The temple city of Rishikesh is around 250 kms away from Delhi. It is a famous weekend destination spot for the city folk from the National Capital Region (NCR). Rishikesh is a melting pot of spirituality, adventure and home to numerous well known temples. It is also a favourite tourist destination for foreigners who visit it for few months for a spiritual and religious experience and live in the city’s many famous ashrams. Rishikesh has many well known Yoga centres which are frequented by travellers from across the world.
Situated on the foothills of the might Himalayas, Rishikesh is a gateway to the many picturesque hill stations in Uttarakhand. The majestic Ganga flows through Rishikesh on its way to the holy pilgrimage city of Haridwar. While the Ganga today is a highly polluted water body, the water in Rishikesh is relatively unaffected by the pollution as the major polluting points are down the course of the river in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh. The flowing river water with its strong currents at certain points and a shade of green colour due to the natural vegetation underneath is a visual treat. The water in summers is in fact quite cold as the melting ice from the mountain tops mixes with the river.
Over the last decade Rishikesh has also become a favoured destination for adventure enthusiasts. Rafting, rappling, bungee jumping, rock climbing and camping on the banks of the Ganga are some of the adventure experiences that Rishikesh now offers tourists. The place is full of tourists on every weekend almost throughout the year. Rafting is one of the most popular adventure sports that attracts tourists to Rishikesh. Many tourists now keep a stopover for a day in Rishikesh as part of their tour itinerary for Uttarakhand just to experience the thrill of rafting. A night stay at the many camps which dot the course of the Ganga river as it flows down the hills through Rishikesh is an enthralling experience. A stay at these camp sites is very different (and arguably better) from a stay at a nearby hotel in the same place. The experience of staying without electricity, by the riverside with a cool breeze gushing across at night and enjoying a good drink under the open skies is truly unbeatable. A stay at the camps is certainly recommended for those who are willing to move out of the comfort zone on a holiday.
All die-hard adventure enthusiasts who wish to experience the ultimate adventure thrill – bungee jumping, should make advance bookings with Jumping Heights – the operators who conduct bungee jumping in Rishikesh.
Like all tourist places, Rishikesh too has its fair share of eating places and is full of restaurants and cafes alongside the riverfront. The cafes around Laxman Jhula are frequented by foreigners and Indians alike. The Buddha Cafe and Freedom Cafe are two of the well known eateries close to Laxman Jhula. A walk down the Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula over the river is a must for every traveler to Rishikesh. A word of caution for the die-hard non vegetarians – restaurants and cafes are prohibited from serving non-vegetarian food within the local municipal area in Rishikesh due to its religious importance. There however are many restaurants serving non-veg food around the bus stand and near Shivalik.
A visit to one of the cafes in the evening is highly recommended just to experience the solace, peace and calmness around the river and enjoy some good food. The view from the top of these cafes is truly a moment worth capturing in a photograph.
The summer season from April – June is the best time to visit. Rishikesh is certainly a must see place for adventure enthusiasts as well as the spiritual and religious.