Rishikesh is the city of Holiness, Spirituality, Constancy and now a day adventure also. But at first, Rishikesh has been the centre of spiritual and religious activities since ancient times.
Somewhat adjacent to the main city, this spiritual and religious place situated on the right bank of the river Ganga is surrounded on all sides by beautiful hills and is just about 25 kms from Haridwar. The city attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year, from India as well as other countries. Rishikesh is the gateway for pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath Gangotri and Yamnotri. Rishikesh is also referred as the Yoga Capital of the world.
It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to the attainment of moksha. A holy dip in Ganga, also takes one to the closer of God, the sacred river, which flows through it. This famous pilgrimage spot is also popular for its traditional and cultural performances, exotic cuisine and many other unique factors which fascinate the tourists here and gives them a wonderful experience. The sacred river Ganga which flows calmly near the Ashrams leaving the Himalayas and the Shivalik mountain range behind has a very fast current before and after Rishikesh. The river offers some great and perfect situations for rafting with rapids in Shivpuri just few kilometers above the Rishikesh which is also popular for many other adventure sports, which this terrain offers.
The city has some other places of interest which include Bharat Mandir and Lakshman Jhula, Triveni Ghat-a bathing ghat, Triyambakeshwar Temple-a 13 stories high structure, having numerous deities throughout, Parmarth Niketan-the one of the few Ashrams left only in India where children get Hindu Ved and Puraan Education. The city offers Yoga and Meditation courses and spritual discourses through numerous Ashrams here. Its serene and holy atmosphere inspires the pilgrims with pious feeling and they feel rampant changes in their thoughts.
Rishikesh is also a place for those who adventure as passion and in recent times, it is developing as a place of adventure tourism like River Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Body Surfing & Cliff Jumping, Rappelling /Rock Climbing, Waterfall Trekking, Kayaking, and Canyoning for tourists.
Places of Interest
Triveni Ghat: This is a well-known bathing ghat on the bank of the Ganga in the city of Rishikesh. This is sacred bathing Ghat where devotees take holy dips and offer prayers. In the evening, devotees chant in adoration to the Ganga and pay tribute with handful of flowers and eathern lights. This presents a devotional scene where tourists and devotees are immersed in sprituality. According to the legend, in ancient times, this place is the confluence of three mountain streams Ganga, Yamuna and the legendary Saraswati river and this place populared later as Triveni Ghat. The “Aarti” ceremony done at Triveni Ghat on the south end of Rishikesh during sunset. The evening Aarti on the ghat is most impressive and is a real scene to behold. After Aarti, devotees release flowers in hand made leaf boats with tiny oil lamps. This is a ceremony of worship, remembrance and hope.
Lakshman Jhula: This Jhula was built over Ganga enroute from Rishikesh to Devprayag, at a distance of 4 kms from Rishikesh. This bridge connects the borders of the areas of Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal. The legend is that Ram Chandraji’s younger brother Lakshman performed austerity here. After his name this rope hanging bridge came to be known as Lakshman Jhoola. A grand temple of Lakshman ji is situated in the vicinity of the bridge.
Ram Jhula: There is also another bridge across the Ganga which is known as Ram Jhula or Sivananda Jhula. The bridge is situated at Muni Ki Reti, Rishikesh. It was built in 1980s. Its distance from city Rishikesh is 3 Km. Some of Ashram like –Swarg Ashram and Geeta Bhawan are located across this bridge.
Vashishth Cave: Vashisht was the guru of Hindu Lord Rama. Shri Swami Purushottamanand ji visited guha (cave) in 1928 and had Samadhi (abjuration) in 1961. Now a days, Shri Swami Purushottamanand Ashram is situated near by the Guha. The Holi river Ganga is also flowing nearby the Guha. Visitors come here for peace and meditation. This ancient cave is situated at a distance of 25 kms from Rishikesh on the road to Devprayag.
River Rafting: River Rafting is a challenging and outdoor activity or we can say adventure sport today and can be equally enjoyed by a young as well as an elderly. An inflatable raft is used for boating in the high currents of Ganga in the rocks. The activity was developed as a sport in 1970s. River rafting in Rishikesh offers adventurers a unique taste of adventure. The stretch across the Ganges here offers an array of rapids. Adventurers can choose a grade depending on their physical strength and individual preferences. In any case, the adventure activity of white water rafting is definitely going to provide you an experience which will haunt your memories for a long time.
A large number of rafters arrive in the state of Uttarakhand to taste the thrill of white water rafting along the Ganges. There are 13 thrilling rapids present in the river, where rafting is organised. Categorized from Grade I to Grade IV, you can choose a grade that suits your age and matches your stamina. No worries, as there are expert instructors and guides to equip you with some of the basic skills used in the adventure sport.
Bungee Jumping: In Rishikesh the most exiting sport Bungee Jumping has been started a few years ago. A Cantilever platform built over a rocky cliff inclined a rocky river HALL, a tributary of River Ganga. Bungee Jumping is an adventure sport which can be enjoyed by any medically fit person. It fills your body the full excitement like never before when one jumps from the height of 83 Mitres. After the Jump, the Jumpers are lowered down to a drop zone in the river which has only 2 ft of water.
Rajaji National Park: The Rajaji National Park spread over an area of 820.42 sq. kms along the foothills of Shivalik ranges. The Rajaji National Park was established in the year 1983. There are three wildlife sanctuaries namely as Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla. The park contains tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests.The forest ecosystems of the park are quite varied and diverse. The park have the largest population of Elephants in Uttarakhand. The park also have a measurable strength of Asian Tigers. There are 315 spices of birds are found in the park included woodpeckers, pheasants, kingfishers, pea fowl and barbets. This park also hosts the spices from Siberia and other nothern countries usually in winter season. The park has many gates, and are opened for tourists from mid October for three months from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, Saharanpur and Kotdwar.