It’s the perfect place to pray and play! A place for parents to relax and unwind while kids get their share of fun and adventure!

Located at the foothill of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is not just one of India’s important pilgrimage centres, but also the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ and a great destination to catch up on adventure sports such as white water rafting, camping, trekking and mountaineering & more.

A famous pilgrim destination in the newly carved state of Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal), it is the gateway to the Himalayas and other pilgrim centers like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Derived from the word Hrishikesh, Rishikesh means ‘he who has conquered his senses’, rishik meaning ‘senses’ while ish meaning ‘master’, this holy land is where the sages and saints of ancient India chose to do their penance, as it was believed that meditation at this place lead to attainment of salvation.

A land also known for its share of legends and myths – according to some legends, Hrishikesh is another name of Lord Vishnu, who is said to have slayed the demon Madhu here. Yet another legend, says that on the advice of the sage Vasishtha, this is the place Lord Rama sought penance after having killed Ravana, while some say that the sage Rabhiya Rishi, after completing his penance on the riverbanks of Ganga, was blessed with the appearance of god Vishnu or Hrishikesh and this is how Rishikesh got its name!

Of the many attractions here some of the notable ones include the Lakshman Jhula, (a 450-feet-long suspension bridge built in 1939 to commemorate the journey of Lakshmana across the river on a jute rope). It is said that the breathtaking scenery of the majestic mountains covering the area and the waters flowing below cannot be viewed anywhere else in Rishikesh.

Believed to be one of the holiest sites in India, the Triveni Ghat can leave tourists mesmerized! Believed to be the place of confluence of three holiest Hindu rivers in India…the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, this Ghat is most frequented by tourists in the mornings who visit it to take a dip in its holy waters, as a dip here is believed to wash away one’s sins. Whilst it is visited by devotees through the day, the Ghat is transformed into an enchanting place during the evenings when vedic chants praising the goddess of River Ganga fill the airs, accompanied with sounds of conchs, presence of priests performing pujas and leaf boats with flowers and lamps immersed into the water as a part of rituals followed here.

Of the temples here one that is a must visit is the Bharat Temple, one of the oldest temples in Rishikesn, built in the 12th century by Adiguru Shankaracharya dedicated to Bharat, the younger brother of Lord Ram. Here the main attraction is an idol of Lord Vishnu carved out of a single Saligram (the divine stone of Mahavishnu).In the inner canopy above the idol is Shree Yantra installed by Adi Shankraya Charya. Old statues, coins, pots and other things have also been discovered here.

For a great view of the place, try the Tera Manzil Temple, a 13 storey temple; it contains sculptures of all the gods and goddesses and an excellent view from the top floor of the temple.

One of the oldest temple complexes in Rishikesh, the Geeta Bhawan is known for its paintings, statues and scenes from the great Indian epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, which adorn its walls.

Another temple with an interesting legend to it is the Nilkanth Mahdeo temple; it is said that this is the place that Lord Shiva drank a venom that came out of the sea during the churning the sea, thus earning the name ‘Neelkanth’, the one with blue neck.

One of the most renowned temple complex and ashrams here is Parmarth Niketan.It organises ‘Ganga Arti’ and Hawan on the Parmarth Ghat every evening and is known for its great work on Hinduism.

A haven for wildlife enthusiasts is the Rajaji National Park just 6 km from Rishikesh, that is home to some exciting wildlife.Animals found here include the tigers, cheetahs, leopards, Sambhar, hog deer, barking deer, bears, hyenas, wild elephants and more. Also home to migratory birds from across the world, it is said one can spot around 400 species of birds from the Himalayas here! Some birds one can look out for here are Sunbirds, Jungle Owlets, Great Hornbills, Red Jungle fowl, and kingfishers.

Being the ‘Yoga capital of the world’, Rishikesh is known for its yoga and Ayurveda that has been practiced since time immoral. Here one can relax in the many resorts and spas practicing Ayurvedaand Naturopathy.

For those who need that dose of adrenalin flowing, try the amazing white water rafting that Rishikesh provides! Beginners need not worry for providing courses for one and all is the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam.

A must try for the thrill it provides, rivers here provide the best rafting opportunities in the world! Besides rafting one can also indulge in some gentle canoeing here, while trekking trips are organised to Binsar and Gopeshwar, and the upper ranges of the Himalayas.

The markets here have something for everyone and everyone’s budget, from accessories to garments, paintings to wooden furniture. Do look out for the carved wooden furniture in particular sold in the bazaars here. Tourists can select from a wide range of carved furniture that include chairs, tables, cradles, stools, or chests. Other items that can be picked here are Rudraksha beads, Ayurvedic medicines, books and clothes of religious importance.

While Rishikesh is mostly accessible by road from almost all the cities and towns in and around it and has its own railhead, the nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun.

A place that gained instant fame back in the 1960s, when The Beatles came to stay with their guru, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, this destination is still known across the globe for its yoga, meditation, ayurveda and white water rafting, and is a perfect place if you’re looking forward to rejuvenating the traditional Indian way!

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