Rishikesh, located in the idyllic foothills of the Himalayas, is also known as the yoga capital of the world. It’s considered one of the holy cities in Hinduism as it is where the holy river Ganges flows out of the Himalayas onto the alluvial plain of northern India.
Take a bath in the Ganges where it is still clean and unpolluted, hike in the surrounding hills, go whitewater rafting or enjoy a yoga session while in Rishikesh.
Many people who visit Rishikesh do so for spiritual reasons. Often, they decide to stay in an ashram, a place where one can stay to reflect and practice yoga and meditation. Ashrams abound in the city of Rishikesh. They are open to anyone, whether for spiritual reasons, to retreat from busy modern life, or just out of plain interest in experiencing life in an ashram. Though anyone is welcome to stay in an ashram, it is expected to respect the silence and serenity of the place. Alcohol, drugs and meat are not allowed.
For those who don’t like the idea of waking up at 4 am to meditate, there is a range of hostels available. Hostels are mainly located between the Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula bridges, northeast of the center, near the river Ganga. Many hostels in Rishikesh offer free yoga lessons as well.
Be aware that, as it is a holy city, meat, fish, eggs and alcohol are not allowed in Rishikesh. These items will neither be served in any of the restaurants nor sold in any of the shops.
For fans of pop music, Rishikesh is the place where the Beatles got inspired by Indian culture to write many of their later songs. The ashram where the famous group stayed can still be seen, though in a state of deterioration.
Rishikesh is an hour north from Haridwar, which can be reached by rail from Delhi. There are also buses connecting Rishikesh to various other cities in India.
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