Rishikesh Yoga Capital of the World: is a holy pilgrimage town in the Dehradun district in the Garhwal division of Uttarakhand. Rishikesh is called the gateway of Garhwal Himalayas, the gateway of Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra, and the Yoga Capital of the World.
Rishikesh is situated at the confluence of Chandrabhaga and Ganga and is surrounded by the natural beauty of hills on three sides. Located about 22 km north of Haridwar and about 47 km south-east of Dehradun and situated at an altitude of 1360 feet above sea level, Rishikesh is one of India’s most sacred places of pilgrimage.
Rishikesh Yoga Capital of the World
Situated at the foothills of the northern Himalayas, Rishikesh is one of the holiest cities in India and the state of Uttarakhand. The Ganges flows through this small town located in Uttarakhand, which is considered a stronghold of sages, yoga practitioners, and devotees. The ghats and temples are crowded with devotees.
In recent times, it has also become a hotbed of adventure sports in Uttarakhand, where white water rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, and other activities are organized. It has become a favorite destination for peace seekers since 1960 when The Beatles came to the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to seek peace and inspiration for their music.
Often referred to as the yoga capital of the world, the quiet surrounding slopes of the city’s outskirts are home to ashrams (spiritual and meditative sites), yoga institutes, and luxurious spa resorts. The activities here increase in February-June when the city is led by dignitaries and those interested in yoga to participate in the International Yoga Week organized by the tourism department of the state of Uttarakhand. it is also famous for Ayurveda, many institutes are teaching Ayurveda. It is also famous for institutes teaching yoga. Some are new but they are widely recognized.
Gateway of Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra
In the valleys of Rishikesh, where the waves of the Ganges playing in the beautiful hills fascinates the mind, where the wind calms the mind, where the mother Ganga herself has been a witness to the purity of the environment. Legends exist at every turn of this city. According to legend, the Hindu sage Raibhya Rishi had done severe penance on the banks of the Ganges to have a glimpse of God.
Pleased with the penance of the saint, Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Lord Rishikesh. According to another legend, Lakshman, the brother-in-law of Lord Rama, built a bridge of jute ropes here to cross the river Ganges. It is believed that Lakshman Jhula is still situated in the same place. The city is also the starting point of pilgrimage to pilgrimage sites like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri located on the Himalayas and the gateway to Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra.
Also Read: Kotdwar A Gateway Of Garhwal Uttarakhand
Mythology and History about Rishikesh
There are many religious stories, Mythology, and History related to Rishikesh. It is said that God Shiv Ji drank the poison that came out during the churning of the ocean at this place. After drinking the poison, his throat turned blue and he was known as Neelkanth.
Rishikesh has been a spiritual center since ancient times. It is also called the penance place of sages. There are many beliefs about Rishikesh. It is said that the poison that came out during the churning of the ocean between the gods and the demons, Lord Shiva drank it at this place.
According to another legend, it is also said that Lord Rama spent some time here during his exile period. It is also said that the sage Raibhya did severe penance here. Pleased with his penance, Lord appeared in the form of Hrishikesh. Since then this place is known as “Rishikesh” in Hrishikesh pronunciation.
Major attractions places in Rishikesh
If you are planning to visit Rishikesh is one of Uttarakhand’s major tourist places, let us introduce you to the major attractions places in Rishikesh. Where every pilgrim to tourist walks around. The beautiful city of Rishikesh, situated on the banks of the Ganges, presents itself with a panoramic view throughout the year. The climate here is continental type, but its location surrounded by high hills gives it pleasant weather throughout the year. You can be visited at any time of the year.
If you have come to visit Rishikesh and have not seen Triveni Ghat, the main attraction tourist place of Rishikesh, then your journey is incomplete. Triveni Ghat is the most famous bathing ghat in Rishi-kesh, situated at the confluence of three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati (according to the legends that once used to flow here). Devotees take a holy dip here before visiting various temples.
In the evening, there is a crowd of devotees who worship and take bath at this ghat. According to Hindu philosophy, bathing here washes away all the sins of a human. The evening here is spectacular, when prayers and chanting are accompanied by a spectacular aarti (a ritual that involves lighting a lamp and performing aarti to the river) called the ‘Maha Aarti’ and performed at the ghat.
The famous Lakshman Jhula is situated in Rishikesh at a distance of about two kilometers from Swarg Ashram. This bridge made of iron wires is about 450 feet long. Named after Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Rama, there are several temples on either side of the bridge, including the Lakshmana temple at Tapovan.
The entire bridge is made of iron and it is built at a height of 70 feet from the Ganges river.Built in the year 1939, this Jhoola is one of the most iconic places in Rishikesh. Many temples and famous markets are located around this swing, due to which it has become a popular attraction tourist place of Rishikesh.
Ram Jhula is known as a prominent Pratiktika of city. This place is located at a distance of 3 km from Muni ki Reti. Rishikesh’s iconic landmark Ram Jhula, built in 1986, is a swinging bridge over the Ganges. It is built just a few miles from the iconic Lakshman Jhula in the direction of the river’s flow. This bridge is 750 feet long and is a masterpiece of engineering.
