TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

Rishikesh –The Spiritual and Adventure Tourism

Deepanshi Ahuja, Travel Writer, India

16 January 2018

Rishikesh, a charming city in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, offers the adventure lovers a plethora of exciting activities to test their skills. It is equally a spiritual place for the dedicated pilgrims. Having marvelous temples and pilgrimages sites, it is certainly a legendary place where every corner has great myths to spell out. Come and explore the destination where peace can be felt, excitement can be had and adventure can be experienced amid the tranquility and gushing sound of crystal clear waters. This is Rishikesh, a soil of gods, adventure and peace.

Visit the adventure capital of India, the marvelous and thrilling city of Rishikesh on your next vacation with your friends and family!  The ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’, Rishikesh is located at the base of the Himalayas and is blessed with the gorgeous, thundering river of Ganga, the popular trek friendly rugged terrains, challenging peaks, strenuous rapids and dense forests! If you are an ardent traveler, then Rishikesh makes for one of the most ideal weekend getaways near Delhi. Being one of the holiest cities in India, Rishikesh is quite famous for its scenic landscape and serves as a gateway to other important religious centers such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The adventurer paradise is a happening hub of many ancient temples and attractions such as Gita Bhawan, Laxman Jhula, Bharat Mandir, Neelkanth Mahadev, Swarga Ashram, Triveni Ghat amongst others! Grab your cameras and adventure gear and head to Rishikesh for an adventure packed holiday!

Distance from Delhi: 228km

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Attractions: Triveni Ghat, Ram and Lakshman Jhula, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple and Vashista Cave

Activities: River Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Camping, Rappelling, Rock Climbing and Trekking.

If you are one of those people who enjoys exploring places with a mountainous backdrop, Rishikesh is the ideal place for you to visit. The beautiful tranquil city of Rishikesh is located in southwest Uttarakhand and is termed as the “Gateway to the Garhwal Mountains”.

Being an important location that is steeped in history and scenery, Rishikesh has a lot of activities that one can indulge in. If you are there or planning to travel, there are a lot of things to do in Rishikesh. Be it Bungee Jumping or Kayaking, this place has it all. It’s not just high adrenaline activity that this place has to offer. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, there is the Beatles Ashram to visit or attend a Yoga class. After all, Rishikesh is termed as the “Yoga capital of the world”. So saddle up and have a fun time discovering the things to do in Rishikesh, a place that should be on your bucket list.Here are some of the best things to do in Rishikesh:

River Rafting

River Rafting is an activity that involves sailing on rapids on a rubber boat. It’s an adventure filled activity that has gained a popular momentum in the Indian adventure sports scene.

Rishikesh’s proximity to the upper Himalayas along with the passing of the Ganges through this city makes it a very popular spot for River Rafting. People flock to Rishikesh for this activity due to the virtue of its location. If you are visiting and want to go on an adrenaline-pumping activity, do put river rafting on your bucket list of things to do in Rishikesh. Best Season: Summers and monsoon are the best time for this activity because the stream is stronger. Approximate Cost: Ranges Between 3900 to 5000 Rs.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jumping is a fun activity that involves jumping from a tall structure like a vertical rail, building or cliff while suspended from a rope harness.

The fun lies in the jump and the recoil one encounters when they are bounced back and the rope is completely stretched out.It’s a very unique activity in India, having been introduced to Rishikesh a few years previously.  For those who enjoy an adrenaline filled activity, this is one should be on your list of things to do in Rishikesh. Best Season: This activity can be availed throughout the year. Approximate Cost: Between 4000 to 7000 Rs. Difficulty Level: It’s a slightly demanding activity as physical fitness is an absolute requisite for this activity.

Flying Fox

Flying Fox is basically another name for zip lining. Zip lining is an activity that involves sliding through a horizontal rope while attached to the rope through a harness.

The starting point is generally located at a higher altitude than the ending point in order to allow one to slide through the rope. The speed of sliding through a valley or between two cliffs is reason enough to try this at least once. It is an activity for all ages and is a lot of fun to participate in Best Season: This activity can be availed throughout the year. Approximate Cost: Ranges Between 3500 to 7500 Rs. Difficulty Level: This is an activity that can be availed by anyone who meets general physical fitness levels. For those who have heart conditions, blood pressure or diabetic, consult a doctor before participating in this activity.

Giant Swing

Much like Bungee Jumping, giant swing works on the same principle. But unlike Bungee Jumping which is a free fall, on a giant swing a person’s rope harness is connected to a holding point from where he swings.

To put it simply, imagine the person being a pendulum ball and swinging from one end to another.It is usually conducted at the same spot as Bungee Jumping because of the similarity between the activities.

