Located in the foothills of the Himalayas along the convergence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga River, Rishikesh is a small town in the Dehradun district, located close to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Rishikesh (also called as Hrishikesh) is known for its adventure activities, ancient temples, popular cafes and as the "Yoga Capital of the World". Gateway to Garhwal Himalayas, Rishikesh is also a pilgrimage town and one of the holiest places for Hindus.
Rishikesh became known worldwide in the 1960s after The Beatles visited the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here. Today, the place is popular as The Beatles Ashram which beckons tourists globally. The tranquil town has long been a spiritual centre but is equally popular for the whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, mountain biking and camping along the fast-flowing Holy Ganges. It also serves as the gateway to many Himalayan treks.
As it lies on the holy banks of river Ganga, Rishikesh has been a hub of Sadhus (saints) with numerous ashrams teaching spirituality, yoga, meditation and Ayurveda springing up. Since it is a religious town, non-vegetarian food and alcohol are strictly prohibited here. Rishikesh sees the most beautiful evening aarti on the banks of the river Ganga, which is not too crowded unlike its contemporaries in Varanasi, and Haridwar. The International Yoga Festival is organised here in the first week of March which sees yoga enthusiasts from all over the globe.
Rishikesh is divided into two main areas - the downtown area known as Rishikesh town which is where the popular Triveni Ghat is situated. 2 km upstream from the popular Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula is the other side of Rishikesh where most of the popular ashrams, cafes, accommodation and tourists can be found. Haridwar and Rishikesh are the first Indian cities to be given the title of "twin national heritage cities".
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