Okay, so let’s face it, most of us still know little about Rishikesh beyond the fact that it has recently turned into the rafting capital of the nation. Travellers and adventure enthusiasts are desperate to beat the heat in the white waters of the Ganges; more so is the case with the denizens of Delhi and other North Indian cities. But apart from the raft-rage, there’s much more to Rishikesh - the Gateway to the Himalayas. After a brief introduction of the pilgrim paradise, let’s take a look at some other attractions to look out for in Rishikesh.
For those who have never heard of it, Rishikesh is a sacred city in Uttarakhand which lies nestled in the foothills of the lower Himalayas. Located in close proximity to Haridwar (20 kilometres), Rishikesh is 220 kilometres from New Delhi. Being a place of religious significance, it is strictly vegetarian and alcohol stands no chance amidst the spiritual highs of Rishikesh.
A paradise for the pious, Rishikesh is dotted with domes of ancient temples where pilgrims from all over the world come to seek blessings from the myriad gods and goddesses of the Hindu culture. Being the starting point of the Char Dham Yatra, Rishikesh is a holy haven of the pilgrims with endless possibilities to connect with their spiritual selves. Meditation, Yoga, kriyas and pujas are a way of life in these hillocks around Ganges.
There are several ancient temples scattered around the Lakshman Jhoola, a 500-feet bridge which spans across the mighty Ganges. Some important places of religious significance are Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Tryambakeshwar Temple and Triveni Ghat, the point which marks the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati. No starters here, but it sure is a chilly dip, especially spine-freezing during the winter months!
For those who wish to venture out and pump up the adrenaline, there are several outdoor activities which include water skiing, mountain biking, trekking and rock climbing at Kaudilya, which is a natural spot for an adventurous uphill climb. The dense forests that surround Kaudilya also give you a chance to get a glimpse of the wildlife thriving in its natural habitat. What’s more, there are also arrangements for overnight camps with bonfire along the banks of the river.
To sum it up, you must explore a bit more of Rishikesh. There’s as much to explore on land as there is in the white waters of the Ganges.