Bedecked on the star studded banks of river Ganges, the holy city of Rishikesh is an abode to the hermits, a wonderland to the wanderers and a fantasy for the free spirits that create rainbows here with their colourful conscience. The name Rishikesh literally means the ‘locks or hairs of a sage’. It is said that many great sages and hermits have meditated in the serene environs of Rishikesh. Lying on the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is one of the famous tourist attractions and a pilgrimage centre for the Hindus.
Famously known as ‘The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’, Rishikesh is the starting point for travelling to Chota Char Dham pilgrim sites namely Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. The devout city garners a different aura each time, sometimes it’s flooded with the pilgrims, the other times it’s accentuated by the foreign soaking the cultural diversity of this lively town.
Why Rishikesh isn’t just ‘Basic’?
The celestial city of Rishikesh is hailed as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. One can see several yoga/meditation centres and spas here, giving you an exotic experience in the sanctity of gurgling Ganges River. The city is famous for attracting the adventure enthusiasts for having a thrilling river rafting experience at the roaring Ganga River. Adventure activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, hiking, rappelling, cliff climbing, rock climbing, flying fox, bungee jumping, camping and trekking can be experienced here.
Why you should plan a Dehradun to Rishikesh trip?
It won’t be wrong to say that visiting Rishikesh is a value for money trip. Here you can enrapture in the holiness by paying obeisance at the popular Hindu shrines such as Neelkanth Mahadev, Vashishtha Gufa, Shatrughna Mandir, Bharat Mandir and Lakshman Mandir. Those looking for peace and tranquillity can pay a short visit to Swargashram, Sivananda Ashram or visit the Divine Life Society formed by the great Hindu philosopher, Swami Vivekananda.
The tourists can also see the two ginormous suspension bridges called Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula. You can perform the evening Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat and if you are a Beatles fan then you can visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram aka the ‘Beatles Ashram’, where the fab five attended a session of transcendental meditation.
Famous legend related to Rishikesh
A famous Hindu legend states that a sage called Raibhya Rishi performed a serious penance on the holy banks of Ganga. Pleased by his faith and devotion, Lord Vishnu blessed him in his ‘Hrishikesh’ avatar meaning the ‘Lord of Senses’ in Sanskrit. From then onwards the place came to be known as Hrishikesh, another name for Lord Vishnu. However, the city was later re-named as Rishikesh.
Best Time to Visit
Rishikesh remains hot during summers so early March to April to the first week of May is a good time to explore the city. But if you want to have an adrenaline-pumping river rafting experience then visiting in late September-October to mid-November is the best.
How to reach Rishikesh
Rishikesh at 3,56 metres sprawls over Muni ki Reti ‘Sands of the Sages’. It is located at a distance of 236 km from Delhi, 45 km from Dehradun and only 20 km away from Haridwar. There are direct buses running from Delhi to Rishikesh that can be taken from ISBT, Kashmiri Gate. Rishikesh is well connected by metalled roads and trains are frequent to Rishikesh. The nearest air connectivity is Jolly Grant airport at 21 km away in Dehradun. Taxis to Rishikesh are easily available from the airport.