As soon as you step foot into this holy city you will witness a truly serene scene. The tall mountains peaking in the background as the sacred river flows through the town. The Ghats crowded with people and the cafes bustling with noise.
On the right side, you will find someone performing Yoga and on your left a priest chanting the name of God. There will be some people batting the river in a raft, whereas others living a humble day in an ashram. This is the story of Rishikesh.
The pious town of Rishikesh is located in the beautiful state of Uttarakhand. Like every other state in Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is also nestled amid amazing natural beauty. It is like mother nature herself has descended here.
Yet, there is something in the air in Rishikesh which makes it so special. For some this smell is of the incense sticks, for others, it is of the many flowers laden on the Ghats. No matter what it is, a Rishikesh Tour is something that should be on your bucket list.
Yet planning a tour in Rishikesh is not easy. With so much to do it can get confusing especially if you have limited time. Thus, here is an entire guide of the most beautiful and must-visit places in Rishikesh that will just make your Rishikesh even more magical:
The Tale Of The Two Bridges
Rishikesh is known for its two iconic bridges called the Ram Jhula and the Lakshman Jhula. These wonderful bridges are surrounded by some of the most happening locales in Rishikesh. From Yoga centers to little cafes you will find everything in this tiny place.
These bridges are so popular that several Bollywood films have also been shot here. This area is also frequented by pilgrims and it is almost impossible to find the footbridge empty. To cross the Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula you can simply walk.
You can also take a boat ride if you do not wish to walk on the bridges. Both boating and walking have their charm, and if you could do both then you will get the real essence of Rishikesh.
The entire stretch from Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula is also bustling with shops. Your Rishikesh Tour will be incomplete if you don’t experience the cacophony emanating from the shops.
A Spiritual Affair
If you are in Rishikesh then you must witness the breathtaking Ganga Aarti that takes place in the evening. Rishikesh itself is an extremely holy place, thus undoubtedly the Aarti is a spectacle.
To watch this wonder in front of your eyes in your Rishikesh Tour, reach the Parmath Niketan Ghat by 6:30 pm. You see people in colorful dresses, sadhus in their world offering flowers to river and Goddess Ganga.
After that, as the sun comes down and the moon is ushered the entire river gets filled with little lighted diyas. As the diyas float away, it feels as if the entire river is covered with stars from the sky. It is divine.
The Aarti has become a marvel, and thousands of people gather every day to watch it unfold. From the lighting of diyas to the priest chanting the mantras, from the people swaying to the magic to the smoke emanating from the incense sticks- everything is mystical here.
The crowd itself gets so into the whole proceeding so you will also feel like tapping to the beat and you will find yourself entering into a magical trance.
You can also attend the Aarti at the Triveni Ghat.
Walk Down The Abbey Road
No, there isn’t an Abbey Road in Rishikesh as well, but there is a Beatles Ashram here. The Beatles had visited Rishikesh in the 1960s, which made the world take note of Rishikesh. They allegedly stayed at an isolated ashram which has now been transformed into a type of museum.
The ashram is filled with graffiti and paintings of the Beatles, and it feels as if it is a trip down the memory lanes. The artwork is fantastic and you can take several quirky pictures here.
There are also many meditation caves and isolated areas where you can sit and practice meditation! Imagine walking and sitting at the same place where The Beatles once roamed.
The Ashram is now located in the Rajaji National Park, and if you want to find some rhythm in your Rishikesh Tour then you must visit this place.
Taming The Great Wild Currents
While Rishikesh is known for its peaceful Yoga Ashrams and wonderful scenic beauty, there is also another wild side of Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is heaven for adventure lovers and there are many adventure sports that you can do when you are here.
One of the most popular and sought after adventure sport is White River Rafting. This thrilling activity will take you through some of the craziest rapids. You will also be passing through the wonderful Shivalik Mountains if you can keep your eyes open.
This is also one of the best ways to enjoy the holy Ganga and feel her power.
After you successfully traverse through the rough waters you will finally reach the cliff. This cliff is an add on adventure which you can undertake. From this cliff, you need to jump 40ft into the water. While it might sound terrifying, this experience is truly fantastic.
As you take the jump your entire body starts throbbing as your adrenaline pumps up. Once you jump the air washes past your face and as soon as you hit the cold water you will instantly feel more alive.
These sports will truly make your Rishikesh Tour much more fun and exciting.
There are several other adventure sports that you can partake here in Rishikesh- like Bunjee Jumping, flying fox and many others.
Side note: Make sure to follow all the instructions of your instructor while rafting and cliff jumping. There are several safety precautions that you must follow before undertaking these activities.
Triveni Ghat is truly a mesmerizing sight, especially in the early morning. Come here when the sun has just broken its slumber and is slowly rising. The entire Ghat is silent, and you will just find saints sitting near the river in a trance.
They are either meditating or chanting the name of God. The boat stands still in the silent river and the whole place is just serene. The sun rays slowly cover the entire place in a blooming glow as people start coming out of their homes.
The aroma of the incense sticks will feel up your lungs and your body will feel calm.
Just sit back and observe, in just a few minutes the place will be crowded with people. The silence will be broken by the noise. And in those moments you will be able to engulf the entire essence of Rishikesh.
Get The Ashram Experience
Rishikesh is one of the top places to do Yoga in the whole wide world. Coupled with the fact that it is also extremely sacred, there is no doubt that several ashrams have opened up here.
While you can pretty much get up and practice Yoga anywhere in Rishikesh, staying at an Ashram is different and unique.
You will be able to get away from all the hustle-bustle and learn about humble living. From calming your mind to helping you lead a better life- these ashrams will help you with everything.
After your visit, you will come out as a better, calmer and kinder person. Such is the effect of the ashrams in Rishikesh.
Other Knick Knacks
The Cafe Culture is Rishikesh is quite popular. Try and visit some of the popular joints like Little Buddha or Chillout Cafe to get a feel of this culture.
The place is always flooded with foreigners. You can also try and talk to people from different countries and understand their culture. This will be an enriching experience.
You will always find different Yoga workshops going on in Rishikesh. Try and attend one if you have time.
You can also just rent a bike and unleash yourself into the laps of nature. Rishikesh is a scenic gem. Just zoom through the green mountains and the blue skies and you will feel as if you are in heaven.
Since Rishikesh is a sacred town, you will not get anything non-vegetarian here. You will only get vegetarian food in this town.