The twin cities in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, Haridwar and Rishikesh, have a major importance in a spiritual tour in India. Both the cities are situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges and surrounded by the Himalayas. Thousands of pilgrims visit the places for a grand experience of spiritual elevation. No meat or alcohol is allowed within these cities, to retain their sanctity.
Rishikesh is named after lord Vishnu, who appeared before Saint Raivya after his meditation. The name Rishikesh means ‘the lord of Senses’. The city has a pleasant weather throughout the year and any time is suitable for visiting the city.
The Ram Jhula and the Lakshman Jhula are two important bridges in Rishikesh. It is believed that Shri Rama and his brother Lakshmana crossed the Ganges following the paths where the bridges have been developed later.
In this article we discuss five important things you must do in Rishikesh.
1. Spiritual Elevation
Rishikesh is primarily famous for its spiritual importance. There are a number of Yoga Ashramas for practicing meditation. Rishikesh is the beginning of the famous Char Dham Yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath). There are a number of Ayurveda centres also where you can experience the ancient healing methods for body and mind.
The Swargashram houses a number of temples and ashramas. It is a place of pure spiritual practices among a truly holy environment. The heavenly sight of aarti on the bank of the Ganges is something that everyone will cherish.
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2. Temple Visit
The spiritual center of the north is dotted with temples. The Neelkantha Mahadev temple is a hill-top temple on the outskirts of Rishikesh and the Tryambakeshwar temple is on the banks of the Ganges.
The Bharat Mandir was established on the banks of the holy Ganges in around 12th Century by Guru Shri Shankaracharya. Inside the temple, there is an idol of lord Vishnu, made out of a single Saligram. Shri Shankaracharya also placed the Shri Yantra above the Vishnu idol.
3. The Holy Dip at Triveni Ghat
The confluence of the three holy rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati is known as the Triveni Ghat. It is this Sangam where pilgrims can take a holy dip in the waters; which are believed to rid one of all sins and making the soul purer.
4. The Thrill of Adventure
White water rafting and Bungee jumping are the adventure activities to be enjoyed in Rishikesh. Several travel companies offer water rafting on the Ganges. The difficulty level varies from level 1-5. It starts with an overnight camp on the bank of Ganges and the next morning is scheduled for a trek on the hills. The ideal season for rafting is September-November, or March-May. One can also go for rafting courses if their interests so beckon.
Rock Climbing, Rappelling or Cliff Jumping—one can go undertake all these activities in Rishikesh, considering that the person has enough physical and mental strength and also some basic skills. All these are done under the guidance of experts and with adequate safety measures.
5. Shopping in Rishikesh
As Rishikesh attracts a big number of tourists throughout the year, one can find shops with a plethora of religious and handcraft items, sprawled all over the city. The UP Handloom, Garhwal Wool or the Khadi Shop offer authentic fabric and woollen items at reasonable prices. You can carry beautiful sarees, shawls, pearls and bead items back home, to cherish your travel memories.