Rishikesh is a small town in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India . Scenically located it is the meeting point of Ganges and Chandrabhaga river. This is where the Ganges River comes down from the Himalayas . Rishikesh catapulted to Western fame when the Beatles dropped by for a visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram (now closed), and the town is still known as the World Capital of Yoga.
Rishikesh is also the Gateway to the Himalayas . The Char Dham Yatra (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri) ideally begins from Rishikesh.
History of Rishikesh
The story on the origination of Rishikesh goes to many ages when Raibhya Rishi performed Tapasya (austerities) for Lord Hrishikesh (Lord Vishnu). Lord Vishnu appeared before the Rishi and gave him darshan. He also killed the two demons Madhu and Kaitabha who were constant cause of trouble and misery for the Rishi’s and local people. Thus the region was named after Lord Hrishikesh (Lord Vishnu).
According to Ramayana, Bharata, the brother of Lord Rama did severe penance here.
Places to visit
Rishikesh is 28 kms from Haridwar on way to Badrinath and is situated at the foothills on either side of holy river Ganga and is surrounded by Shivalik ranges from three sides. Rishikesh complex consists of three distinct areas, known as Rishikesh, Muni-ki-Reti and Swargashram
It is a beautiful suspension bridge.
It was a hanging rope bridge across river Ganga (without pillar) till 1889 which was rebuilt with iron ropes in 1939. Raghunathji's temple is the main attraction at Laxman Jhoola. Laxman is said to have visited this place and is believed to have done penance to wash his sins for having killed a Brahmin. The suspension bridge connects Rishikesh with Tapovan across river Ganga where a temple is dedicated to Laxman.
A bathing Ghat, where three streams of Ganga , Yamuna and Saraswati are believed to be flowing together underground. Evening Aarti (prayer) of goddess Ganga is also performed here.
Ashram is a self-contained township with restaurants, shopping centres alongwith temple, parks, libraries, meditation centres and Ay.urvedic dispensaries.
The temple and group of buildings have Gita and Ramayana inscribed on its walls.
Neel Kanth Mahadev
This temple is dedicated to Neelkanth Mahadev (Lord Shiva) which is about 22 kms from Laxman Jhoola. According to mythology, Lord Shiva had consumed the effluent poison produced after Sagar manthan which had turned his throat blue and thus this place came to be known as Neelkanth Mahadev or Shiva with Blue throat. While going upto Neelkanth Mahadev one can have a wide spread view of Himalayan peaks, Bhabar forests and plains below.
Activities to Indulge in Rishikesh.
White Water Rafting
Rock Climbing & Rappelling
Visit to Stalactite and Stalagmites Caves .
MEDITATION AND YOGA CENTERS
Rishikesh is called the yoga capital of the world and there are many ashrams in Rishikesh offering courses on meditation, yoga and Hindu philosophy. The International Yoga Festival is organized every year from February 2 to 7 by UP Tourism.
Shopping articles In Haridwar and Rishi kesh.
A plethora of religious paraphenalia, cheap clothing aimed at foreigners, incense, bronze shiva statues, etc.
Non-vegeterian food has been banned in the city for many many years. North and south Indian food is widely available, and there's no shortage of multi-cuisine backpacker cafes, especially in Lakshman Jhula. What excites many foreigners is the delicious Ayurvedic and health food restaurants, perfect for an after-yoga meal.
Many of the main lanes are lined with wooden push carts selling in-season fruit, veggies, popcorn, nuts, warm cookies and lots else, and you'll usually be quoted a fair price. The papayas here are particularly delicious.