to the Himalayas, from which the journey begins to the mountainous regions to the Four Shrines, is located in the state of Uttarakhand, in the place where the Ganges flows from the Himalayas. The name of the city comes from the word rishi – sage, and in search of hidden wisdom, yogis, ascetics, hermits, pilgrim tourists and just curious people from all over the world flock to the city.
The Beatles’ stay at the Maharishi’s ashram brought worldwide fame to Rishikesh. See ANDYEDUCATION.COM for education and training in India.
The heart of the city is located in the northeast, in the Swarg Ashram and Lakshman Jula districts, on the opposite bank of the Ganges from the city center.
How to get to Rishikesh
Planes from Delhi arrive at the small Dehradun Airport, located just 15 kilometers from Rishikesh.
From Delhi to Rishikesh can be reached by car. The journey will take approximately six hours and will cost from INR 4,000 for a passenger car to INR 10,000 for an SUV (be sure to choose an air-conditioned car!). Prepaid taxi will cost more if you take it at the airport.
Local rail service connects Rishikesh with Haridwar. Three slow trains run daily. The journey will take approximately an hour.
Quite a few fast trains depart from Delhi to Haridwar, the best of them are AC Special Express, Shatabadi Express, Mussoorie Express, Jan Shatabdi. You can get from Haridwar to Rishikesh by bus (45 minutes and 35-45 INR), by taxi (half an hour and 1000 INR) or with fellow travelers by auto-rickshaw (40 minutes and 30 INR).
Delhi (which is 230 kilometers away) is connected to Rishikesh by a good bus service. The journey will take six to seven hours. A regular bus will cost 240-300 INR, and an air-conditioned bus will cost 470 INR. You can get to Rishikesh by bus from Jaipur, Pushkar and Varanasi.
The bridges of Rishikesh, the original centers of the spiritual and cultural life of the city, can be reached by auto-rickshaw (for 10 INR), other trips around the city will cost about 40 INR. In principle, the city is located quite compactly and you can get around it on foot.
Cuisine and restaurants of Rishikesh
For tourists who come to improve their body or do yoga, light Ayurvedic cuisine is an ideal option. Many fruits, nuts and pastries are sold on the streets. The local papaya is especially good. And of course, in the cafe you will find many delicious dishes of both northern and southern Indian cuisine.
Rishikesh is a vegetarian city.
Although, of course, for tourists, especially in Lakshman Jhula, there are many restaurants serving traditional cuisine. Sitting in a cafe is a local tradition. Masala and Ayurvedic teas are drunk here. Alcohol is also prohibited in the holy city!
The popular Mukti’s Health Food (near Jhula Shivanand Bridge) offers the famous green pasta, frozen yogurt, apple pie and chocolate cake for dessert.
Authentic organic food can be obtained in the calm and spacious Shiva-resort. Chotiwala at Swarg Ashram specializes in authentic Indian cuisine, there are five types of thalis on the menu, and lunch will cost you 120 INR. Ganga Ayurvedic Food Place always has delicious breakfasts and a large selection of good salads.
If you miss European cuisine, you can visit Little Italy at the Swarg Ashram, where they cook pasta and pizza, or Moon Dance Café, which, in addition to local culinary delights, offers Italian, Mexican and European cuisine.
Like any other tourist town associated with religious shrines, Rishikesh offers bronze statues of Indian deities, aromatic oils, religious paraphernalia and ethnic clothing. Prices, compared to other tourist sites in India, are low. You can also buy Ayurvedic and natural preparations here.
Entertainment and attractions of Rishikesh
Triveni Ghat is the embankment of the Ganges, richly decorated with statues of Indian deities. Indian adepts conduct ceremonial mass bathing here (in the morning and in the evening), in which thousands of people participate. It is good to meditate and indulge in relaxation here – the opposite side of the Ganges is not built up, and you can admire the mountain landscapes.
Gita Bhavan – the place where guru Shri Ram Sukh Daashi practiced is extremely popular with Indians. Twice a year, followers gather in the ashram for a joint reading of the Ramayana.
Ashram Swarg is located at the foot of the Himalayas on the left bank of the Ganges between Rishikesh and Lakshman Jhula. This picturesque area has the largest concentration of ashrams. The well-known place, mentioned in historical and religious sources, is famous for the fact that great yogis and sidhus have come here for a long time. The Shri Raghunatji Temple at Lakshman Jhula is a grandiose 13-story building dedicated to numerous gods.
In search of enlightenment, adepts without fail plunge into the Ganges, however, they say that the waters of this river have healing properties that apply to non-believers.
People come to the ashrams of Rishikesh to study yoga and Hindu philosophy. The resort destination in the city is represented by numerous Ayurvedic centers, where you can rejuvenate your body with the help of healthy eating, meditation and massage.
Rafting on the Ganges is popular among lovers of more mundane entertainment. The best time for rafting is September-November and March-May. The rafting continues for several kilometers, along the way there are rapids from the first to the fifth level of difficulty. You can also go rafting down the Ganges. Especially exciting is the trip, which includes an overnight stay on the banks of the river.
In the vicinity of Rishikesh, there are opportunities to go rock climbing and diving, both in classical form and on an elastic band (however, in this case you will not fall into the water). Trekking of varying difficulty is also one of the main attractions of Rishikesh.
You can go to one of the places in the neighborhood: Shivpuri, located 10 kilometers from Rishikesh – a famous rafting and trekking center, or Rajaji National Park, which is 20 minutes by car.