Surrounded by the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas on three sides, Rishikesh sits on the banks of the holy river Ganga in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
In Hindi, ‘Rishi’ means the sage, and ‘kesh’ means hairs, so the word ‘Rishikesh’ is translated to ‘the hairs of sages.’
Rishikesh is one of the holiest places in Hinduism, and that is the reason why so many domestic and international travelers visit it to quench their thirst for spirituality.
The city is well-known as the ‘Yoga capital of the world.’ Rishikesh guides you on the path of yoga and meditation and this specialty of this city drew The Beatles to its ashrams.
If the perfect amalgamation of spirituality, hospitality, and the adventurous trip is what you long for, then Rishikesh is a perfect destination for you.
This Rishikesh travel guide is everything you were looking for to know the hermit’s hermitage.
Without any fluff, let’s get into it.
Here’s what’s covered in this Rishikesh travel guide:
- How to get to Rishikesh?
- Sights to see in Rishikesh
- Hotels to stay in Rishikesh
- Food to eat in Rishikesh
- Markets to shop in Rishikesh
- Festivals to enjoy in Rishikesh
How to Get to Rishikesh
Dehradun Airport (DED), also known as Jolly Grant Airport, is 35 km away from the city of Rishikesh and is situated in Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand.
Flights from New Delhi and Lucknow land here and the major carriers are Air India, Spice Jet, and Jet Airways.
Though there is a Rishikesh Railway Station (RKSH), few trains are operated here. So, it is suggested to head to Haridwar Railway Station (HW) which is nearly 25 km away from the city.
Haridwar Railway Station is well-connected to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kolkata, etc., and is one of the major railheads in the district of Haridwar.
You will easily get taxis, cabs, or buses from the station to your destination.
Roads of Rishikesh are well-connected to Haridwar, Dehradun, and New Delhi, so there is no need to panic.
You can choose from the luxury and normal buses which depart in the morning or evening from the Maharana Pratap ISBT Kashmiri Gate in Delhi.
Spectacular Sights to See in Rishikesh
Connecting the two villages of Rishikesh, Tapovan and Jonk, Laxman Jhula or Lakshman Jhula is an iron suspension bridge over the Ganges.
This 137-meter-long bridge is considered one of the most photographed spots all over the state of Uttarakhand.
This bridge takes its name from a legend where the younger brother of Lord Rama, Lakshman, crossed the river with jute rope once, which is why it is located close to the river.
2 km away from Lakshman Jhula, you will find another iron suspension bridge called Ram Jhula which connects Sivananda Nagar to Swargashram.
Ram Jhula is smaller than Lakshman Jhula and occupies less space. It is also a photographer’s paradise but less famous than the Lakshman Jhula.
Parmarth Niketan Ashram
Holding the status of the largest ashram in Rishikesh, Parmarth Niketan Ashram is located in the lap of the great Himalayas and not very far from the banks of the river Ganga.
The Ashram has over a thousand rooms and vegetative gardens where you will find religious paintings and sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses.
Here you get to learn various types of yoga including Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Yoga Nidra. Other activities are bhajans, kirtans, morning prayers, meditation, and spiritual sessions.
Trimbakeshwar or Trayambakeshwar Temple is situated near the famous Lakshman Jhula (on the Jonk village-end).
The word ‘Trayambakeshwar’ translates ‘the house of three-eyed’ and that is none other than Lord Shiva.
The temple is a 13-storeyed building and Lord Shiva is sitting on the top floor. Because of 13 floors, this temple is also known as the 13 manzil temple.
The specialty of the Trayambakeshwar temple is that it is the part of ‘Char Dham Yatra’ of Uttarakhand and is also one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
The Beatles Ashram
One of the reasons, the city of Rishikesh, is popular all over the world is the visit of The Beatles to it in 1968.
They were here to take a meditation session and post-meditation created their best works. They lived here in this ashram which is also known as ‘Chaurasi Kutiya.’
The Beatles Ashram is situated on the eastern bank of Ganga.
The biggest and most famous ghat of Rishikesh is Triveni Ghat. Pilgrims come here to wash off their sins in the flowing water of the river Ganga.
Hindus also visit this place to perform the end rituals of their family members.
What attracts tourists and locals to the Triveni Ghat is the Ganga Aarti (worship of the river Ganga). It is a must-see if you are in Rishikesh; don’t miss the worship of Ganga in the evening as the sun faded on the horizon.
Locals consider Rishi Kund, a natural hot spring pond, as a sacred body of water. The pond supposedly became wet for the first time when a sage obtained the River Yamuna’s blessing.
The Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet here, and locals believe that Lord Rama bathed there while he was in exile.
Whatever the veracity of the story, you cannot but notice the tranquility of the pond while you are here.
Shree Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a Lord Shiva temple, a popular Hindu pilgrimage site 32 km away from the city of Rishikesh and situated in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.
The architecture of the temple is Dravidian-styled.
The legend is that during Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean between gods and devils), when the venom came out, Lord Shiva drank that at the same place where the temple is today.
After drinking the venom, Lord Shiva’s throat became Neela (blue) in color, and then he got the name Neelkanth. So, this is the temple of Neelkanth.
