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Rishikesh


The Gateway to the Himalayas, Rishikesh is a scenic settlement in the northern state of Uttrakhand in India. A synonym to paradise, the town is a treat for those taking Chardham Yatra from Haridwar. Resting on the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh has plenty of yoga centres located in the town. It is a spectacular way to Chardham for Uttrakhand and is speckled with exotic natural attractions. The blissful town of Rishikesh has many small yet popular pilgrimage spots like Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Vasishtha Caves, Ram Jhula, Lakshman Jhula, Triveni Ghat, and the many Ashrams.

Name Origination
The place was named after Lord Vishnu. Rishikesh (Sanskrit: Hrishikesh) is a name of Vishnu. The merger of two phrases Hrishik (Senses) and Kesh (Lord) makes Hrishikesh.

Religious Significance
Rishikesh is located about 20 km. from the holy city of Haridwar. Glittering like a pearl, the town is surrounded by gorgeous hills on the deuce-ace sides with holy Ganga flowing through it. The place holds utmost religious significance, especially for Hindus. The epitome of purity and peace, pilgrim considers Rishikesh as the entrance to heaven. Hindus strongly believe that a dip in the holy River Ganga leads to acquirement of salvation (Moksha). It is a popular belief that going for a Chardham darshan at least once in a lifespan is a requisite for every Hindu.

Rishikesh has been a part of Kedarkhand (Garhwal now), which holds a lot of religious significance among Hindus. It is conceived that Lord Rama repented here for killing the demon King Ravana. The town also has a place worshipped by pilgrims called ‘Lakshman Jhula.’ Fables state that Lakshmana (younger brother of Lord Ram) crossed the Ganges using a jute rope to reach a point where the present Lakshman Jhula stands.

The town is not only renowned as pilgrimage center linked with the Ramayana, but also is significant as a great Yoga center. There are many ashrams and meditation centers in the town. A 120 year old spiritual institution – Kailas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham, is visited by numerous tourists and intellectuals every year. The institution maintains and promotes the traditional Vedantic Studies.

How to Reach Rishikesh?
The holy town is accessible by Road, Rail, and Air.

  • By Air : Rishikesh is easily accessible by air from Delhi. The town is located close to Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport (approx 20 km.). Chardham Yatra by helicopter is also a convenient via helipads at Dehradun.
  • By Road : Rishikesh is accessible by road from most North Indian cities. One can reach Rishikesh road from Dehradun which is about 45 km. away. Many private tour operators provide Chardham yatra package, which generally includes to and fro transfers too.
  • By Rail : Rishikesh is well-connected by rail. Regular trains are available from Delhi, Mumbai, Jammu & Kashmir, and Haridwar etc. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh Railway Station.

Best Time to Visit Rishikesh
The weather is pleasant throughout the years, so one can visit Rishikesh in any season. However, the best season to witness its splendour is between May to November.

Useful information for Pilgrims
Winters are extremely cold in Rishikesh; therefore you must carry woollen clothes and winter shoes to keep your body warm. There are many hotels and guest houses in Rishikesh, choose depending upon your budget and requirement. It is highly recommended to book hotel rooms in advance especially in peak seasons. Pre-booking of rooms can help you avoid the difficulty of non-availability of rooms.

Activities to Try in Rishikesh
Renowned as the holy town of India, Rishikesh is not limited to natural and religious attractions. The town is becoming popular for water-sports activities like white water rafting (best time – March-April), kayaking, etc. Rishikesh is the first and only bungee jumping camp in India. Don’t forget to try some of the adventurous activities like bungee jumping, backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, etc. A rejuvenating experience of yoga centres is also a tourist attraction.

Places to Explore in and around Rishikesh
Awe-inspiring views, beautiful natural landscape, and notable historical and spiritual attractions are what you will experience on your way to and in Rishikesh. Some of the most popular places to visit in the town include:
  • Lakshman Jhula : Built in 1939 by British, the place holds religious importance for pilgrims. Lakshman Jhula is a point where Lord Rama’s younger brother said to have crossed the Ganges on a jute rope. Inspired by Lakshman Jhula, some Indian architects built Ram Jhula. The place is ornamented with temples, bathing ghats, crowded cafes, and glittering bazaars (markets).
  • Bharat Mandir : Considered as the sacred place by pilgrims, Bharat Mandir is the ancient temple nestled in the heart of the city. The town is famous for this temple. On the propitious day of Basant Panchami in about 789 AD, Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharyara reinstalled the holy deity in the temple. The temple found mention in the popular holy scripts like Mahabharat, Shrimadbhagwat Gita, Vaman Puran, etc.
  • Triveni Ghat : The sacred Ghat is packed daily with thousands of pilgrims in the morning and evening, who believe that a dip in the holy Ganga leads to acquirement of salvation (Moksha)
  • Parmarth Niketan : One of the rare places in India where kids acquire the Vedas education, Parmarth Niketan is visited by hundreds and thousands of pilgrims to witness the glittering ghat and evening Arti at 5pm in winter and 6pm in summer.
  • Trayambakeshwar Temple : A 13 storey high temple, Trayambakeshwar Temple has a collection of different Hindu deities. The temple is positioned on the banks of Ganges surrounded by spectacular natural beauties.
Rishikesh has many other wonderful attractions like Swarg Ashram, Neelkanth Mahadev Mela & Temple, Kaudiyala, Rishikund and Raghunath Temple, and many others. Surrounded by magnificent attractions, Rishikesh is truly a paradise on earth!

 

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