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India >> Uttarakhand >> Garhwal >> Rishikesh
Rishikesh Garhwal, Uttarakhand
  Overview   Holiday Ideas 
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Rishikesh a city so divine and one of the holiest cities of India, deeply entrenched in spiritualism and sacredness is also known as the Yoga Capital of The World. Everyday, thousands of pilgrims throng this city situated on the banks of the River Ganga, in the foothills of the Himalayas, 25 km from the holy city of Haridwar (Uttarakhand).

 

Many come here on a spiritual quest. Rishikesh is a seat for meditation and yoga with several temples (ancient and recent) and ashrams dotting the river bank and many of which are entwined with our mythology and history. Same goes for its name - Hrishikesh, a name of Vishnu, Hrishik' means Senses and 'ish' means master or Lord. Hence the word means 'Lord of Senses' or Lord Vishnu.

 

The place so scared and belief so strong, that a holy dip in the river Ganges is supposed to cleanse a person of his/ her sins. The chants of mantras, the peal of the temple bells, the flickering flames of oil lamps and the serenity helps in intensifying its religious fervour and to complement it, its beautiful landscapes are a pleasure to behold.

 

Aptly named, 'The Gateway to the Himalayas', with rich natural diversity it beckons adventure seekers with an array of activities; be it on the turbulent rapids or the overhanging cliffs. A place of call for the brave-hearts!

 

Rishikesh is the gateway to the famous salvation trip, the Chardham which includes Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

 Orientation

Rishikesh is a perfect haven for those in pursuit of adventure with activities like rafting, trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering and many more to choose from. It's the land of the mighty, raging Ganga sculpting the landscape as she gushes down the majestic mountains, the Himalayas. A wonderful niche thus created above Rishikesh is a splendid training arena for the greenhorns.

 

As the Ganges begins her descent to the plains she is calmer and quieter with wide beaches along her sprawling banks teeming with life and rapids changing their characteristic with her shifting moods.

 

Rafting over these rapids is a thrilling experience and at places extremely challenging. Kayaking is another sport to lookout for. There are campsites upstream all along the Badrinath highway, north of Rishikesh. Shivpuri village is the epicentre for rafting at Rishikesh. A ride to savour and enjoy as one descends miles downstream - to the holy city below. Some camps offer more challenging and longer rafting experiences beginning way upstream from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh .

 

Haridwar and the Kumbh Mela

Haridwar (or Hardwar) located at the juncture where the river Ganga emerges from the Himalaya in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, is the holiest Hindu city in Uttarakhand, India. The city is more significant than Rishikesh as pilgrims come here in droves; it is extremely chaotic with its religious clamour and the mega events - the pilgrimage yatras (Mela).

 

Haridwar is very busy during its 'Melas', of which the Kumbh Mela is the biggest and most auspicious occurring four times every twelve years. Millions of pilgrims, Sadhus and Gurus converge from all over India and foreign shores at this mass pilgrimage mela.

 

It occurs four times every twelve years the venue shifts between the four sacred destinations: Allahabad (Prayag) at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna and mythical Saraswati River, Haridwar along Ganga River, Ujjain along the Kshipra River and Nashik along the Godavari River, so a Kumbh Mela is practically held every three years across the four locations. One of the major aspects of this mela is wrathful yet fascinating Naga Sadhus (The Naked ones) with ash smeared bodies and matted hair, are known as preservers of faith.

 

Rajaji National Park

Rajaji National Park, spread over an area of 820.42 sq km is one of the largest and unspoilt parks at the Himalayan foothills near Haridwar are a nesting ground for migratory birds from world over.  One of the base and entry point to visit the park is at Chilla, a village 17 km drive from Rishikesh.

 

Rajaji is a major wildlife reserve of northern India, distinct for its pristine scenic beauty and rich bio-diversity. An ideal habitat for a varied range of fauna and flora of the Terai region, its a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The parks ecosystem is well balanced; herds of wild elephants, tigers, leopards, deer and ghorals roam the grounds. It is an excellent place to catch sight of 23 species of mammals and 315 species of bird, indigenous as well as migratory which adds to its interest and to name a few, are the pea fowls, woodpeckers, pheasants, kingfishers and barbets.

 Getting there

Location

 

North-east of Haridwar.

 

 

Distance

 

25 km from the holy city of Haridwar (Uttarakhand).

 Fast Facts
Name Rishikesh Best Time To Visit April to June; September to November
Location Garhwal   Uttarakhand   North   India  
Open From 0000-00-00  To 0000-00-00 Type Foot Hills
Temperature Summar   25-30C      Winter   5-10C      Rainy   20-26C
 Map
 
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