RISHIKESH is one of the large towns in the state of Uttarakhand in Northern India. It is located at the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. The Ganges or the Ganga river which hold a very important place in the Hindu mythology and also plays a very important role in sustaining the millions of people living in the plains in Northern India, flows right through the town dividing it into two parts.
The town has since times immemorial been occupied by the babas and sadhus (saints) as they offered their daily prayers to the mighty Ganga and lived a life of penance to attain the highest salvation or Moksha according to the Hindu scriptures. It is these sadhus who in ancient times developed the art of YOGA and practised it as a means to live a healthy life both physically and mentally.
A few decades ago, then a small town in itself, RISHIKESH started gaining popularity as more and more people started flowing in as YOGA started getting more popularity in the western world as well. Also the setting of this town in itself is perfect to attain peace and tranquility of the mind and the soul, with the mighty Himalayas on one side and the Ganga flowing through the town. Only sitting besides the river on the Ghats or the beaches and doing nothing gives a sense of calmness which is an experience in itself.
With the growing popularity of this place, there are a lot of activities which have also cropped up which gives so much more to do in this town. There are tons of adventure activities like Bungee Jumping, flying fox, the giant swing and the one adventure activity that Rishikesh is most famous for all over the world - Rafting. Rafting the mighty Ganga with different levels of difficulty depending on your proficiency and the choice of course is one of the best things to do while in Rishikesh. It truly gives you a feeling of how small and inconsequential we are in this world.
Rishikesh also has two beautiful bridges made accross the Ganga which are called the Ram and the Laxman bridges, named after the two protagonists of the famous Hindu Mythology Ramayana since Rishikesh holds a very important part in it.
The best time to visit Rishikesh according to me is in the winters when there are comparatively less number of tourists and the temperatures are mild during the day which is perfect to explore the many things this place has to offer. I myself visited Rishikesh during the end of December from the 29th to the 1st of January to do something different for the New Year.
Rishikesh is easily accessible by various means of transport. The best being flying into the capital city of Uttarakhand located about an hour away and hiring a cab from there to reach Rishikesh. Alternatively, the town of Haridwar which us located 45 minutes from Rishikesh is well connected by trains from most of the major cities in the country.
There are a number of places to stay in and around Rishikesh. From truly Five Star options to meagre ashrams and guest houses. From stays in the mountains to stays on the very banks of the river Ganga. Rishikesh has stays to suit all kinds of travellers arriving on different budgets or needs.