Rishikesh is a land of yoga, temples, ashrams, and adventure. This your ultimate guide to this beautiful region and a great list of what to do in Rishikesh, India.
Famous as the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh, a town of spirituality and adventure has a lot to offer its guests. This beautiful spiritual site of India is situated in the Himalayan foothills beside the Holy River Ganges. The town sees a high number of Hindu pilgrims and even great number of Yogis every year. There are many temples and ashrams that allow you to indulge in yoga and spirituality practices to attain enlightenment. Even the famous Rock Band Beatles visited this town during the 60’s in search of peace and enlightenment. Rishikesh is a place of spirituality and is no less behind when it comes to adventure. There is a lot to see, a lot more to explore and do during a stay in Rishikesh, India.
1. Visit Amazing Pilgrimage Spots For Peace.
Rishikesh is considered as one of the divine and holy places in India. It is the starting point of the Char Dham Yatra, a Hindu Pilgrimage tour where people visit the four holiest places in Uttarakhand, starting from Rishikesh. You can visit the spiritual places like Parmarth Niketan, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Gita Bhawan, Swarg Ashram, Rishi Kund, Kunjapuri Devi Mandir, Raghunath Temple, Beatles Ashram, Sivananda Ashram, Lakshman Temple, and other temples in Rishikesh.
2. Let Adventure fill your soul.
As much as Rishikesh is known for its spiritual practices and yoga, the town is also known as the adventure sports capital of India. River rafting and camping are the most loved and popular activities among the adrenaline junkies. The destination offers adventurous activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping, cliff jumping, trekking, camping and bonfire, rock climbing, kayaking, rappelling, flying fox, mountain cycling, body surfing, etc. The place is dreamy and soul-filling for all the thrill-seekers.
3. Take a holy dip at Triveni Ghat.
Triveni Ghat is famous for the confluence of the three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati that make it really divine. It is believed that taking a holy bath at the Triveni Ghat can relieve a person from all the sins and purify the soul. The ghat is also famous for the evening Maha Aarti.
4. Yoga retreat for balancing the body and mind.
India is the birth land of yoga and Rishikesh is the yoga capital of the globe. Yoga is India’s biggest gift to the world. The Beatles visited the place years ago for seeking spirituality and enlightenment through meditation and yoga and contributed to making transcendental practice famous across the globe. The town is renowned for meditation and yoga practices and learning. Many yoga enthusiasts from across the globe land at the divine land of Rishikesh every year for a yoga retreat and yoga teacher training.
5. Ayurveda therapy for relaxation.
Not only famous for yoga and meditation teaching; Rishikesh is a holy grail for Ayurveda practice and therapies as well. There are many ashrams and Ayurvedic centers that are renowned for Ayurvedic therapies and treatments for both rejuvenating and healing purposes. Rishikesh is an ideal destination to find tranquillity for the body, mind, and soul. You can also visit the Ayurveda centers to learn about the science and its practices at a professional level.
6. Experience Blissful Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Ghat.
Another thing that Rishikesh is famous for is its ‘Ghats’. Triveni and Parmarth are the most popular ones. While Triveni is known for the confluence of the three holy rivers and Maha Aarti, Parmarth is famous for Meditation and Yoga practices. The Ghat is best known for its Ganga Aarti that offers one spectacular sight to capture forever. The aura during the Aarti is positive, pleasant, and amidst the mantra chanting, you feel calm within.
7. Savor Delectable Food.
Food and hygiene add to the fondness of a place and Rishikesh has it all. In Rishikesh, you find vegetarian and non-alcoholic food and beverages. You can taste and enjoy sattvic, vegan and continental food in this beautiful place. You can relish the flavors of North Indian cuisine and can try the delectable street food like moong dal chilla, lassi, samosa, and masala chai. All foodies must visit Chotiwala, a famous age-old run family business to taste fabulous food. You also find a Chotiwala pandit all dressed up and sitting outside the food joint. Cafes like Bistro Nirvana, Ira’s Kitchen & Tea Room, The Sitting Elephant, Little Buddha Cafe, etc., are the perfect places where you can get both Indian and Continental cuisines.
8. Go on a shopping spree.
The flea or local markets of Rishikesh is a must visit. Here, you can buy semi-precious stones, pearls, beads and shells, wall paintings, wooden craft work, handcrafted items, etc. The bazaar is loaded with a huge range of Indian wear, rugs, and handlooms. You can also buy items and souvenirs from government-approved craft shops or Khadi Bhandar. Being a holy place, you find many religious and spiritual products as well as statues, incense, religious paraphernalia, clothes, etc., at affordable prices.
9. Relish The Serene Beauty.
After going through all these points you must have realized how colorful and beautiful this place is, and nature’s beauty adds more charm to it. Situated in the Himalayan foothills with the Holy River Ganges lining it, Rishikesh is surrounded by nature’s beauty and serenity. You can enjoy the scenic view while having a cup of tea and have a really soul-soothing experience.
10. Places To Visit
There are many more places to explore and visit in Rishikesh. You can take a tour of this beautiful region starting from the Ghats to the temple, and the Ashrams to the markets. You can also visit places like Rajaji National Park, Ram Jhula, and Lakshman Jhula.
Rishikesh is a blend of adventure, health, and spirituality, a rare blend that is hard to find that provides complete harmony. The place offers splendid experiences and tempts to visit the divine land again and again.
WHEN TO VISIT RISHIKESH
The best time to visit Rishikesh is from Feb- April & Sept to Oct. The summers are extremely hot and during the rainy season, the water level will be quiet high so rafting won’t be an option.
If you enjoyed this article about What to do in Rishikesh: A Guide to this Beautiful Region, you’ll also love How to Prepare for Travel to India for The First Time.
Traveling To Rishikesh Soon? Here are a few tips:
How to get there: You can reach Rishikesh by train, bus, private car hire or plane. Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport to Rishikesh which is approximately 22 miles away. The next closest airport is in Delhi, which is a 5.5 hour bus or car ride. Haridwar is the nearest railway station to Rishikesh.
Where to stay: There are many places to stay in Rishikesh country as well as in India. There is a wide range of hotels, from budget to luxury. For a luxury hotel that won’t break the bank, I recommend the Aloha On The Ganges by Leisure Hotels which is currently the #1 hotel on Tripadvisor. For a mid-level hotel, I suggest the EllBee Ganga View. Finally, for a budget hotel, try the Hotel Yog Vashishth. You can also check HotelsCombined for the best Rishikesh Hotel Rates.
What to pack: Summers are extremely hot in Rishikesh. I visited in May and was very happy to have a light down jacket, loose t-shirt light pants and comfortable pair of sandals. Don’t forget to bring Sunscreen and Sunglasses!
Rishikesh Trip Essentials
6 Indispensable Items to Pack for a Rishikesh Vacation
- Get the Lonely Planet India Travel Guide.
- Bring a good quality mirrorless camera for getting those beautiful Rishikesh landscape shots. I use the Sony Alpha a6000 .
- Summers are hot in Rishikesh, so make sure to bring Neutrogena Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 45
- A great cross body travel bag. Cross body bags prevent theft and are much easier to access.
- Don’t forget sunglasses for the beautiful sunny days. A.J. Morgan Unisex Sunglasses are a great choice and very affordable!
- You’ll want some great walking shoes for Rishikesh. I love Keen, they are so comfortable and a great shoe for summer trips to Rishikesh. Here is a great option for women, and here is a great shoe option for men.
Read More About Rishikesh, India
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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Author Bio: Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India. He loves writing and reading the books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas. You can learn more about Manmohan Singh at rishikulyogshala.org