Rishikesh is located in the northern part of Uttar Pradesh.
It is 238 km northeast of Delhi and 24 km north of Haridwar
and spreads on the right banks of the Ganges, at its confluence
with the Chandrabhanga stream. It is surrounded by hills on
three sides and is perched at an altitude of 356 meters above
sea level. The name Rishikesh is loosely applied to an association
of five distinct sections encompassing not only the town but
also hamlets and settlements on both sides of the river.
These include Rishikesh itself, the commercial and communication
hub; the sprawling suburban Muni-ki-Reti or the "sands
of the sages"; Shivananda Nagar, north of Rishikesh; the
temple section of Lakshmanjhula, a little further north; and
the assorted ashrams around Swarg Ashram on the east bank. In
Rishikesh, the winters last from November to March, when temperatures
fall below 0 C. The monsoons are generally experienced in the
months of July and August.
Legend has it that the sage Raibhya Rishi did severe penance
and, as a reward, God appeared to him in the form of Hrishikesh.
Rishikesh also represents the site where Lord Vishnu vanquished
the demon Madhu. The place is known as the Tapo Bhumi or the
place for meditation of the Gods. Tapovan, on the other bank
of the Ganges, houses a temple to Lakshmana. It is believed
that Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama, carried out
penance here. The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is believed to be
the site where Lord Shiva had drunk the venom that came out
during the churning of the ocean. In the 1960s, the place came
into limelight as the place where the pop group Beatles met
their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
How to get there
Air: The nearest airport is Dehradun (Jolly
Grant), 25 kms. Vayudoot services operates from Delhi to Dehradun
Rail: Rishikesh is connected by rail via Haridwar
(24 kms), to Howrah, Bombay, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun
and other cities.
Road: By road Rishikesh to Haridwar 24 kms,
Dehradun 47 kms, Mussoorie 77 kms, Badrinath 301 kms (Son Prayag),
Kedarnath 228 kms, Gangotri 258 kms, Yamunotri 288 kms (Hanuman
Chatti), Srinagar 105 kms, Joshimath 252 kms.
Pilgrimage Attractions of Rishikesh
Lakshmanan Jhula: This suspended Iron bridge
was build in 1939 and has been a major attraction among the
tourists to Rishikesh. It is said that Lakshman crossed Ganga
on jute ropes between the places where this bridge is built.
The Ganges appears very panoramic from the bridge. One can enjoy
the picturesque surroundings and the cool breeze from the River
while standing on the bridge. If you feel like feeding the fish
in the Ganges, take a boat and cross the river. The boat ride
makes the bridge appear more gorgeous. Close to LakshmanJuhla
is the Ram Jhula - This suspended bridge was recently built
between Shivanand Ashram and Sawarg Ashram. It is similar to
the Lakshman Jhula. Ram Juhla is also known as Shivanand Jhula.
Bharat Mandir: Built by Adiguru Shankra Chrya
around 12th century, Bharat Mandir is situated in the heart
of the old town on the Banks of the Ganges. Detailed accounts
of this oldest temple of Rishikesh are available in ancient
record of Kearkhand. The Inner sanctum of the temple has the
idol of lord Vishnu, carved out of a single Saligram. In the
inner canopy above the idol is shree yantra installed by Adi
Sankraya Charya. The original temple was destroyed by Taimur
lane in 1398 A.D. Lot of old statues, coins, pots and other
things of historical importance were found in recent excavations
in the premises of the temple.
Parmarth Niketan: One of the most renowned
temple complex and ashram in the area. Known for its substantial
work on Hinduism, three is a school run on traditional Indian
Patterns. The ashram organises excellent Ganga Arti and Hawan
on the Parmarth Ghat every evening.
Transcendental Centre of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Situated on the extreme end of Geeta Bhawan area , Marishi's
TM centre is situated in the peaceful forest area. Once the
most active branch has nothing much to offer to the visitors
Kunjapuri Temple: Drive to Kunja Puri, one
of the thirteen most important Goddesses of Shivalik range,
the lower Himalayas.One can witness excellent sunrise or sunset
on the Greater Hiamalayan Peaks and the vast Indo Gangetic plains.
One can see almost all the peaks of Garhwal Himalayas from here
eg Banderpunch (6316 Mts), Swarga Rohini (6252 Mts), Gangotri
(6672 mts), Chaukhamba (7138 mts) etc.
Vasishtha Goofa: One hour drive from Rishikesh
up river is situated Vasishtha Goofa, where famous saint Vasishtha
meditated on the banks of the Ganges. The cave is very peaceful
and is a perfect place for meditation.
Rishikund: Close to Trivenighat is the most
ancient place, the Rishikund. Anciant records relate this to
Kubz Saint, who was blessed by the Goddess Yamuna by saturating
this pond by its water.The pond reflects the temple of Ragunath
, deidicated to lord Rama and his wife.
Nilkanth Mahadeo: Mythology says that in the
ancient times when the ocean was being churned for 'amrit' (Potion
for immortality), first venom oozed out. Lord Shiva drank the
venom at a place, which is now called Nilkanth Mahadeo. It is
12 kms from Rishikesh and is surrounded by peaceful forests.
Ashrams and other Spiritual Centres in Rishikesh
Yoga Study Centre: One of the best and most
dedicated ashram to Hatha Yoga. Yoga classes are held in the
morning and in the evening every day under the supervision of
Shree Rudra Dev, one of the most dedicated yoga teethed in the
RamJhula Area: Shiva Nanda Ashram (Divine
Life Society): One of the oldest and most active ashrams in
the area. Spiritual as well as activities related with Hinduism
are the practiced here every day. The ashram runs the best and
biggest charitable hospital from which hundreds of local people
get free medical services every day.Ashram also runs yoga and
meditation courses very often.
Parmarth Niketan: One of the most active ashrams
in the area. Ashram runs traditional Indian School, Guesthouse
and Ganga Arti every evening.
Ved Niketan: Ashram runs yoga and Mediatation
classes regularly. Govt is planning to have its First Yoga Acedemy
in India, in the ashram. Transcendental Meditation Centre of
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Once the most active ashrams in sixties
has very few activities rarely. The ashram is best located in
the forests on the banks Ganga and is ideal for meditation
Sacha Vedic Sansthan: One of the most active ashram in tapovan
area. Ashram has its own guesthouse on the river and organises
spiritual and Hindu religious activities very often.