The city of Rishikesh is one that dwells in the minds of people with different interests.
The city gets its name from a Sanskrit word Hrishikesha which is a name for Lord Vishnu and means 'Lord of The Senses'.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India, it is known as the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’. It is here that the Holy Ganges leaves the Himalayas and enters the plains of Northern India.
Given it's mythological, historical and geographical aspects the city is sure to have a spiritual side to it moreover the holiest river in India flows through this city and the holiest shrines in Hinduism have their gateways in Rishikesh but spirituality isn't the only thing it offers.
Rishikesh has now established itself as a tourist destination for both Indians and foreigners, for people seeking spiritualism, adventure or just a hideout in the most serene of landscapes.
Ever since The Beatles came to this city in the late 60's in search of spirituality Rishikesh has become a magnet for spiritual seekers worldwide.
Today it is called as the 'Yoga capital of the world’. It offers you all kinds of meditation, yoga, healing and everything spiritual.
One can find all kinds of ashrams on the banks of Ganges on the northern side of the town which is devoid of hustle and bustle of city life and is a perfect place to meditate and get in sync with your senses and the Lord.
Most of this is concentrated in and around Swarg Ashram.
For those in quest of something other than spiritualism Rishikesh offers equally well.
Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula in the northern part of city are very popular with back packers, adrenaline junkies and those in search of Himalayan hideout.
Camp the Golf Course
Rishikesh Offers wide range of adventure sports such as white water rafting which offers medium to rough rapis rated class 3 and 4, bungee jumping, trekking, rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking etc. and if you are in Rishikesh camping should be on your itinerary too.
One can also enjoy mountain biking at Mohanchatti which is near Lakshman Jhula.
There are a lot of hotels, lodges and dharamshalas in and around the city and one can choose according to their pockets and duration of stay. But if you are looking for the best of what the city has to offer then you should stick to the north of the city which gives you a cosmo feel and a sense of freedom and spiritualism because of its aura and ambience and a wide variety of crowd from around the world.
It reminds you of hippie culture.
On the banks of The Ganges there a lot must visit cafes: -
Little Buddha cafe, The Beatles cafe, The Moksha cafe, The German Bakery and others.
The majority of cafes on the northern part of the city cater to the needs of the people who fancy the hippie culture and want to feel the freedom that is an integral part of it.
You can see these cafes on the banks of The Ganges beaming with tourist. The cafes around here serve all kinds of food from Israeli to Lebanese, from Thai to Mexican, from Tibetan to Western.
Live Indian music concerts are also organised at regular intervals by locals and tourist alike. These cafes give you a feel of the 60's and are eccentric in many ways one of them even named as 'The Beatles Cafe' after the famous Beatles Band.
The evening Aarti on the banks of The Ganges near Swarg Ashram and Triveni Ghat which is at the heart of the city are very popular among tourist. One can also enjoy leisurely walks on the marine drive which is built along the banks of The Ganges.
There are a lot of Temples and Ashrams and must see places in and around the city which are worth visiting such as: -
Brahmpuri-On the outskirts of Rishikesh
The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple which is 28 km from Rishikesh amid forests, The Vashishtha Gufa (cave of sage Vashishtha),The Swarg Ashram, The Bharat Mandir,
Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula(the two are suspension bridges connecting two banks of The Ganges),
The Parmarth and Shivananda Ashram are the frequently visited by those in search of holiness, spiritualism, yoga and meditation.
If you are planning a longer duration of stay in Rishikesh then there are a lot of inexpensive and good lodges such as The Swiss Cottage, High Bank Peasants Cottage, The Tree of Life Himalayan Hideaway Lodge etc.
The best and famous of them being 'The Swiss Cottage' because of its location, price and the quality of the rooms.
Rishikesh is a city in syncrasy with Spiritualism, Nature, Adventure and Freedom so whether you are in quest of your spiritual self, adrenaline rush or you just like to go alfresco then Rishikesh is a must visit place for you.