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Rishikesh Travel Guide

Introduction

Shiva Temple RishikeshAfter your early morning temple trip, get set for the rafting expedition. Get  back and soak in the peace of the ashrams. Round off your day with a herbal tonic and loose yourself in the hills….Rishikesh beckons!!


In the Tehri- Garhwal region of Uttar Pradesh, lies a district called Rishikesh also famously referred to as the Gateway to the Himalayas. The natural beauty that the state is endowed with makes it a popular tourist destination in the North and reason enough to be part of the Golden Triangle Tour.

A trip to Rishikesh conjures images of the Ganga, in full spate, coursing through the Himalayan ranges, temples emerging on its' banks, and the best part about Rishikesh tourism: white-water rafting. Tourist prospects in Rishikesh received an impetus when the Beatles visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogis’s Ashram in the city.

The town today is known as the world capital of yoga as it is home to a variety of ashrams, that lend the town its spiritual complexion. The Char Dham Yatra(Four Shrines Sacred journey) ideally begins with  Rishkesh.Gte set for a truly Himalayan experience, what with yogasanas, whitewater rafting, temple viewing and and some ancient medicine thrown in.


Important tourist information

Police sources confirm that crime rates in Rishikesh are exceptionally high so tourists must beware of fraudulent rishis, theft,etc.  You would also do well to deal only with authorized agents in the area.


When to visit

Rishikesh is comfortably located in the hilly region of the Uttarakhand state in India so the climate is pleasant throughout the year, though the winters could get a little extreme. October-April is a good time to visit Make sure you carry appropriate clothing though.


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Shopping  in  Rishikesh

Rishikesh is essentially a pilgrimage destination, which means that local handicrafts, shell necklaces, beaded jewellery and pearls are on display. Ethnic handlooms and confectionaries that are integral to the culture of the hill region are other options.


Food

Tourists would do well to note that non-vegetarian food has been banned in the city for many years. North and south Indian food is widely available, while international tourists may rejoice in that Lakshman Jhula is home to several multi-cuisine restaurants. Ayurvedic and health food restaurants are also part of the food prospects in Rishikesh  and this is an ideal  choice after a yoga session. Rishikesh, being a sacred spot, bans alcohol.


How to get there

Rishikesh is 15 kms away from Dehradun 's Jolly Grant Airport .Trains connect Rishikesh to Haridwar, but there are only about three  trains daily. The  best option is  to take the train to Haridwar and continue  from there by bus , a 45 minutes journey. Several luxury buses also ply from Rishkesh to Delhi, Jaipur , Varanasi,etc.


Laxman Jhoola

Laxman Jhoola Rishikesh Local legend tells us that Lord Ram spent his time in the jungle area of Rishikesh, along with his consort Sita and brother Lakshman. The suspension bridge, the Laxman Jhoola  bears testimony to their stay here .The original bridge was made of jute and was later renovated in 1939,  buy converting it into an iron bridge .Ram Jhula is another suspension iron bridge connecting the Shivanand Ashram to the Swarag Ashram. The Laxman Jhula has come to occupy pride of place on  the Rishikesh tourist map, by virtue of its mythological origins.


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Neel Kanth Mahadeo

Neelkanth Mahadeo RishikeshDo not miss an opportunity to visit the Neelkanth Mahadeo Temple, a pilgrim destination 12 kms from Rishikesh.The temple has an  interesting mythology behind it. In the ancient times, when  the churning of the oceans produced both nectar and venom, a few drops spilled onto the earth. The initial drops of venom were consumed by Shiva at this very spot and the Neel Kanth Mahadeo temple came to be. The temple is set amidst forest area.




Bharat Mandir

The Bharat Mandir is the oldest temple in Rishikesh and is located near the  Jhanda Chowk .The Chanda Chowk served as a penance site for the rishis (sages)of the day.


River Rafting & Canoeing in Rishikesh

River Rafting RishikeshTourists would agree that this is undoubtedly the best part about the Rishikesh trip. The Indian sub-continent  is home to the largest network of rivers in the world. The northern rivers that converge in Rishikesh course through with  force that make rafting an exciting adventure. River guides, self-bailing rafts define the rafting experience. These rivers hit boulders with an amazing speed, create whirlpools, cascades and  deluge , almost celebrating their release from the mountains. Realize your wildest adventure dreams with the thrilling  white-water rafting experience!!. Adventure enthusiasts-this is the defining moment of the Rishikesh trip!!
 September-November and March-April-May are most appropriate for rafting. River camps  on the Ganges  operate from the end of September to mid-December, and from mid-February until late April. Advance bookings are preferred for rafting expeditions, especially those longer than a day.

Your rafting kit should include  light clothes for rafting, suntan lotion, torches and other personal requirements. Sneakers, warm clothes for the camp, light clothes for rafting (preferably T-shirt and shorts", swimsuit, suntan lotion, torch and other personal requisites.Jungle walks., camp fires and tents offer more reason to make the trip!!! Canoeing-
If you care for a taste of canoeing to complete the adventure exercise, a caneo trip in a light-weight metal canoe is  what you should look for.


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Famous Ashrams of Rishikesh

Ashrams of RishikeshRishikesh is home to several ashrams that serve as centres of spiritual growth, in keeping with the image of the town. These ashrams impart lessons in yoga, ancient breathing techniques, relaxation exercises  and meditation. Ashrams such as the Himalayan Retreat are a chance to get in touch with nature, with its jungle walks,  mountain biking and rock climbing. Some ashrams like the Yoga Niketan ashram offer two-weeks long yoga courses so plan your stay accordingly .The very purpose of a stay at the ashrams is to escape the hustle and bustle of life and soak in the peace and calm of the ashrams…The ashrams are set amongst a beautiful backdrop, with a picturesque view of the mountains, rivers in full spate, lush green forest cover that add to the rejuvenation package. Ashram life however comes with stipulations-no alcohol, no smoking, etc .Some of them even include organic food as part of their menu to  promote the physical health of its residents. Rishikesh is the perfect opportunity to destress.



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