“Sometimes, you need to get lost in the way, just to find yourself again”
Rishikesh or “the Yoga Capital of the World” is known for its religious nature as well as the adventures it holds within. People from India as well as other beautiful places around the globe come to this Land of God to seek adventures, to feel the nature’s embrace, to find peace and to find themselves. Rishikesh is one of the most popular place for young travelers as well as the (g)oldies. It has something to offer to everyone. You can be of any age, caste or creed, and Rishikesh will welcome you with open arms – yes, even during the pandemic..!
Today, I am going to tell you the best places to visit in Rishikesh to find what you’re looking for and maybe even to find yourself.
Okay. Here we go, then..!!
01 Lakshman Jhula
As the name quite providently suggests, this Jhula or Bridge is named after Lord Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Rama from the epic tale of Ramayana.
Now, every destination, every place has a story to tell. The story related to this wonderful place is that this bridge did not exist during the time, so Lord Lakshman had just two jute ropes which he used to cross the Holy Ganges river.
That’s what a Jute Rope looks like, by the way.
As a tribute to Lord Lakshman and to honor him, a 284ft long hanging rope bridge was built at the very spot. And for many years, that rope was the only way to cross the Holy Ganges or Ganga River. Until one day, when the entire rope bridge was washed away and destroyed by the floods of 1924. That’s when what we know today as the Lakshman Jhula or Lakshman Bridge was constructed from steel and was open to public in 1930.
Now, if you know the epic Ramayana even just through the tales your grandmother told you, you will know that Lord Lakshmana and Lord Rama always traveled together wherever they went during the exile and while searching for Goddess Sita, right. So, a few blocks away you will find the Ram Jhula as well. The story is same, only Lord Ram crossed the river from there and it’s named after him.
The two jhulas will most probably be the first of the many places to visit in Rishikesh no matter when or from where you got here.
You can find many small markets at both sides of the bridges. You can buy some souvenirs, clothes, stuff related to worship and prayers, etc. You will also find a few restaurants in the area. There’s actually a “tourist favorite” restaurant at the Ram Jhula side which you can easily find for some deliciously moth-watering north Indian food called Chotiwala.
Okay, so there’ll be two Chotiwala’s right beside each other. You need to find this one –>
^^The original Chotiwala ^^
02 Triveni Ghat
The biggest and the most well-known ghat of the yoga capital of the world is called Triveni Ghat. Situated at the banks of the holiest river Ganga, the place basically is a confluence or a “meeting point” of sorts for three historical rivers: Ganges, Yamuna and the Saraswathy.
The three rivers start their journey from the Himalayas, and meet up at this holy place. Pilgrims from around the world come to Rishikesh for bathing in the waters to cleanse their souls, as it is believed by most that the holy water confluence has the energy to cleanse away all the bad deeds and thoughts one might have inside them just by one dip under the water. According to the beliefs of most of the Hindus, the nature is a superpower of sort. Basically, the nature IS the God. And you will realize this as you step foot in this spot in the list of the places to visit in Rishikesh.
So the mountains, the rivers, the skies, and all things natural – are containing a massive energy inside them, and they can take away all your sorrows, all the bad thoughts, all the negativeness away, within seconds. Maybe that’s why we opt to move away from the city and towards the mountains or the beaches or islands to just relax for a little while.
This popular and populous ghat is known for the evening Aarti as well. The pandits light up a flame and perform a religious Maha Aarti of the Ganges. You will see thousands of people standing there with their phone cameras trying to record the memorable moment. Many pilgrims float lighted lamps on the river during the Aarti and it looks magical..!
03 Parmarth Niketan Ashram
On the banks of the River Ganges, you will find this beautifully constructed ashram surrounded by lush greenery over the large Himalayan foothills. Parmarth Niketan Ashram is known to be the largest yoga ashram to be ever constructed. Travelers and Yoga enthusiasts gather here for a peaceful yoga session with so many others.
Yoga is a way to rejuvenate your soul. And the Ashram is known worldwide to do just that. Just the walls and the structure and the rooms, everything inside and around the Ashram seems so peaceful. The Ashram keeps a clean, serene and pure atmosphere throughout the area. You can indulge in the various wellness programs the ashram offers like learning yoga, stress management, etc. A pretty high number of people from around the globe tend to visit this peaceful Ashram during the time of International Yoga Festival every year.
04 Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
According to the Hindu legend, there came a time when all the gods and all the demons came together to churn the ocean to obtain Amrit or the nectar of immortality during the very well known episode in the Hindu scriptures called Samudra Manthan.
So basically what happened was that all the gods and demons churned the ocean together for long and this led the ocean to burst out many different kinds of gems and diamonds and all things glowing and glittering. The problem arose just moments before the Nectar could be found. The problem was that due to the churning of the ocean, a deadly poison known as halahal was formed inside the ocean. The halahal poison was so strong that it started to injure both sides: the demons as well as the deities.
Slowly, both the sides started to collapse one by one as no one among them was able to control or even hold the poison spread.
