Rishikesh Tourism and Travel Guide

Have you noticed that most Rishikesh travel guides have a wealth of information on adventure and spirituality? Some mention the city’s surreal natural beauty while others detail the historic significance but what Rishikesh tourism guides don’t mention enough is the unique and diverse experience that Rishikesh offers. Offering travellers an opportunity to interact with sages, yoga teachers and meditation gurus, the city opens up many worlds. A large number of foreign travellers explore Rishikesh tourism, and this has put this small city in Uttarakhand on the global tourist map. In fact, yoga and Rishikesh are used as synonyms on international travel forums and for good reason. However, if your objective is simply to revel in the bliss that Rishikesh is, you need not research too much. Almost all parts of Rishikesh offer a quiet spot for reflection and it is truly a great holiday destination for those who’d like to take a break from the hustle and bustle of metro life. Owing to the increase in popularity of Rishikesh tourism, the city has evolved as a melting pot for different cultures. But what has remained the same through the years is the warmth that the locals extend. Whether it’s a tourist guide, a restaurant owner or a local you happen to meet – the warmth can be felt through small conversations and extended sightseeing tours alike. For long term travellers, this hospitality shines through in the information that locals openly share.
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Best Time To Visit Rishikesh

We know that timing is critical when we are planning a trip. Whether you choose to travel during the off-season or peak season, you should be aware of the activities available in order to plan your itinerary. While Rishikesh tourism offers a plethora of activities throughout the season, there is a distinct off and peak season. 

 

Uttarakhand faces harsh monsoons and flash floods are always a concern in the region. If you are planning a trip to explore Rishikesh tourism and adventure is on your to-do list, we suggest avoiding the monsoon and planning a trip between September and November. 

 

For trekking and camping in Rishikesh, the best season to plan a trip is between March and June. Rishikesh experiences winter during the months of November and January. Winters here are quite cold and if you are planning a trip during this season, we suggest limiting the number of water-based activities. However, a few treks are limited to the winter season owing to snow-peaked mountains. 

 

For yoga enthusiasts, we suggest visiting Rishikesh in summer, between April and May owing to numerous courses that start during that time. For weekend travellers, winter and summer are an ideal time to explore Rishikesh tourism.

Top Attractions In Rishikesh

Triveni Ghat

Triveni Ghat is the city’s most popular ghats and part of all Rishikesh tourism itineraries. It is popular for the beautiful Ganga aarti that takes place here every evening. Situated close to the market, it is a natural stop for those who want to enjoy the peace and quiet that Rishikesh offers.

The ghat is mentioned in the Indian mythological texts, Ramayana and Mahabharata and that’s another reason for its popularity among Hindus. In a few texts, it is said to be the cremation ground for Lord Krishna. 

 

The ghat is thronged by people between 6 to 7 pm owing to the aarti. However, we recommend coming here early morning or late in the evening when the rush of the day is over and you can enjoy the bliss. There are steps lining the ghat where you can sit and enjoy the evening chants or simply watch the sun go down. Photographers and nature lovers will definitely find themselves attracted to Triveni Ghat considering the surreal views.

 

Beatles Ashram

Before Beatles Ashram gained popularity in Rishikesh tourism itineraries, it was known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram. The popular English band, the Beatles visited the ashram in the 1960s and the ashram has since been known as the Beatles Ashram. While there isn’t much to see, the ashram’s location within Rajaji National Park is what brings nature lovers here. 

 

The route from the main city is picturesque and if you are in Rishikesh for a couple of days, we suggest including the attraction in your Rishikesh tourism itinerary. If you are travelling with a group of friends, we suggest taking the services of a local tour guide who can share information about the local flora and fauna around the ashram. If you are keen to document the stories that make Rishikesh tourism popular, a visit here will be worth effort. 

 

There are short treks and walking trails in the national park that can easily be combined on your visit to explore the Beatles Ashram.

 

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Lord Shiva is revered across the state of Uttarakhand. You will find that the region is dotted with many Lord Shiva temples and all of them are extremely significant for devotees. The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple that is part of Rishikesh tourism is no different. The temple is situated almost 30 km from the city and the best way to reach is by taking a cab. Considering the winding roads that are typical of hilly areas, it can take you anywhere between an hour and 1 hour, 30 minutes to reach the temple. 