Where to Stay in Rishikesh
It’s evident that if you have made a plan for Rishikesh then you will be there for a couple of days. Below are some of the best hotels in Rishikesh to stay in while you are on your trip.
Let’s start with budget hotels which will probably charge you around a thousand rupees and the hotels that make up this list are Soul Haven, The Sweven, Hotel The President Rishikesh, etc.
Travelers with a budget within the range of Rs 3000-5000 can go for Swiss Cottage by Oscenox, The Hideaway Bedzzz, Hotel Rishikesh Grand, and Shivansh Inn Resort.
Want to taste the richness of Rishikesh? Then book a room in Ganga Kinare, Anand Kashi, Sterling Palm Bliss, or Lemon Tree Premiere.
What to Eat in Rishikesh
As you know, Rishikesh is one of the most sacred cities in Hinduism, and to maintain the divine aura of the city, consumption of non-vegetarian food is not allowed here.
So, forget that you will get served meat in any of the restaurants here. But, you can’t forget the opulence of Indian cuisine, most of which is vegetarian.
Any restaurant is a good choice here in Rishikesh, so you can go to your nearby hotel.
But what is must-eat is the street food. Your trip is incomplete without having a taste of Aloo Puri, Masala Chai, Dosa, Chhole Bhature, and Pani Puri.
Where to Shop in Rishikesh
As a traveler, mementos are the only way to revisit a place or region without going there. People who love to shop the local handicrafts or artworks know it well.
So, to ease your shopping we have listed some of the famous markets in Rishikesh where you can buy souvenirs and other things and check your bargaining skills.
Lakshman Jhula Market
Being a popular tourist spot, Lakshman Jhula Market is one of the best shopping places in Rishikesh.
The multicolored bags and clothes hanging over at the entry of the shops invite you to check their prices. Other than them you will find medicines, ayurvedic oils, and jewelry here.
Ram Jhula Market
Ram Jhula Market is a bit smaller and more traditional than Lakshman Jhula Market. It is situated nearby Ram Jhula.
Here you will find shops selling religious items, religious books in Hindi, tourist apparel, yoga-related items, clothes, jewelry, and gemstones.
Rishikesh Main Market
As the name of the market tells you much about it, it’s the main market of the city and is situated near Triveni Ghat.
Popular among the residents, Rishikesh Main Market sells curtains, bedcovers, kitchen products, clothes, and edibles also.
Products here are cheaper than at the Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula Market.
Garhwal Wool and Craft Shop
Here you will get the finest made woolen clothes in the city of Rishikesh as they are made of the original Garhwali wool.
You can shop the Garhwali woolen clothes including but not limited to varieties of saris, bedsheets, kurtas, yoga mats, and beautiful handicrafts.
Sudha Chandran Mahal
Sudha Chandran Mahal is one of the markets where you can buy real rudrakshas. Not just rudraksha, but tulsi chains and semi-precious stones.
Shop for decorative handicrafts to adorn the walls of your home.
Shri Gandhi Ashram Khadi Bhandar
The colonial-era “khadi revolution” has transformed over time into a fashion trend. This Khadi Bhandar in Rishikesh offers a wide variety of khadi items and garments.
Buy khadi kurtas, jackets, bags, soap, shampoo, and other home decors. To join the khadi revolution, visit Shri Gandhi Ashram Khadi Bhandar.
The Best Shop
Popular among tourists and residents, The Best Shop is certainly the best shop in Rishikesh.
Here you will find varieties of woolen clothes, among them, some are shawls, scarves, sweaters, and pullovers.
Enjoy the Various Festivals in Rishikesh
As Rishikesh is renowned as a Hindu sacred place, you will find all the Hindu festivals celebrated here.
But we also know that the city is also the perfect blend of yogic culture and adventure sports. Having mountain ranges on three sides and the river Ganga on the edge, you can indulge yourself in many adventurous events and activities.
Below is the list of some religious festivals and some adventure festivals.
Also Read: Top 11 Best Hill Stations in Uttarakhand
Ganga Kayak Festival
Ganga Kayak Festival is a competitive event in which kayakers from all over India and abroad take part.
And why not? Kayaking is one of the most popular adventure sports in Rishikesh. The festival, because of the thrill it has, is gradually becoming an international festival.
International Yoga Festival
Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board along with the State Tourism Department celebrates the International Yoga Festival every year in Rishikesh by inviting yoga practitioners from all over the world.
From the reverend and learned yogis and gurus, you get to learn yoga and meditation on the banks of the river Ganga and with the backdrop of the Himalayas.
Basant Panchami is the festival of the goddess Saraswati, goddess of music and learning, in which people worship her and celebrate the event at its best.
In Uttarakhand, it is one of the most celebrated festivals depicting the welcome of the colorful spring season.
Although it is celebrated in many different ways around the country, Holi is primarily a festival of colors that honors the victory of virtue over evil.
Here are a few distinctive and popular ways that people celebrate Holi around the country. The festivities for Holi are known as Kumaoni Holi in Uttarakhand.
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