Rishikesh: A Lot More than Just a Holy Place
25 km from Haridwar in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is the Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. The beauty of the place is enhanced by the holy river the Ganges and its lush green surroundings with temples and bathing ghats at its shore. Being the Yoga capital of the world and the number one spiritual backpacking destination on the planet, Rishikesh is home to numerous ashrams, yoga, and meditation centers attracting tourists and spiritual seekers from all over the world. It houses the 133-year-old Kailash Ashram Brahmavidyapitham, an institution dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional Vedantic studies. Prominent personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Rama Tirtha, and Swami Sivananda have studied in this institution.
Rishikesh is also known as the pilgrimage town and regarded as one of the holiest places to Hindus. Hindu sages and saints have visited Rishikesh since ancient times to meditate in search of higher knowledge. It is also meat and alcohol-free city due to its spiritual and mystical environment.
For music lovers, Rishikesh is paradise as the visit of the greatest English Rock band The Beatles puts this place on the mainstream map of Meditation, Yoga, and Music. Do check out “The Beatles Legacy” later in this article.
This beautiful city is also a major attraction for adventure enthusiasts from all over the globe and it will leave you spoilt with varied options that it offers. White Water Rafting is the most popular sport as the Ganges offers medium to rough rapid to get yours adrenalin pumping. The rafting season starts in March and ends in September and if you are thinking that White Water Rafting is the only thing to do in Rishikesh, its time to think again! Rishikesh is also a center for camping, bungee jumping, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, cliff jumping and this blog will help you plan your activities on your next visit to this happening city.
Things to do in Rishikesh
1. Air Safari
Feel the wind and challenge gravity from a bush flying over the town giving you an opportunity to experience the mighty Ganges, the Shivalik mountains, and the town from the sky, a unique and remarkable adventure sport in Rishikesh.
Tarrif (per person)
10-12 Minutes : Rs. 4400/-
18-22 Minutes : Rs. 6499/-
25-30 Minutes : Rs. 10499/-
60-70 Minutes : Rs. 19999/-
More Info: http://www.rishikeshairsafari.com/
2. Bungee Jumping
Jump with rubber cords tied to your ankles from India’s highest (83 meters) Cantilever platform built over an iron cliff overlooking a rocky river and feel the adrenaline rush like never before. The service is provided by www.jumpingheights.com with jumpmasters from New Zealand. After your jump take a short hike to the cafeteria to refresh yourself and walk out with your Dare to Jump certificate.
Age: Minimum 12 yrs
Weight: Minimum 35 kgs and Maximum 120 kgs
Timings: 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Weekly off: Tuesday Closed
Bungy Location: Mohanchatti (25 km from Rishikesh)
Other Activities by Jumping Heights
1. 83 meters Giant Swing
2. 1 km Asia’s longest Flying Fox
Reporting Time is 9 AM and Average time to complete the activity is 3 to 4 hrs depending on availability.
Local Transfers from Tapovan to Bungy Station (to / fro) @ 300 / person extra.
Bungy Bus Timings: 9 AM, 11 AM & 1 PM
Charges for Video (DVD) of the Activity, if required will be extra.
Hiking in Rishikesh
Hiking is the only way to connect yourself with nature. Being located at the foothills of Himalayas and also the gateway of the Garhwal Himalayas, Rishikesh has plenty of hiking routes to explore.
Water Fall Hiking
Rishikesh is surrounded by Shivalik mountain range of the Himalayas and most of the waterfalls are in the forest area so, hiking is the only way to treat your eyes. Most popular waterfalls are Neer Gaddu, Garud Chatti, and Phool Chatti.
Kunjapuri Temple Hike
31 km from Rishikesh at the height of 1676 meters is the Kunjapuri Temple which is famous for its incredible view of the snow capped Shivalik mountain range of the Himalayas. The 300+ stairs climb will also treat you with the view of Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun valley from the temple.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Hike
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is the temple of Lord Shiva located at a height of 1330 meters is 35 km from Rishikesh. According to Hindu mythology, the place where the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple currently stands is the sacred location where Lord Shiva consumed the poison that originated from the sea which made his throat blue in color. Thus, Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth.
Jhilmil Gufa (Cave) Hike
5 km hike from the Nilkanth Mahadev Temple is the Jhilmil Gufa. A small cave located inside the Manikut Kajri Van forest. It is not a popular place among tourists but it is worth a visit just to experience the calmness of the jungle from inside the cave.
