Rishikesh: All You Need To Know

Rishikesh Ganga Arti at Parmarth Niketan

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How To Get Here — When To VisitWhere To StayWhere To EatWhat To See

Rishikesh is a spiritual place where people come to find peace and solace and it is also known as the yoga capital of the world. The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when they hear the name “Rishikesh” is the holy Ganges. It’s calming, scenic, peaceful, and timeless, yet very much a fun place for youngsters.

If you’re an adventure junky then Rishikesh is the perfect spot for you as it offers thrilling activities like river rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, rock climbing, cliff jumping, trekking, and camping.

River rafting and camping at the picturesque banks of River Ganga, this sounds like a dream, isn’t it!

The rafting tours are amazing and pretty safe as they provide life jackets, paddles, helmets, and experienced guides who explain you the guidelines and also accompany you.

While travelling, I usually design my own itinerary which I prepare after a thorough research about the place and its specialities. So, for Rishikesh, my must-do point was experiencing the Ganga-Arti on the ghat and this was one of the best experiences of my life. Though it is a little crowded during the evenings, you can settle comfortably on the stairs of the ghat and enjoy the arti while the sun slowly sets downhill. I also enjoyed photography at Lakshman Jhula, visited some old temples, and got some “me” time.

How To Get To Rishikesh

Rishikesh by Boat

 

Rishikesh is one of the most frequently visited weekend getaways near the capital city of Delhi. With a distance of 242 Kilometres, it is a not so smooth but an okay hilly ride. By bus, it takes almost 6 hours and around INR400. You can check with the state bus travel desk for rates or you may check with the car rentals (approx. INR4000 to 5,000) as well if you are travelling with a group of friends. Cars, buses, or train – pick the one that suits your requirements the best.

Best time to visit

Here, the weather is pleasant throughout the year, however during summers it could be a little warm and humid. If river rafting is on your mind then you must plan your trip during September-November, it’s better and safe to avoid the monsoons.

What should you buy in Rishikesh? EVERYTHING! Just kidding, there are colourful jewellery, purses, embroidered bags, silver anklets, Ali Baba pants, scarves, woollen clothes, wooden carvings, home décor items and the list is never-ending.

Where to Stay

There’s a range of pocket-friendly accommodations in Rishikesh which actually makes this place ideal for solo travellers and backpackers. I stayed at budget Hotel and opted for a room with the “view”. The fanned room had hot water and an attached bath with a cute little balcony. The balcony was my favourite, perfect for sunbathing and watching the sunset. You can check the hotels, their rates and availability online and make the bookings accordingly.

Most budget double rooms with fan, hot shower, cable TV, and Tea/Coffee costs around INR500. The majority of budget hotels are around the tourist hub of Laxman Jhula. If you wish to stay at a quieter place, perhaps overlooking the Ganges, expect to pay around INR1,500 to INR3,000 – more facilities, more money.

PS if you want a soft bed, LCD television, you basically have to go to a 3 or 4-star hotel. In normal hotels and guest houses, they are very hard to come by!

Where to Eat

Rishikesh is a traditional old city dotted with some significant temples. So, this place is a vegetarian’s paradise. Some of the famous joints that offer finger licking food are The Chotiwala – an age-old restaurant, Tulsi restaurant, Ganga Beach restaurant, and of course, the Little Buddha Cafe.

There are a handful of places in India where alcohol isn’t allowed and Rishikesh is one of them. Along with liquor, in holy Rishikesh, meat and even eggs aren’t allowed but waiters might whisper, “I have beer” while hiding and serving it under the table for you and some restaurants have a secret menu with eggs.

Popular attractions

The main attraction of Rishikesh is the divine Ganga Arti at Triveni Ghat. This is a very important pilgrimage spot for religious Hindu communities who come from far-away places just to take the holy dip in the river Ganga. Lakshman Jhula, Ram Jhula, and Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir are the other places to visit.

Haridwar is at a distance of just around 21 kilometres from Rishikesh. Har-ki-Pauri – that stands synonymous with Haridwar, offers one of the most spectacular evening arti ceremonies – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Positives:

  • Rishikesh is blessed with natural beauty.
  • To explore this place in the true sense, you need to expose yourself to different experiences as this you won’t find in any other part of India.
  • It has an old charm and that won’t fail to surprise you.

Not-so-positive:

  • Many pilgrims purify themselves in the Ganges, take bath, and wash their clothes in it making it dirty and polluted. As a tourist, it is not so pleasant to see.
  • While you visit the temples and ghats, touts might try to con you, tie a red string on your hand, and ask you to do a puja by putting flowers in the river and then they will ask you to pay a scary amount. If you don’t pay it, they will curse your family! Yikes! But that’s okay, you don’t have to buy all this, just avoid it.

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Have you ever been on a riverside camping trip to Rishikesh? Or, would you want to go anytime soon? Let me know your thoughts.

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