Tucked in the foothills of the Himalayas, characterized by unparalleled serenity, picturesque sights, fragrance of sanctity and the holy river Ganges, Rishikesh is a beautiful small town in the Uttarakhand state in the northern India. Legend states that when Raibhya Rishi did hard penances, God appeared by the name of “Rishikesh” and this area henceforth came to be known as Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a sacred place for the Hindus. It is believed that the holy journey of Char Dham (4 pilgrimages) begins from Rishikesh. But the place has gained glory internationally too. It is regarded as the “world capital of Yoga” ever since the Beatles came here to visit the Mahrishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram (now closed).
The blessed city of Rishikesh attracts millions of tourists every year. People love to take a dip in the holy river Ganges and spend time on its banks watching the lively activities going around. The Triveni Ghat is quite popular amongst all the river banks because daily in the morning numerous people take bath here and enjoy the Maha Aarti being performed by the pundits in the evening.
The city is known for its magnificent temples that have a great mythological significance. The Tapovan area which literally means ‘the forest of meditation’ has several archaic temples including a big temple dedicated to Lord Rama’s brothers, Laskmana and Bharata. The Neelkantha Mahadeva Temple of Lord Shiva, located at a distance of 12 kms from Rishikesh at a height of 5000 feet, is a very popular and worth visiting divine shrine.
Other must see sights in Rishiskesh are the Lakshman Jhula, which is an old 450 feet long suspension bridge that was built in 1939 over the River Ganges. People from different parts of the world take delight in walking down this historical bridge and getting a lifetime experience. Located at one of the ends of the Lakshman Jhula is the grand Trayambaskeshwar Temple which is famous for its mesmerizing art and architecture.
The Swarga Ashram is another popular area in Rishikesh. The place is known for the numerous temples, eating joints and shops here. Across the Laskhman Jhula is the newly constructed building Gita Bhavan which is a great structure that houses some of the attractive paintings and statues from the Hindu mythology.
But sight seeing is not all that makes Rishikesh interesting. The city boasts of some thrilling activities such as white water rafting, canoeing, hiking and trekking. Every year countless young and enthusiastic people visit Rishikesh to experience the fun.
Rishikesh is also an ideal destination for those who want to do yoga, enjoy some typical Indian vegetarian food and herbal drinks such as Ayurvedic teas, buy some religious paraphernalia, cheap clothes and bronze statues and check out the ashrams of the sages to study meditation etc.
The best part about Rishikesh is that it can be easily visited at any time of the year i.e. anytime of the year is the best time to visit Rishikesh except for those who wish to take part in water sports and do trekking. The city is easily accessible through rail, road and air.
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