 

It would be best to start in the morning if you’d like to include the temple in your Rishikesh tourism itinerary. The temple is said to be the spot where Lord Shiva swallowed the poison that gave him his blue neck. The sacred Shivlinga of the temple is placed in the inner sanctum while the outer structure has elements inspired by Hindu temple architecture. 

 

The temple is thronged by travellers throughout the year but owing to its location, you can find a quiet spot to meditate and enjoy the natural beauty.

 

Kaudiyala

Located almost 40 kilometres from Rishikesh, Kaudiyala is a retreat for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. A long, winding road from the city takes you to this beautiful village. It has gained popularity in Rishikesh tourism as the starting spot for tens of rafting tours that take place here. It is also a popular destination for cliff jumping, bungee jumping and rafting as well as a scenic spot for nature lovers. 

 

Whether you are a photography enthusiast or an adventure lover, chances are that you will include Kaudiyala in your Rishikesh tourism itinerary. The best way to reach Kaudiyala from the main city is by hiring a cab or booking a rafting tour. If you have booked a rafting tour, the private vehicle of the adventure company will take you to the starting point. For those who are visiting Kaudiyala for the views and not the adventure activities, we suggest either driving your own car or bike or pre-booking a taxi in advance. 

 

While there are many rafting routes on the Rishikesh stretch, the one between Kaudiyala and Shivpuri is a favourite since if offers a variety of rapids. While some are difficult to manoeuvre, it certainly adds an extra dose of adrenaline.

Activities And Things To Do In Rishikesh

Adventure sports

Adventure sports are Rishikesh’s claim to fame. In fact, it’s the most popular destination in North India for adventure activities. Whether it is rafting, cliff jumping, trekking or flying fox and rock climbing – Rishikesh is a haven for adventure enthusiasts. 

 

The most important thing that you must keep in mind while planning an adventure-filled trip to Rishikesh is booking your package much in advance. A reliable adventure company also makes a huge difference since the activities demand proper security precautions.

 

Since there are so many activities, it’s best to plan what you’d like to do on your Rishikesh tourism trip. Each adventure activity is time-consuming and can take anywhere between 1 hour and 5 hours. The most popular adventure activity that is part of Rishikesh tourism is rafting. A tiring activity, rafting can take the major part of your day so we recommend not clubbing too many activities on that day. 

 

There are numerous adventure companies that are part of Rishikesh tourism and offer packages that can be customised according to your preference. Some of the popular companies are Red Chilli Adventures, Aquaterra Adventures, White World Expeditions. We also recommend setting aside a budget since adventure activities will be the major expense of your Rishikesh tourism trip.

 

Rafting

Rafting is one of the most popular adventure activities in Rishikesh. In fact, rafting in Rishikesh is an attraction for travellers visiting from across the world. There are four different stretches for river rafting in Rishikesh tourism and they are divided based on distance and grades. 

 

Brahmpuri is 9 km long and has grade II rapids. If you are travelling with children and want to include river rafting in your Rishikesh tourism itinerary, we recommend this lovely stretch. Rafting in Rishikesh is closed from July to September owing to the weather. However, the rest of the year one can enjoy an exhilarating rafting experience. The water is cold in December but you will see adventure enthusiasts taking a plunge nevertheless.

 

The Shivpuri stretch is 16 km long and has grade III rapids. Slightly challenging, it offers an experience that you won’t easily forget. We’d recommend this for those who are trying rafting for the first time. For the more experienced, the 25 km long, Marine Drive stretch is a good option. The rapids here are more advanced and are ideal for your rafting experience in the Ganges. The longest and most advanced stretch is the Kaudiyala route. With grade V rapids, it is challenging and is conducted by professional rafters. Owing to the strong rapids, the stretch is operational between October and May. As soon as monsoon hits Rishikesh, this route is strictly off-limits. 

 

If you are not comfortable with water-based sports and only want to try rafting, we suggest choosing the first or second route. Rafting in Rishikesh will cost you anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1800, depending on the route you choose. 

