Rishikesh literally means Lord of the Senses and stands for Lord Vishnu. The Hindu devotees believe that performing austerities in this holy town and offering prayers in the holy temples here brings the awaited achievement of ‘Mukthi’,or the “salvation“.
The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India.
Life in Rishikesh is a pilgrimage centre, revolving around prayers and festivals. People come here to cleanse their mind and soul, spending their time in meditation and offering prayers. Some come for adventure activities and some for complete rest from their busy lives.
With all the layers to Rishikesh, it can be hard to determine what a visitor should seek out. But here are 6 things that one can do to get the full Rishikesh experience:
1) Walk by the River
Wake up early, start walking on the terrains of this hilly paradise to rejuvenate yourself, Figure out your life, listen to nature and listen to your heart too. Start your journey from Ram Jhula Bridge and go towards Neelkanth; this is the most beautiful walk by the river.
2) View of the Valley
This is something people need to witness while in Rishikesh. The view of the city from different points on the hill valleys. Route options are either from Narendra Nagar or from NeelKanth. From these places you get a panoramic view of Rishikesh along the River Ganges. If there’s little cloud cover, the view of the Himalayas from Kunja Puri in Narendranagar is spectacular.
3) Enjoy the Balance of Nature and Luxury
Since we have covered the miracle of nature, it’s time to talk about some of the properties in the area that are the perfect mixture of luxury and nature. There is a resort called Ananda Resort and Spa. It was formerly a castle but is now converted into a world class resort and spa. It is also amongst the top 5 places to visit in a lifetime. The other resort I recommend is Atali Ganga. Located on the hills of the River Ganges, their beautifully designed cottages promises to deliver an ultra soothing environment for solace seekers.
4) Witness the Cultural Heritage
Every evening at all major ghats, Ganga Aarti (religious ceremony) is performed by the saints. You can feel the positive vibes of Mantas, which is a rewarding experience that fills your mind with joy and Shanti (peace). There is a cave close to Rishikesh called Vasishta Cave, so named after the great sage Vashistha. Vashistha was one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages) in ancient India. Vashistha was Manas Putra of Lord Brahma and the guru of Lord Ram.It is believed that Vashistha Rishi meditated here. The cave is a sacred location to meditate.
5) Yoga Meditation And Adventure
Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed “the world capital of yoga”, has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to acheivement of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. People do adventure activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping and trekking.
6) Amazing Food to Tempt Your Taste Buds
Rishikesh restaurants do not serve alcohol and non-vegetarian meals. But between Rishikesh and Haridwar there are a few restaurants that serve tasty food (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) and alcohol in garden side restaurants. There are many cafes facing the river. They are perfect places to chill out and hang out with new found friends. Enjoy food, music, dance, and just enjoy life.
Rishikesh harkens to a magical time and place where spirituality and brotherhood still exist. You won’t regret a trip here.
About the Author
Rohit Barthwal and his father, Rakesh, both from local from Rishikesh run and own a travel agency called Prabhusewa Tour and Travels. They help many pilgrims explore the magical Himalayan mountains and take many pilgrims to the hold places of India.