INTRODUCTIONRishikesh has been the centre of spiritual and religious activities since ancient times. This place situated on the right bank of the river Ganga is surrounded on all sides by beautiful hills.Rishikesh is the gateway for pilgrimage to Badrinath and Kedarnath.Rishikesh is also referred as the yoga capital of the world and it houses a number of ashrams offering yoga and meditation courses.
This famous pilgrimage spot is also noted for its traditional and cultural performances, exotic cuisine and many other enriching unique factors which fascinates the tourists coming here giving them a wonderful experience. Its serene and holy atmosphere inspires the pilgrims with pious thoughts. It is around Rishikesh where sages, seers or the rishis and munis in ancient times practiced severe penance and meditation.Rishikesh is also an interesting places for those who adventure as passion for in recent times, it is developing as a place of adventure tourism like white water rafting.
HISTORYThe history of Rishikesh states several mythical stories associated with this place. It was here in Rishikesh a famous saint named Raibhya Rishi performed penance on the banks of the river Ganga.As a reward for his strong penance God Vishnu appeared to him in the form of Hrishikesh and so the place was referred by the name Hrishikesh which later became famous by the name of Rishikesh.God Rama's younger brother Bharat himself has performed deep penance here; that is why even today there stands the Bharat temple after his name.
However Rishikesh became a noted religious pilgrimage place only after the visit of Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century AD who was one of the famous religious leaders of contemporary times. Yet there is another version of history which says that the name Rishikesh is derived from the word Hrishikesh, is another name of Lord Vishnu who killed the demon Madhu here.
LOCATIONRishikesh is located in the northern part of Uttarakhand.
FAIRS & FESTIVALSThe Yoga festivals in Rishikesh are one of the most popular in the country of India. Lectures and yoga lessons are conducted by experts in this field during which yoga teachers from different parts of the country participate and many people come from different parts of the country to attend this. Attending satsangs and meditation sessions also form a major part of the yoga festival in the city of Rishikesh.Ganga Aarti is another religious ceremony celebrated during the yoga festival in Rishikesh.
PLACE OF INTERESTS
TRIVENI GHATThis is a well known bathing ghat on the bank of the Ganga in the city of Rishikesh.In the evening, devotees sing song in adoration to the Gnaga and float in the river with hands full of flowers with lighted eathern lamps. This presents a very enchanting scene of the tourists and devotees. According to the legend, in ancient times, this place was the confluence of three mountain streams and it came to be known as Triveni Ghat.
BHARAT TEMPLEIt is close to triveni ghat, a grand temple of Lord Vishnu. As it was the place of penance of God Ram's younger brother Bharat, it came to be known as Bharat temple. The presiding deity of this temple is Lored Narayana and inscriptions say that this temple was renovated by Shankaracharya, the great theologian of the 8th century.
LAKSHMAN JHULAThis Jhula is built over Ganga enroute from Rishikesh to Devprayag, at a distance of 4kms from Rishikesh.This bridge connects the borders of the areas of Tehri and Pauri.The legend is that Ram Chandraji's younger brother Lakshman performed penance here. After his name this hanging bridge came to be known as Lakshman Jhoola.A grand temple of Lakshman is situated in the vicinity of the bridge. There are many temples nearby which are worth seeing.
RAM JHULAThere is also another suspension bridge across the Ganga which is known as Ram or Sivananda Jhula.
KAILASH NIKETAN TEMPLECrossing Lakshman Jhula, the main temple you will see is Kailash Niketan Temple. It is a 13 storey structure slightly different from regular temples. The temple has sculptures of all the gods and goddesses.
NEELKANTH MAHADEVThis place is 12kms away from Rishikesh on foot but by road it is at a distance of 38kms.The legend is that after taking poison found as a result of churning of the ocean, God Shankar's troat turned blue and that is why the God Neelkanth was installed here.