 

Yoga and meditation

If you are exploring the ‘yoga capital of the world’, you have a range of options for yoga and meditation sessions. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced yoga practitioner, the city has something for you. From day sessions to month-long residential yoga programs, Rishikesh is a retreat for spiritual seekers. 

 

It would be wise to book long retreats in advance since there are a few requirements that participants should meet. However, if you are looking for hourly or day-long sessions, you have a wide array of choices. A yoga and meditation session can take a couple of hours so make sure you have time set aside in your Rishikesh tourism itinerary. Some hotels also offer daily sessions for yoga that are conducted by experienced trainers. We do suggest conducting thorough research before you enrol in short or long-term classes since it’ll give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Trekking and Camping

What can be a better trekking destination than the foothills of the Himalayas? Rishikesh offers trekkers a plethora of opportunities. Treks in Rishikesh and neighbouring areas can vary from one day to five days so it’s best to keep in mind what you are looking for. Rishikesh tourism offers treks around waterfalls in Rajaji National Park as well as challenging routes such as the Neelkanth Mahadev Trek. We recommend choosing treks according to your experience or taking the services of a local guide. If you are trekking within the city and want to stay overnight in a forest, you will have to take prior permission from the authorities or choose a campsite with the requisite permission in place. 

 

Some of the popular treks in Rishikesh are Patna Waterfalls Trek, Kunjapuri Temple Trek, Patna Waterfalls trek and Neer Garh Waterfalls trek. Popular treks in neighbouring areas are Chandrashila Trek, Surkanda Devi Temple trek, Har ki dun trek and the most popular Valley of Flowers trek.



Where To Stay In Rishikesh

From ashrams and dharamshalas to five-star resorts and boutique homestays – Rishikesh tourism offers it all. Like most places in India, Rishikesh welcomes all kinds of travellers and offers activities, experiences and stay according to travel style and budget. If you are a luxury traveller, the city will bedazzle you with river-facing hotels and if you are looking for peace and tranquillity that is often associated with Rishikesh tourism, there are homestays and boutique resorts. In an effort to boost Rishikesh tourism, accommodation options in the city have multiplied. Let’s take a look at some of the best hotels in Rishikesh – across various budget categories. 

 

Luxury hotels in Rishikesh

There are numerous luxury resorts in Rishikesh that offer travellers a variety of packages based on preferences. Most luxury hotels in Rishikesh offer a panoramic view of the river or the forests surrounding the city. Along with a separate sit-out, access to outdoor areas and meals – these hotels are designed to reflect the culture of Rishikesh. Some of the notable luxury hotels in Rishikesh tourism are:

 

  • Ananda in the Himalayas
  • Shaantam Resort
  • Aloha On The Ganges
  • Ganga Beach Resort
  • The Roseate Ganges
    Ellbee Ganga View
  • Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa

 

Mid-budget hotels in Rishikesh

Travellers with a mid-range budget can explore Rishikesh tourism seamlessly. Since it’s a small city, it isn’t too expensive and you can fit in a number of things in a small budget. This holds true for mid-range hotels as well. The hotels offer a spacious room, a few services and a wealth of information. Some of the best mid-budget hotels that are part of Rishikesh tourism are:

  • Ganga Kinaare
  • Neer Ganga Resorts
  • Aranyam River Retreat
  • Yog Niketan By Sanskriti
  • Dewa Retreat - A Himalayan Boutique Hotel

 

Budget hotels in Rishikesh

Despite the fact that budget travellers are restricted by finances, they are free to experience the city like a local. From eating at local restaurants and staying at family-run homestays – budget travellers experience the best of Rishikesh tourism. If you are a budget traveller planning a trip to Rishikesh, here are a few budget hotels:

 

  • Rudram Hotel and Retreat
  • Swiss Cottage and Spa by Salvus
  • 60’s Green Hills
  • Divine Ganga Cottage
  • Rishikesh Valley

 

Hostels in Rishikesh

The increase in backpackers and solo travellers from across the world has led Rishikesh tourism to consider hostels as an accommodation option. With spacious dorms, a cafe, a separate working area, a recreational area and a kitchen where home cooked food is served, hostels have become a life saver for budget travellers exploring Rishikesh tourism. Here are some hostels that you can consider when planning your Rishikesh tourism itinerary.

