Rishikesh, the World Capital of Yoga”, also spelled as Hrishikesh, Rushikesh or Hrushikesh. has been one of India’s holiest and most spiritual centres for thousands of years. Rishikesh is a magical city on the blue banks of the holy Ganges river. The town of Rishikesh lies in the foothills of the Himalayas of the Garhwal region. It is the gateway to the upper Garhwal region and the starting point for the Char Dham pilgrimage (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath) and an ideal destination not only for pilgrims but also for the people who are interested in adventure, medtation, yoga and other aspects of Hinduism.
Rishikesh is also a Gateway to the World Heritage site Vally of Flowers National Park- The 8th Wonder of the World and char dham Yatra.
Rishikesh is the most ancient pilgrimage location in India. It is known as Tapo Bhumi, meaning the place for yoga and meditation of the Gods. Rishikesh is a peaceful temple town where the Ganges River flows clear and full of spiritual energy. Rishikesh is a holy pace that acts as the beginning of the path leading to the sacred places deep in the Himalayas. It is the perfect place for the spiritually inclined and for those who seek meaning. Spiritual people will find total peace and will be completely at home in Rishikesh.
Swami Sivanand, one of the leaders of modern yoga in Rishikesh. One of his many pieces of literature available called “Yoga in Daily Life”, and was instantly captivated by the first passage of this book. The passage reads:
“Cultivate indomitable will. Practice self-control an self-mastery. Have self-confidence. Develop independent judgment. Do not argue. Strive ceaselessly for self-realization. Kill this little ego. Develop pure love. Rise above all distinctions of case, creed and colour. Give up the idea of ‘I-ness’, ‘mine-ness. Look within for the happiness which you have sought in vain in the sensual objects.”
Rishikesh is also appearing as the Adventure Capital of India for the adventure seekers as Rishikesh is the suggested place for starting their trekking expeditions to the Himalayan Peaks and for the White River Rafting. Also, International Yoga week which attracts participation from across the world, is held here, every year, in February on the banks of the holy Ganga.
Rishikesh is a vegetarian city by law, as well as an alcohol-free city. Rishikesh has also banned use of plastics bags by shopkeepers and vendors.
How to reach :
By Car Delhi airport to Rishikesh by car is a good option for a hassle free traveling specially for foreign tourists who are traveling to India for the first time. It’s a 6 to 7 hours journey.
Note: Try and leave Delhi between 4-5 a.m as driving time increases beyond 6 hours due to morning congestion in towns like Modinagar and Roorkee.
Nearest Airport :
AirPort Near by Rishikesh is in close proximity of Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport (about 15 km) – a small, quiet and recently renovated airport handling many flights from Delhi. The runway is being extended and will possibly then handle flights from other metros as of now there are flights only from Delhi (The capital of India)
By Train :
Rishikesh railway station a quiet branch line connects Rishikesh to Haridwar, but there are only about three slow trains daily. It’s best to take the train to Haridwar as Haridwar is serviced by many trains from to Delhi, Varanasi, Rajasthan, Amritsar, etc. and continue by bus (45 min), by taxi (30 mins or by shared auto-rickshaw (40 min). Travelling by train comes recommended because they often run empty and the fares are low & run right-time especially in peak seasons or “Melas” (Fares) when bus routes are diverted in Haridwar & share rickshaws try to make a killing. You can take “Vikrams” towards Lakshman Jhula from Rishikesh station.
You will have to cross Ram Jhula to reach Swarg Ashram (On the other side of river Ganges). From Delhi there are many trains to Haridwar, some of the best are :- Shatabadi Express, Jan Shatabdi, AC Special Express, Mussoorie Express. to buy a ticket.
Trains from Rishikesh
Rishikesh – Delhi 07:00
Rishikesh – Haridwar 08:10
Rishikesh – Bandikui 14:10
Rishikesh – Haridwar 14:20
Rishikesh – Haridwar 18:35
By Bus From Delhi the city is about 230 km away and is well connected with buses. A bus journey may take about 5-7 hours – depending on the traffic.
By Taxi: Taxis are widely available anywhere in India. The drive from/to Delhi lasts around 5 to 6 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
Distances from Rishikesh to the Major Cities –
Delhi (225 kms) Haridwar (24kms.) Dehradun (43kms.) Mussoorie (77kms.) Kedarnath (227kms.) Yamunotri (234kms.) Uttrakashi (154 kms.) Delhi (245kms.) Gangotri (248kms.) Nainital (260kms.) Shimla (262kms.) Govindghat (275kms.) Badrinath (300kms.) Agra (398kms.) Lucknow (555kms.)