A town governed by Rishikesh Municipal Corporation (from October 2017) and a tehsil in the Dehradun district of the Uttarakhand. It lies about 21km in the north of the town Haridwar and 45km(28 mi) southeast of Dehradun. Rishikesh has an approximate population of between 252,533 and 320,222, creating it the seventh most inhabited place in Uttarakhand. Situated at the foothills of the mountain chain in northern India, it also came to be known as the “Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas” and “Yoga Capital of the World.” It’s also known as the journey city and considered one of the holiest places for Hindus. Hence, Rishikesh can be called Hrishikesh.
The History of Rishikesh
Several Hindu mythological beliefs are associated with Rishikesh. Rishikesh has been a neighborhood of the legendary “Kedarkhand.” Legends have stated that Lord Rama did penance here to kill Ravana, the king of Lanka. Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river, mistreating two jute ropes, and here the current ‘Lakshman Jhula’ exists. The ‘Kedarkhand,’ according to Skanda Purana, conjointly mentions the existence of Indrakund. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by a 248-foot long iron-rope built-in 1889. When it had been washed away within the 1924 floods, it had been replaced in 1927 by a more substantial bridge. This bridge connects the two districts of Tapovan, Tehri and Jonk, Pauri Garhwal.
Rishikesh is appreciated for its reference to The Beatles. In February 1968, members of the legendary English band visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram (well known by the name Beatles ashram) for understanding and practicing meditation. The band released around forty-eight songs during their stay at the Maharishi’s ashram, some of which are pretty popular which were published in White Album (and many from Abbey Road). Moreover, John Lennon once wrote a song titled, ‘The Happy Rishikesh Song’ during his visit. In addition, many alternative international artists and bands like Love of the Beach Boys, Paul Horn, Donovan, and Gyp Mills, visited the place to find inner peace and meditate.
Rishikesh is well known as a city of quaint cafes, which supply native and international cuisines loved by tourists. Lately, Rishikesh has become quite popular for its festive Holi celebrations, mainly held by the Hotels and Resorts.
Hrishikesh has become a popular place known not only for the Yoga and the mythological beliefs of the Hindus but also for the range of other activities like Camping, Trekking, Bungy jumping, Rappelling, etc.
Best Places to See in Rishikesh
1. Bharat Mandir
The first on our list is the Bharat Mandir. It has been attracting tourists and devotees because of the architectural influence and the related Hindu beliefs that have made it so unique and worth seeing. Located within the heart of the town, the Bharat Mandir is an ancient temple sacred to Lord Hrishikesh Narayan, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Kaliyuga. The temple sanctum houses a well-crafted idol of Lord Vishnu sliced out of one black stone referred to as Saligram. Legend has it that the temple’s idol was reinstalled in 789 AD on the day of Basant Panchami. Ever since then, Saligram is taken out for a shower in Mayakund. Further, a grand procession marches through the streets until the temple for reinstallation.
One will see the temple traces in mythological epics like Shrimad Bhagwat, Vishnu Puran, Mahabharat, Vaman Puran, and Narsingh Puran. The presence of Buddha and monasteries was manifested once the positioning was mamma out, and plenty of ancient sculptures, artifacts and adorned bricks were found.
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2. Geeta Bhawan
The next on our list is the Geeta Bhawan. Amidst the chain of mountains on the bank of the holy Ganges River in Swargashram stands the attractive dwelling for the homeless and travelers, Geeta Bhawan. The Bhawan, at once, will accommodate one thousand devotees and provide them free keep. Though this place remains loaded with people around the year, the best time to go is in the summer for the day-long Satsang programs.
Geeta Bhawan provides pure vegetarian food items and grocery things and Indian sweets, free ferry rides, and clinics. Different amenities offered at Geeta Bhawan are the Geeta Press book store, attire look, and Ayurvedic department that sells pure flavorer products.
Within the Bhawan, there’s a sacred Peepal Tree. It is considered to be the place where several saints like Swami Ramtieth have performed penance. Presently, the tree is considered a heaven for those practicing non-secular enlightenment through yoga and meditation.
Opening time: Whole year and the timing for the opening of the gates start from 7 AM to 9 PM.
3. Himalayan Yoga Gurukul
Yoga has become a vital remedy to heal the mind and souls of people. Therefore, people around the world come here to practice Himalayan Yoga. Tourists will experience the non-secular power of yoga after they enter the Yoga Gurukul, a branch of Yoga colleges. Based primarily on the oldest ashram in Rishikesh, Swarg Ashram, Yoga Academy provides yoga teacher coaching courses for yoga practitioners. Himalayan yoga has attracted people worldwide because of its unique techniques to train the mind positively. Indeed, the Himalayan Yoga Gurukul has been a significant attraction for tourists.
4. Swarg Ashram
Swargashram (Heavenly Abode) is a place in Rishikesh famous for tourists worldwide mainly because of its famous ethnic touch or architecture, aartis, prayers and poojas, ceremonies, meditations, etc. It is located at the foot of the Himalayas near the River Ganga and between Rishikesh and Laxmanjhula. The specialty about this place:
- Range of Ashrams and meditation centers
- Shopping complexes
- Sanskrit schools
- Cave temples
- Hotels and restaurants
- Organisation of Bhajan and Kirtans
The whole place is thought for its healthy and satwik living atmosphere. It’s this spot where the illustrious Yogis and Rishis have been doing the Tapasya for ages.
5. Kunjapuri Temple Rishikesh
Kunjapuri Temple is located at Kunjapuri Hill at an elevation of about 1676 meters. This temple is famous and has immense importance in Hindu Religion.
The most critical mythological belief that has been associated with this place is that the Burned chest of Sati had fallen in this place. So it is a sacred place for Hinduism followers.
The specialty about this place :
- Presence of snow-capped mountain peaks like Swarga Rohini, Gangotri, Bandarpunch, and many more.
- Commemoration of Navratri and Dussehra
- Completes the triangle of 3 Siddha peeths
- The beautiful environment of the temple
From the temple, one will see the neighboring hills like Swargarohini, Gangotri, Bandarpunch, and Chaukhamba. Also, travelers will relish the sight of beautiful spots like Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Doon vale from the opposite face of the temple. The temple sees a huge gathering of the crowd around the Dussehra and Navratri pageant. The temple is a crucial stopover destination for tourists on a journey to Char Dham yatra.
6. Laxman Jhula
One of the major tourist attractions in Rishikesh is the Laxman Jhula. It is a bridge made of iron which is located above the river Ganga. This bridge connects the Pauri district with the Tehri district. Mythological beliefs are heavily linked with this bridge discussed at the start of this article itself.
The special reasons whyRishikesh is important:
- Historical importance.
- Some significant temples like the Lakshman temple, Mahadev temple, etc., are located near this bridge.
- Provides an mesmerizing view of the river Ganga and Rishikesh city.