White Water Rafting
River rafting is the most popular adventure sport in Rishikesh and enthusiasts from all over the country and the world comes here on a date with the mighty river Ganges as it offers an impressive experience with it’s medium to very tough and rough rapids.
River Water Grade
Grade 1 : Easy, small waves. No obstacles.
Grade 2 : Moderate difficulty with clear passages.
Grade 3 : Difficult, high irregular waves, narrow passages require precise maneuvering.
Grade 4 : Difficult, powerful waves. Very precise maneuvering required.
Grade 5 : Extremely difficult, violent, highly congested.
Water Grade 2/3 in Brahmpuri, Shivpuri Water Grade 2/3 Plus, Marine Drive 3/4 Plus and Kaudiyala 4 Plus.
Camping in Rishikesh
A natural and beautiful stay near the holy river Ganges in tents will enhance and make your stay in Rishikesh more wonderful. Each tent can accommodate two beds that are available on the riverside/Beach. Rafting Camp Tents like Marine Drive Beach Camp, Shivpuri Beach Camp, Brahmpuri Beach Camp, Jungle Camp, Luxury Jungle Camp, Devprayag Camp and School Summer Camp. These tents are devoid of electricity as they are pitched near the river Ganges. However, lanterns will be provided for light. An ideal place for those who want to have fun and adventurous escapade.
Paddling through the hills and zoom in into nature is one of the enthralling experience of the lifetime. Mountain biking will offer you with all the adventure and thrill you have been longing for. Paddle downhill, take glimpses of the lush green valley and also treat your eyes with the beauty of the miniature villages scattered here and there.
More Info: http://www.gangavalleyadventure.com/
The popularity of Rock Climbing is increasing every year among other adventure sports that Rishikesh offers. Being in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas the nearby cliffs and mountains offer ample challenges and opportunities which you can accomplish under the guidance of trained professionals who will encourage you for this adventure sport. Rock climbing will boost your confidence and test both of your physical and mental strength. Modern equipment and techniques will ensure your safety. So keep this adventure sport as a priority on your next visit to Rishikesh.
Yet another wonderful adventure sport to pump your adrenaline and experience the thrill through Cliff jumping. It comes as an optional activity with White Water Rafting which involves a jump from a 30-40 ft high cliff into the Ganges. The sport will let you know your physical and mental strength.
The Beatles Legacy
We all love listening to music as it instantly puts you in a good mood and while traveling I never forget to take my mp3 player being one of the most important ingredients of my travel.
Now, you must be wondering, why I am talking about music? because Rishikesh has a strong connection with it and that too with the beloved classic English Rock band “The Beatles”. Isn’t that exciting?
The band was looking for some answers which led them to see a lecture given by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in London in the summer of 1967. Following the lecture, they met the Maharishi and was enamored of him. In February 1968, the Beatles took a large step by traveling to the Maharishi’s home in India. During their stay, they learned more about meditation and also wrote 48 songs which ended up as an epic album “The White Album”. “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Dear Prudence”, “Mother Nature’s Son,” and “Sexy Sadie” were just a few of the songs born out of their experiences in Rishikesh.
The magic of Beatles is still there in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi which was in an abandoned and ruined state but got recently opened to the public after a facelift. There are 84 meditation caves which were meant for the residents to practice meditation. The artwork on the walls of the yoga hall has remained untouched and continue to be the biggest attraction for tourists. In 2012 Canadian artist Pan Trinity Das started The Beatles Cathedral Gallery inside one of the yoga halls which features large Pop arts of the Beatles along with several spiritual gurus, scribbles of song titles, and other vital graffiti which is one of the major attraction for fans visiting the ashram.
After visiting the Beatles Ashram when you are on the streets of the city and you want to be in the vibe of the band then there is a Beatles Cafe hidden away in an underground blaze of buildings at Tapovan. A cool 60s-themed joint with pictures of Beatles and other bands from 60’s. It also has a terrace with dramatic views of the mighty Ganges.
International Yoga Festival (IYF)
IYF has been taking place in Rishikesh since 1989, organized first by the Government of Uttar Pradesh, and then by the Government of Uttarakhand since 2001. This world-renowned event which has grown to international acclaim and is growing in size every year. The yoga lovers wait for the festival and enjoy the event to the fullest. You can register for this event through the website link provided below.
More Info: http://www.internationalyogafestival.com/