Now, as most of the legends in the Hindu stories go – whenever an uncontrollable chaos erupts, the devas go to Lord Shiva. That happened this time as well.
All the remaining devas or Gods went straight towards the Holy Kailash Mountain to ask for Shiva’s help.
Lord Shiva immediately went to the ocean and stopped the spread of the poison, by drinking it. He drank the entire poison and it is even believed that he still keeps the poison in his throat, hence the blue color we portray him in till date.
It is believed that the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is built on the very spot where Lord Shiva drank the poison.
05 The Beatles Ashram
“There’s no where you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be”
The Beatles band was a sensation during the mid 60s. Even now, many still groove on theirs songs. It is said that George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the band composed most of his songs during the band’s visit to Rishikesh in 1968.
So the Beatles came to India, most specifically to Rishikesh and they stayed in an Ashram in there. The Ashram was previously known as Chaurasi Kutia. The Ashram comes under the Rajaji National Park area as acquired by the government in the 80s. One can still visit the place to see the place where The Beatles created 40+ songs during the stay. It is a well known place for the fans and stands as a tribute to the legendary band even today.
06 Neer Garh Waterfall
One of the most amazing places to visit in Rishikesh is this B-E-A-utiful waterfall just a few kilometres away from the Lakshman Jhula. It is a great place for adventure seekers as there is a small hike one can indulge in to get to the wonderful waterfall with a hole for swimming right below it. You will find two adjacent waterfalls at the same point, named Neergarh Waterfall I and II.
These amazing and very magical looking waterfall flows through the rocky edges coming down towards the natural pool. A very small trek will take you towards this natural wonder.
You can spend some time over here with friends and family while registering the beautiful view and bathing in the cold waters.
07 Kaudiyala | Adventure in Rishikesh
Kaudiyala is best known for being the most popular places to visit in Rishikesh for the adventure seekers in town. It offers a variety of adventure sports including Rafting, White Water Rafting, Hiking, Camping, Ziplining.
Basically, Kaudiyala is a small village near Rishikesh at the Badrinath road. It is a beautiful camping site for groups or friends and family. Camping an river rafting have always been a fan favorite among the things to do in Rishikesh, so a number of people come to this place to enjoy the scenic views, to explore the adrenaline rush while boating through the fast waves of the Ganges, or just while sitting outside the camps at night and counting the stars with your loved ones. One of the major things I want to do after the lockdown is over.
08 Jumpin Heights
Jumpin Heights as the name itself tells you is a site in Rishikesh from where you can indulge in various adventure activities which include jumping from the cliff and feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins as you bungee jump from the edge of the cliffs. If you are an adventure seeker or an adventure sports enthusiast, Jumpin Heights need to be in your places to visit in Rishikesh without a single doubt.
You can Bungee Jump, you can try the Flying Fox and there’s also a Giant Swing which you can be a part of. Just imagine the increasing heartbeats, the slow breaths, the people shouting, the view, and the fall..! You will feel your whole body during that short time as you try out any of these amazing activities. And you will remember everything that you are, the magic that you have within.
09 Rajaji National Park
Well who doesn’t like the wild cats especially when they are locked away inside the zoo premises in few of the towns right. But wouldn’t it be more fun if we go in their natural habitat to see them. Not locked away in some cells, but free. Like they are supposed to be. Rajaji National Park is a very well known park in Uttarakhand and people who come to Rishikesh, shall not skip this amazing place at all.
One can indulge in jungle safaris and enter the deep forests within the jeeps with guides telling you and taking you to places where your favorite animals could be found. The National Park is in all means a paradise for nature loves and animals/plants enthusiasts. It has a very diverse amount of flora and fauna spread out in the large area of 820 kilometres. The park is both – a Tiger Reserve and a National Park and is truly a wonderland for bird watching and jungle safari. Many have even experienced Tigers crossing the roads while the safari is on. Fingers Crossed..!!
10 Sunset in Kunjapuri Temple
Approximately half-an-hour away from Rishikesh is a beautiful and serene looking Kunjapuri Temple standing at around 1700 metres of height. This place is an amazing getaway from Rishikesh and the major reason people tend to come here is to view the mesmerizing Sunset of the Kunjapuri Temple.
The temple basically is one of the 52 Shaktipeeth located in Uttarakhand and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati.
You need to take a small trek towards the top of the divine temple and once you reach there you will yourself see the nature at its best. The Sunrise trek in Kunjapuri Temple is a tourist favorite trek in Rishikesh. It really feels as if there’s nothing else you wanna do, you conquer your demons, yourself, and the world, all at the same time.
The oh-so magical view of the sun setting slowly behind the mountains is really what you need to feel the most refreshing at the moment. You’re lost in it. And you feel peace at every corner of your mind and your body.
” Rishikesh is not just a mere place to be explored. It’s a feeling for people who come here from the different corners of the world. It’s a place people head to, to find peace. To be at peace. Amidst the lush greenery, the sounds of the flowing Holy Ganges River, the adrenaline rush…. and to find themselves. “