It serves to connect the ashrams on both sides of the river. Ram Jhula is built between Sivananda and Swarg Ashram in the city of Rishikesh in the state of Uttarakhand. A beautiful view of the holy Ganges river coming through the huge mountains and dense forests is visible from here. The sound of the waves of the Ganges flowing under the bridge is heard, which works to enhance the attraction of that environment.
Janaki Setu Bridge or Janaki Jhula
Janki Setu Bridge is built on the river Ganges and its length is 274 meters. With its construction, tourism in Rishikesh is expected to increase even more. It is very beautiful and it was made in November 2020. This bridge connects Tehri and Pauri district. Due to which people going to Neelkanth Yatra and Yamkeshwar, Dugadda will get direct benefit. It is a 3 lane bridge. Which can be used only for pedestrians and two wheelers. Large vehicles will have to use barrage and Garuda Chatti bridge for movement.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
This temple is one of the most revered temples of Rishikesh and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is called Neelkanth. This temple is situated at a height of 926 meters on the top of a mountain on the banks of Ganges and at the foothills of Manikoot mountain is situated the ancient Shri Neelkanth Mahadev Temple at the confluence of Madhamati and Pankaja rivers. Its architecture is very beautiful.
A glimpse of the ocean churning between the gods and the demons has been carved at the entrance of this temple, although the entire story is mentioned on its walls. This is the place where Lord Shiva drank the poison. This poison was produced during the churning of the ocean between the gods and the demons for the attainment of nectar.
Also Read: Panch Kedar 5 Temples Of Lord Shiva
Parmarth Niketan Ashram
Parmarth Niketan Ashram is the largest ashram in Rishikesh. It has more than 1000 rooms. Every day in the ashram there are group worship, yoga and meditation, satsang, lectures, kirtan, Ganga-Aarti at sunset etc. Apart from this, Naturopathy, Ayurveda medicine and Ayurveda training etc. are also given. It is situated in Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges in the lap of the Himalayas. It was established in 1942 by Sant Sukdevanand Ji Maharaj.
The Beatles Ashram
Many famous personalities of the world have been turning to India for yoga and meditation. The famous rock band Beatles is also one of them. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, all four reached Rishikesh in 1968 and stayed at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram. Mahesh Yogi and his followers settled elsewhere, but Beatles fans have been coming here from abroad in his name. The Beatles Ashram, also known as Chaurasi Kutiya.
Neer Garh Waterfall
This is a very beautiful narrow waterfall, which cascades down the rocks in the thick green forest. It is also called ‘Neer Gaddu’, which has a beautiful dark-blue color. This waterfall is two-way and has two bathing ponds. One of the most famous waterfalls of Rishikesh, one has to trek 2 km north of Laxman Jhula to reach Neer Garh Falls. This journey is thrilling and beautiful landscapes are seen at every corner.
Terah Manzil Temple or Trimbakeshwar Temple
One of the famous religious centers of Rishikesh near Lakshman Jhula is also Terah Manzil Temple. Also known as Trimbakeshwar Temple, all the thirteen floors of this temple are dedicated to different deities. Thirteen storeyed temple is an important religious place of Rishikesh.
The temple was founded by Adi Guru Shankaracharya in the 12th century. Mainly the temple is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The Trimbakeshwar temple has several sections which contain Vedic and religious works.
What Things to do in Rishikesh
There are many ashrams located in the city, which are ideal places to learn and practice yoga. The city is famous worldwide as a yoga destination. The hugely popular yoga festival called International Yoga Festival is also held in city from 1st to 7th March. Rishikesh, a place of pilgrimage and exciting sports, also offers many opportunities for shopping.
At the Swarg Ashram, one can find many bookshops, in which books related to Yoga, Meditation, Vedanta are available. In addition, one can purchase Ayurvedic medicines, clothing, handicrafts and petty items such as jewelery and Tibetan musical bowls.
Rishikesh is the dream destination of adventure enthusiasts. Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, it has several trekking trails that invite both experts and beginners. One of the most thrilling sports in India, rafting is organized in Rishikesh.
There is much to offer here like challenging courses for professionals and prior beginner experiences. There are several accredited rafting operators who provide proper safety arrangements. A kayak is a long boat with two seats and paddles on either side. It has double bladed paddles which prove to be effective in propelling the boat by ripping the waves. The Ganges River in Rishikesh has several sites with challenging waves that offer great opportunities for kayaking.
How to reach rishikesh?
By Rail: Rishikesh is well connected to all the major destinations of India by rail. Trains are easily available to Rishikesh Railway Station. After a long wait, a new Yognagri railway station has been built in Rishikesh, through which Rishikesh is to connect the pilgrimage sites of Uttarakhand’s main religious places from Karnprayag to Char Dham. Which is the Rishikesh-Karnprayag rail project.
By Road: Rishikesh is connected by road to the major cities of Uttarakhand, Haridwar, Dehradun, Kotdwar, Pauri, Devprayag etc. and other states of North India. Comfortable and regular buses are easily available from Delhi which is about 228 kms away. This holy city is 18 km away from Haridwar.
By Air: Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun is the nearest airport to Rishikesh, which is located 21 km from here. Taxis are easily available from Jolly Grant airport to Rishikesh. This airport is connected to Delhi by daily flights.