Rishikesh - Gateway to the Ganges

22nd Nov 2015
Photo of Rishikesh - Gateway to the Ganges by Vaibhav Sawalkar
Photo of Rishikesh - Gateway to the Ganges 1/2 by Vaibhav Sawalkar

Have you ever craved for the adventure sports that can take your mind upside down? Have you ever tried to delve into the lives of Yogis whose physical flexibility could numb out your senses with an utter wow? Have you ever stayed in a locality mostly filled with foreigners and yet completely vegetarian and non-alcoholic? Rishikesh is the place to realize all these facts.

Distance from New Delhi: 250 km by road (43 km from Dehradun)

Best commuting options: Regular flight services from major Indian cities till Dehradun. It’s a 7-8 hours journey by road from New Delhi by private and government buses. Also, there are many trains from Delhi to Haridwar, which is just 20 km from Rishikesh.

Best time to visit: September till November and then again from March till June.

Where to stay: For backpackers, decent accommodation can be found near Lakshman Jhula. For families and groups, most of the budget and mid-range accommodation and restaurants can be found near High Bank and Swarg Ashram.

Must visit food points: Café Delmar, The Welcome Center, Little Buddha, Shiva resort, Freedom Ganga cafe

Rishikesh is a small city in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is also known as the ‘’Yoga capital of the World’ as it houses many Ashrams providing pure Yoga and meditation training. Also, the popular Char Dham yatra ideally begins from Rishikesh. Also, it is one of the best places in India for adventure activities like Bungee jumping and river rafting.

Photo of Rishikesh - Gateway to the Ganges 2/2 by Vaibhav Sawalkar

A glimpse around:

As you might know, Rishikesh is one of the holiest cities for Hindus in India. If you want to take a dip in the river Ganges, which has exceptional healing powers, you should visit Triveni ghat in the morning or evening. Trayambakeshwar temple near Lakshman Jhula is another attractive point, which is at a height of 13 stories. If you want to visit an Ashram that still delivers Vedas education, Parmarth Niketan is the place to be.

There are many Yoga Ashrams where you can opt for various Yoga courses at some cost. Only concern is you need to spare at least somewhere around a week to get going. Otherwise, check out for Yoga or Meditation workshops being held across intermittently for lesser days.

For adventure enthusiasts, Rishikesh is a den. If you are fit and don’t have any back problems, Rishikesh offers the highest Bungee jumping point in India (83 meters/273 feet/22 stories!), which is setup by Jumpin Heights organization. It is safe and costs around INR 3500. To get your video, you need to spare some 750 more as you aren’t allowed to carry any mobiles/wallets near the jumping site. You can check out their website www.jumpinheights.com for updated information.

Apart from Bungee jumping, River Rafting is a craze here. You can opt for various options like 10km/17km/24km. The 24 km variant will cost you around 400 bucks a person as they accommodate around 9-10 people in a raft. Eat well before heading for rafting and be prepared to get thrown in the freezing, pure, green waters of River Ganges. In between, you can also have a nice cliff jumping experience if you opt to.

Other adventure activities like Rappelling, Rock climbing, Kayaking and Trekking are organized by various institutions present here.

Apart from this, Haridwar is a half an hour drive from Rishikesh. You can find bus services at regular intervals. Submerge in the religious rhythm this place offers. It holds Purna Kumbh mela every 12 years and Ardha Kumbh mela every 6 years. This place has a lot of Hindu temples like Maya Devi Mandir, Daksh Mandir, etc.

General tips: Avoid roaming around alone at nights as many criminal cases have been reported. Try to explore the city by yourself and not hiring any local guides. Explore the cafes around Lakshman Jhula in the evening. Get good information on weather side as rafting may be closed during rainies.