Rishikesh, the capital of Yoga, has been a magnet for spiritual seekers for centuries. It lies at the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the holy river Ganges. Temple chanting and temple ringing bells create the atmosphere in the morning and the air is filled with meditative mantras. During the night, pujas (ceremonies) send camphor-flame-leaf boats drifting down the river, a wondrous sight of twinkling lights. Rishikesh is the home to many ashrams.
The spiritual aura pervades all aspects of society and the people of Rishikesh are warm and friendly. Most of the ashrams and meditation centres are north of the main town, making the most of the tranquility of the surrounds where the mystical Ganges is hemmed by serene forested hills. Part of the experience of Rishikesh is getting involved in spirituality in some way: there are many forms of yoga from the ancient to the modern; all styles of meditation; therapeutic massage and much more.
The other side of Rishikesh is its outdoor activities. Several gentle walks lead to beautiful waterfalls. For thrill-seekers it offers white-water rafting and is a gateway to treks in the Himalayas.
Filled with ashrams, shrines, temples, pilgrims and wandering sadhus holy men; Rishikesh has an entirely unique atmosphere of peace and calm.
Trekking up to Neel Kanth Mahadev | The colourful multitude of floating lamp-filled baskets released at the riverside temple of Parmarth Niketan Ashram | Viewing the multi-story temples of Swarg Niwas and Shri Trayanbakshwar from the suspension bridge over the Ganges
− Hindus believe bathing in the waters of the Ganges can remove their bad karma and purify them
− A visit to a local ashram by Britsih pop band, The Beetles, in the sixties popularised the town internationally