Considered as the ‘Gateway to the Garhawl Himalayas’ this pilgrimage city is one of the most popular tourist places on this planet. This picturesque place is situated near the foot of ‘Great Himalayas’, in the state of Uttarakhand and has the holy River Ganges flowing through it. Truly blessed with numerous temples and ghats having mythological significance, this pure vegetarian city is also a hotbed of Indian Spirituality, Yoga, and Vedic Studies. It has many ashrams and ‘sansthans’ which impart education related to these fields to common public. There are also many commercial centers around here where you can enjoy adventure sports, too!
Just go through our handy list of top 5 much-recommended tourist attractions in Rishikesh to make your trip to Rishikesh quite memorable and enlightening one!
1. Triveni Ghat
Considered as one of the most sacred bathing ghat in India for Hindu pilgrims, this place is near the confluence of 3 holy rivers, namely, the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the Saraswati. According to Hindu religion, you can wash away your sins and purify your soul by taking a dip in the river-water, at this place.
People who want to perform their ancestors’ Pind Shhrad also throng this ghat. It is one of the busiest ghats in Rishikesh and you will find this place teeming with hundreds of people, throughout the year. Both, the tourists and locals come here to take bath, watch evening Aarti or do both. During the evening Aarti, the entire stretch of water lights up with thousands of diyas and the cool breeze reverberates with holy chants. This spectacular sight will surely leave you enchanted and make your soul and mood uplifted!
2. Laxman Jhula
It’s a 450-feet long metallic suspension bridge and lies about 70-feet above the River Ganges that flows beneath it. It has mythological significance and is a prominent landmark of this holy city. According to Hindu scriptures, Lakshman used a jute rope to travel across the river Ganges between the places where the current bridge now lies suspended. It is a recent manmade architectural wonder and was constructed in the year 1939. You should stand here and enjoy the beautiful vista of the region present before your eyes for several minutes or even hours!
3. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
This ancient-era temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on the summit of a hill near the famous ‘Swarg Ashram’. Thousands of devotees and sightseers visit this magnificent shrine, every month. According to Hindu mythology, this is the exact place where Lord Shiva drank the venom produced, during the process of ‘Sagar Manthan’ by the Gods and the Demons for obtaining ‘Amrit’ i.e. Elixir of Life.
4. Geeta Bhawan
One of the oldest and largest temple complexes in Rishikesh, this site is located on the bank of River Ganges and you can see the side of the Laxman Jhula, from its premises. It contains several discourse halls for conducting ‘satsang’ and prayers. There are more than 100 rooms available free-of-cost for devotees and visitors who come here to stay. It also offers Indian vegetarian food, sweets, and grocery items, at a nominal price.
5. The Ashrams of Rishikesh
Rishikesh is dotted with many old and new ashrams dedicated to Indian spirituality, Hinduism, or Yoga sadhana. Following is the list of a few prominent and renowned ashrams that you should visit once.
It is one of the oldest Yoga ashrams in the country and a great place for performing meditation for hours near the riverbank. You can also spend your time watching the sun rising from the ‘Shivaliks’ and changing the color of water of the holy river Ganges into a golden hue. Interestingly, you cannot perform any religious rituals or rites on its riverbanks.
Founded by the late Swami Sivanand, this place now serves as the center for the Divine Life Society which now has several branches in India and overseas. This global establishment now runs a hospital, promotes Vedanta studies and Yoga, and owns an herbal medicine manufacturing company.
This ashram was set up in 1942 and is the biggest ashrams in Rishikesh with 1000-odd rooms for seers, pilgrims, ashram workers, and visitors. However, a foreign tourist will require special permission from the ashram authorities if he or she wants to stay here. Beautiful gardens and lush-green lawns surround this clean and well-maintained ashram. This place runs many religious discourses and conducts Vedic Education classes for children.
This ashram is dedicated to the iconic British music band, The Beatles. The band members travelled to Rishikesh in February 1968 to attend a session of meditation at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram. It is said that this visit made the Beatles a strong believer in Indian Spirituality and they went on to compose super-hit songs, become global celebrities, and gain commercial success.
We suggest you to come here at least once in your lifetime to enjoy its natural beauty, cultural heritage, spiritual ambience, and various exhilarating sports activities.