Situated along the convergence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga, Rishikesh on the foothills of Himalayas is the hub of many ancient temples, popular cafes, yoga ashrams and adventure sports.
Rishikesh is the most beautiful blend of spiritual and adrenaline pumping experiences. With Whitewater Rafting industry growing and a number of camping and cafe spots springing up, Rishikesh has grown immensely as a favourite, catering to people with different needs.
Rishikesh, over the years, has become extremely popular as the top spiritual destination in the world, especially after the Beatles association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here in the late '60s. As it lies on the holy banks of river Ganga, this place has been a hub of Sadhus (saints) and there are numerous ashrams teaching spirituality, yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. With the tourists coming in, there has been a surge in the number of cafes and restaurants in the town and there a lot of cafes serving English and American food and beverages. However, in the last few years, Rishikesh has also been developed as the hub of Adventure Sports in India as there is a multitude of options including White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Flying Fox, Mountain Biking, etc. here. It also serves as the gateway to many Himalayan treks and is used as a popular camping site. Rishikesh is a must visit for everyone visiting India to truly experience something new.
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Stay safe on the suspension bridge located seventy meters above the river flowing below as it swings from side to side while you are walking. The bridge as well as the roads around tend to get crowded owing to the two-wheelers, buffaloes, cows and oxen. The surroundings get dirty due to the aforementioned animals. Nowadays, the pedestrians pollute the place too. The bridge is not very wide, but in spite of it, people stop in between to click pictures, feed monkeys, buy trinkets and so on. These make it even more crowded. You will find several food joints here, although the cuisine consists only of vegetarian food. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.
A trip to Rishikesh is a holy visit amongst the majestic Himalayan foothills besides the Ganges river. The tranquilizing beauty, architectural marvels, grand temples as well as by the adventurous Sports provided, one can experience two opposite worlds. Out of all places to visit following are the best ones - Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula, The Beatles Ashram, Shivpuri, Neelkanth Mahadev temple and Triveni Ghat. Apart from these Neer Garh waterfall trek shouldn't be missed. To relive the oldest days, do visit the Swarg Ashram.
Rishikesh is a place for everybody since here you can not only indulge in adventure activities like bunjee jumping, rafting, trekking, rock climbing and cliff jumping, you can also check into one of the many ashrams here and learn to meditate, or take lessons in yoga and Hindu philosophy. This place is famous for astrolgy and palmistry centres, but not all of them are genuine. Make sure to stay away from con men and the so-called saints offering private tutoring. Do not annoy the monkeys here as they can become quite aggressive. Avoid sneaking in alcohol as this is a dry city and the rules regarding alcoholic beverages and non-vegetarian food are pretty stringent.
Serene, relaxing and beautiful environment.
Strictly vegetarian and alcohol-free.
Rishikesh has things to offer to all generations. The city is a perfect blend of beauty, spiritualism, and adventure and attracts tourists not only from India but from all over the world.
There are several myths and stories associated with the History of Rishikesh, the oldest of them being a sage Raibhya Rishi, performing a penance on the banks of the river Ganga. Impressed by his penance, Lord Vishnu appeared in front of him in the form of Hrishikesh. Hence, the spot was named after him. Another and probably a more famous legend is of Lord Lakshmana crossing the river Ganga on a bridge made of a rope. This bridge is known as the "Lakshmana Jhula". The original bridge made of jute was destroyed in 1924 because of a flood. Later, this bridge was rebuilt, and today stands as a great tourist attraction. The fact that the river Ganga, on whose banks Rishikesh is situated, flows from the Himalayas, makes it a holy river in the eyes of the sages. Hence, 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 Badrinath.
Located at the convergence of the Ganga and Chandrabagha, Rishikesh is believed to be the holiest place for Hindu pilgrims. The numerous temples, the holy ghats, and the serene ambiance provide a natural calmness to the body and soul. The land of yogis, Rishikesh is popular for the several yoga ashrams present in the city. Visited by numerous people worldwide, the yoga camps is Rishikesh are known to rejuvenate the tourists and help them break free from the stress of daily life. From the evening arti in the Triveni Ghat to the simple culture of the ashrams, exploring Rishikesh is a treat to the mind and a trip to the inner self.
Rishikesh has gained popularity over the last few years as an ideal place for adventure. The city offers a myriad of adventure sports ranging from river rafting to bungee jumping, cliff jumping, firefox, waterfall trekking, kayaking, swing, rock climbing etc. The availability and rates of these activities vary with seasons and is often a thrilling, life-changing experience for tourists. The exciting experience and natural beauty of Rishikesh are sure to be etched in the mind of tourists for years.
Day 1: Start off your day with a visit to the Laxman Jhula followed by a visit to the 13-storied Kailash Niketan Temple. End your day with a visit to the Beatles Ashram and proceed to the markets of Rishikesh where you can indulge in flavors from North India. Day 2: Enjoy bungee jumping/ river rafting in the morning and kayaking in the late afternoon. Day 3: Visit Neelkanth Madhav Temple where Lord Shiva is believed to have consumed poison from Samudra Manthan. Indulge in the pious Ganga arti in Triveni Ghat in the evening.
Rishikesh is a purely vegetarian place by law. One would mostly find North Indian cuisine here. However, South Indian, Italian, Nepali, Thai and Chinese cuisine are also available at some of the places. The city fosters a parallel vibrant culture that revolves around authentic Continental cuisine and some cafes.
Another standout in the area is the Ayurvedic food. The outlets that have these health foods offer a variety of food items and teas as well as a complete ambience with elements of Yoga and Ayurveda. Other than these, the street also offers some equally lip-smacking treasure such as Jalebi, Imarti, Samosas, Popcorn as well as fresh and seasonal local fruits. Also, order a 'Thali' for enjoying the best of what the city offers, all in one place.
Cafes in Rishikesh
The best part about Rishikesh is that the cafes that it is home to reflect the very culture that it stands for. Overlooking the beautiful temples and the river Ganga, there are some cafes in Rishikesh which prove to be true to the culture of this place, with some sadhus also thronging these places and telling their stories. The food served in these cafes is mostly vegetarian. A number of them have become extremely popular like - the 'Devraj Coffee Corner', also known as 'The German Bakery' (known for it being situated near the Lakshmana Jhula, overlooking the beautiful river Ganga, and beautiful decor); Oasis Cafe (situated near 'The German Bakery', this place offers a luxurious eating experience); Ramana's Organic Cafe (the name and the view of Ganga, along with the warmth offered by this place, is a great crowd puller); the 'Little Buddha Cafe' (a beautiful treehouse-style cafe, it happens to be one of the most popular cafes near the Lakshmana Jhula, because of its view and amazing flavors); and, Cafe Karma (if the name does not interest you, probably the relaxing atmosphere will). These cafes are defining the kind of culture that new generation craves for at pocket-friendly prices. A trippy atmosphere, along with some great food, and relaxation by the divine sound that the holy river Ganga makes.
Here is a complete list of the Cafes in Rishikesh
It is ideal to go rafting in Rishikesh in the months of February to June, and again from Mid September to Mid December. I would advise against August because of the risk of flash floods and heavy rains. If you decide to go during the dry season, you will be able to enjoy the various adventure activities more freely, and you can also camp along the river.