 

  • Zostel 2.0
  • Soul Haven
  • Shalom Backpackers
  • Namaste by KarwaanLife
  • Tebaars Backpakers

Cuisine And Best Places To Eat

Just like the dialect in India, the cuisine also changes every few kilometres. Every city in Uttarakhand serves pahadi cuisine but the geographical location greatly influences the flavours. The state is divided into Garhwal and Kumaon regions and the food for both districts is starkly different. Rishikesh lies in the Garwhal district and is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Garwhal’. 

 

The local food in Rishikesh is influenced by numerous elements. Since the city sees visitors from across the world, it caters to varying palates. If you are on a culinary tour around the city, you’d be surprised to find perfectly cooked pasta in one cafe and a fulfilling plate of cholle bhature at a local dhaba. A few restaurants also serve the local thali which has dishes that you’ll find in local homes. A typical thali in Rishikesh will have chatpata aloo pithi, bhang chutney, phaanu, Garhwal ka fannah and rice.

 

There are numerous cafes offering Israeli, Chinese and Continental cuisines. If you are craving for a plate of red sauce pasta or fresh hummus and pita bread, you can head to a cafe overlooking the Ganges or find a small cafe in the busy market close to Triveni Ghat. The food isn’t costly and budget travellers can easily experience a memorable culinary journey when exploring Rishikesh tourism. Some of the popular restaurants are Freedom Cafe, German Bakery, Tulsi Cafe, Jal & Jalebi and The Sitting Elephant.

How To Travel In Rishikesh

Rishikesh is centred around Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula. Most hotels are around the main market and travelling in the city is quite convenient. However, if you are staying in a hotel that is away from the city, hotels offer pick up and drop services. 

 

For travellers exploring Rishikesh tourism, it’s best to rent a cab for your sightseeing trips outside the city. For tourist attractions within the city, you can simply walk! Everything is in proximity and you’ll realise that walking is a great activity to keep the winter chill at bay.

 

With respect to public transport, there are local buses, shared autos and shared cabs that work well for budget travellers. If you’d like to have a hassle-free trip exploring Rishikesh tourism, we suggest booking your transport in advance.

Typical Costs In Rishikesh

The season in which you plan your travel, your itinerary and the budget are the three most important things to consider when planning a trip to explore Rishikesh tourism. The city is among the few places that welcome all kinds of travellers and one can have a great trip with varying budgets. If you are a budget traveller, Rishikesh is home to a number of hostels that offer dorms, meal plans and group tours. Luxury travellers, on the other hand, have access to a private car for sightseeing as well as guided tours to local bazaars. Let’s take a look at per day costs when exploring Rishikesh tourism

 

Luxury travellers can expect to spend between Rs 7000 and Rs 12000 per day on their travel, food and activities. This cost is on the higher side considering only top-end restaurants, a private vehicle and personal guided tours. 

 

For mid-budget travellers, this cost can be between Rs 3000 and Rs 5000. The cost will include travel inside and outside the city, sightseeing tours, a few adventure activities, food and any guided tours that you may like to include in your Rishikesh tourism itinerary.

 

Budget travellers can be at peace while exploring Rishikesh tourism since the city has numerous options for food, stay and activities. Budget travellers can opt for group tours, enjoy the food at local restaurants and use public transport for commuting. Staying at a hostel in Rishikesh is another great way for travellers to save money while exploring Rishikesh tourism.

FAQs 

How many days do I need to explore Rishikesh?

Travellers typically need 3 to 5 days to explore Rishikesh tourism. A Rishikesh tourism itinerary for 5 days will cover tourist attractions within the city as well as around. 

 

If you are an adventure enthusiast, you will also be able to include rafting, cliff jumping and a short one day trek in this itinerary. We suggest planning ahead before making bookings for your trip to explore Rishikesh tourism.