The devotees visit this place throughout the year but during the whole month of Shravan the temple is thronged by tourist and devotees.
KUNJAPURI TEMPLEThis temple of Goddess Durga is situated on a hill at a distance of 25kms.On foot it is 05kms away from Narendranagar township and at a distance 03kms from the Hindolakhal bus stand. There is a road for jeep and taxi to reach the temple from this place.
Panoramic views of the Rishikesh valley and the snow clad Himalayan peaks can be seen.
OTHER PALCE OF ATTRACTION
RAJAJI NATIONAL PARKThe Rajaji National Park sprawls over an area of 820.42 sq. km along the foothills of Shivalik ranges. The Rajaji National Park was established in the year 1983 by amalgamating three wildlife sanctuaries namely Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla.The Rajaji National Park is rich in fossils which include both its flora and fauna thus giving a lot of opportunities to wildlife and nature lovers.
GITA BHUVANThis newly constructed building is famous for its attractive paintings and statues from the Hindu mythology. Situated just across the Lakshman Jhula.
SWARGA ASHRAMOne can find numerous temples here. This place has the eating joints and shops where one can do shopping. The beautiful statues in the area mesmerise the visitors.
ACTIVITIESPeople coming here apart from pilgrimage can also indulge in activities like trekking, rafting and yoga. Yoga is primarily a philosophical science, born out of man's need to fathom the meaning of existence. Patanjali, the father of yoga, states in the second sutra "Yoga is the cessation of consciousness." The ultimate aim of yoga is self-evolution. In ancient times, when people lived the yogic way, good health was the natural result of their lifestyle. But, as health deteriorated with man's changing values, yoga gained ground in its use as therapy.Rishikesh being the yoga capital of the country there are number of yoga centres teaching yoga. All most all the tourist coming here benefit by these yoga training centres.
SHOPPINGIt is quite interesting to shop in Rishikesh for its uniqueness.Rishikesh is noted for its Shekhawati paintings and miniatures which are available in the "Open Air Art Gallery". The other items in the shopping list includes carved wooden furniture, semi-precious stones, astrological stones, Ayurvedic medicine, medicinal plants, woolens, and junk jewelery.Some of the few reliable shops in Rishikesh are government approved handloom shop, khadi bhandar, Garhwal wool and craft shop.
near Swarg Asharm
2.Little Buddha Cafe
Near Laxman Jhula
4.Devraj Coffee Corner
On the Lakxman Jhula
Lakshman Jhula main street
Kailash Gate Mini Ki Reti,
249192 0135 2442345
2.Raj Resort Badrinath road Tapovan,
3.Ganga Kinare Hotel
16, Virbhadra Road,
Uttaranchal 0135 2435243
4.Raj Palace Hotel
Opposite Geeta Bhawan
No. 3, Behind Parmarth Niketan,
Uttaranchal 0135 2440079
5.Hotel The Great Ganga
India 0135-2442243 , 2438252
6.The Narayana Resort & Spa
Uttarakhand 249192 0135 2442290
23rd Milestone Rishikesh-Badrinath Road,
Village & P.O. Gular-Dogi District Tehri Garhwal-249303,
8.Haveli Hari Ganga
House 21 Ramghat,
Uttar Pradesh 01334 226443
Laxman Jhula Road,
0135 - 2442080
10.Explore Himalayas Resorts
Uttaranchal 249303 09212514779
GETTING THEREThe nearest airport from Rishikesh is Jolly Grant airport on route to Dehradun, 18 kilometres from here. Indian airlines connect Dehradun to Delhi, some chartered planes also operate from here. BY RAIL
Rishikesh is connected by rail via Haridwar (24 km) to Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun and other cities. BY ROAD
To commute within Rishikesh there are tongas, taxis and rickshaws available. Whereas from other cities and states buses are operated by state transport corporations and private operators (deluxe, semi deluxe coaches) are available for Rishikesh. Apart from that one can also hire private vehicles to get there.