 

What are the things I should pack for a trip to Rishikesh

What you need to pack for your Rishikesh tourism trip will depend entirely on your itinerary. If your itinerary is focused on adventure activities, we recommend packing a sturdy pair of shoes, a basic first aid kit, a windcheater and a waterproof bag. If your Rishikesh tourism itinerary is focused on sightseeing, we suggest packing a pair of walking shoes, an umbrella, an overnight bag, prescription medicines, extra cash and sunscreen cream.

 

Suggest three tips for planning a trip to Rishikesh.

If this is your first visit to explore Rishikesh tourism, travel tips are going to come quite handy! The three most important tips that you should keep in mind for your Rishikesh tourism trip are:

  • Carry extra cash, incase the ATMs are not functional
  • Ensure that you make your hotel bookings in advance to save on high prices during peak season
  • Book adventure activities through a reputed adventure company and one that is approved by the local Rishikesh tourism office.

 

Which are the lesser-known places to visit in Rishikesh?

If you are a traveller who enjoys exploring the hidden gems that most tourists don’t visit, Rishikesh tourism will surprise you. But, before we share our list, we do recommend speaking to locals for their favourites since they have a wealth of information to share. Some of the popular off beat places that are part of Rishikesh tourism are Jhilmil Gufa, Vashisht Gufa, Garud Chatti Waterfall and Rishikesh Hot Water Springs.

 

Which are the best homestays in Rishikesh?

The recent decade has seen an increase in Rishikesh tourism’s popularity. This has led to an increase in the number of homestays that offer travellers a unique experience. Warm hospitality, local information and home cooked food are some of the attractive features of homestays. Some of the best homestays in Rishikesh tourism are An Eco Yoga Habitat, Yoga Villa, Ixora Villa, Amrai Homestay and Gungun homestay.

 

Which are the best places to shop in Rishikesh?

The markets in any place offer a peek into the local culture. This holds true for Rishikesh tourism as well. If your holiday is incomplete without shopping, we suggest keeping aside a few hours for shopping in Rishikesh. Some of the popular markets are Shyampur Haat Bazaar, Laxman Jhula Market, Ram Jhula Market and Gole Market.

 

What can I bring back from my Rishikesh trip?

Rishikesh is among the best cities for shopping in India. There is so much to bring back and you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice. Junk jewellery, harem pants, t-shirts with slogans, handmade stationery, incense, old religious texts, sandalwood, precious stones, winter wear, traditional ethnic apparel and perfumes are a few things that you can bring back from your Rishikesh trip.

 

How much does rafting in Rishikesh cost?

The cost of a rafting session in Rishikesh will depend on the season in which you are travelling. September to March is considered to be the peak season for rafting, though December might be a little cold. A rafting session in Rishikesh can cost you between Rs 500 and Rs 1800 per person. This will depend on the route you choose for your session. There are numerous routes starting from Kaudiyala and ending at Laxman Jhula. 

 

Which are the most popular temples in Rishikesh?

Spirituality is a big crowd puller for Rishikesh tourism. Owing to its mention in Indian texts and proximity to Haridwar, it has gained prominence as a holy city. There are numerous temples in the city. While some temples are well known, others are known only to locals but demand reverence. Here are a few temples that you should visit on your Rishikesh tourism trip.

 

  • Triambakeshwar Temple
  • Raghunath Temple
  • Shri Bharat Mandir
  • Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
  • Raghunath Temple
  • Kunjapuri Temple
  • Bhootnath Temple

 

Which are the best tourist places near Rishikesh?

Rishikesh is situated close to numerous destinations that are a wonderful addition to your Rishikesh tourism itinerary. Whether you are looking for a retreat from the hustle and bustle of crowded tourist places or a glimpse of the local flora and fauna – places near Rishikesh offer a bundle of memorable experiences. Here are a few places that you can visit when exploring Rishikesh tourism:

 

  • Rajaji National Park – 19 km
  • Haridwar - 20 km
  • Byasi - 30 km
  • Kanatal - 81 km
  • Chamba - 65 km
  • New Tehri - 76 km

Written by Kirat Sodhi. She is a proud mom of three cats and lives for lemon tea, a good book and spontaneous travel plans.