The distance covered in a Giant Swing ranges between 1 – 1.5 km. It’s a thrilling activity that is sure to tickle your adventure bone.  Best Season: This activity can be availed throughout the year. Approximate Cost: Ranges Between 3500 to 7500 Rs. Difficulty Level: This is an activity that can be availed by anyone who meets general physical fitness levels. For those who have heart conditions, blood pressure or diabetic, consult a doctor before participating in this activity.

Camping

The beautiful mountain scenery along with the old world feeling of Rishikesh makes it a camper’s delight.

Rishikesh is one of those places which seems to be stuck in a time limbo, not overtly modern but not completely dwelling in the past.A place such as this has a lot of stories to be discovered making it the perfect spot to camp under the stars and marvel at the sight and sounds of the surroundings and the city.

Camping here will have a transcendental effect and is sure to delight you.  Best Season: Summers and spring are the best time because of the pleasant weather. Approximate Cost: Ranges Between 1000 to 6000 Rs.

Trekking

Imagine Majestic Mountains, fresh water rivers and streams, picturesque valleys and beautiful flora and fauna. Picture trekking through them and basking at the glory of all of these.

If this is something that interests and excites you then Rishikesh is the perfect spot for you to go trekking. Being at the foothills of the upper Himalayas, this is the ideal spot for anyone to trek in. Rishikesh’s proximity to places such as Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath makes it an ideal place to trek in or start trekking from. For a trip through nature and its preciousness, do put it on your bucket list of things to do in Rishikesh. Best Season: Summer, Autumn and Spring are the best time because of the pleasant weather. Approximate Cost: Ranges Between 3000 to 10000 Rs depending on location of trek. Difficulty Level: This is an activity that can be availed by anyone with basic physical fitness.

Cliff Jumping

Much like the name suggests, cliff jumping involves jumping off a cliff ranging between 20 to 50 feet into waters. It’s a fierce activity and not to be taken trivially as it requires strong will to jump into cold waters.

You could do it for the sport or as a hobby but it’s an activity that is sure to delight and excite you.Rishikesh is the perfect spot to indulge in this. So, take charge and take the leap of glory as you crash into the water and come out with a ton of good memories. Best Season: Summer- because of the pleasant weather and the ideal water temprature. Approximate Cost: Ranges Between 1750 to 4000 Rs. Difficulty Level: This is an activity that can be availed by anyone with basic physical fitness.

Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat

Not a lot of places in Rishikesh can boast the peace and calm that one experiences at Triveni Ghat and that is saying a lot.

Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat is a tranquil and peaceful experience that is sure to fill you with a sense of calm and quiet introspection. The Ganga Aarti is performed as a mark of respect and devotion to Goddess Ganga and is attended by hundreds and thousands of locals and tourists every day.

After sunset, the ghat lights up with the light from the lamps that are set afloat on leaf boats after the Aarti.It is truly a sight to behold and the power of spirituality can be truly understood and experienced making it a must thing to do in Rishikesh. Best Season: The Aarti is performed throughout the year.

Visit at Beatles Ashram

What do Beatles have in common with India? It’s The Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh. The Beatles are most renowned for their universal appeal and their flare but they are also popular for their travels to Rishikesh.

The Beatles Ashram is a beautiful testament to the grandeur that was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo and George Harrison’s Beatles and has a lot of memoirs and artifacts that give information about their time in India and their interaction with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was also the spot where they formulated a lot of their songs and some albums were even created there. For Beatles fans or fan of their genre of music, this is a definite place to add to their list of things to do in Rishikesh. Best Season: The Aashram can be visited throughout the year.

Treat yourself with Ayurvedic Massage

Riksgransen made our Top Ten for keeping the season alive well into June. Head north post Easter, while the rest of Europe’s lifts are closing, and you’ll be skiing at midnight over 200km north of the Arctic Circle.

And what better than an Ayurvedic massage. It is one of the best things to do in Rishikesh, to make your body feel special and cared for. I will quote a well-known saying- “If you take care of your body, it will take good care of you”. That’s the case with about everyone.We in our daily lives, go through tremendous pressures, tensions, workload, etc. that we get fatigued out. We start craving for a break, one that will rejuvenate, refresh and heal us. Ayurvedic massage in some of the best massage centres of Rishikesh, is just what you need. They will treat you with fragrance-filled, herbal and ayurvedic oils, that will not only free the tension and pressure out of your mind and body; but will also loosen up and relax your tense muscles.

Attend Yoga Classes

If you are in Rishikesh and don’t try your hand in Yoga, that would be like going to Delhi and not indulging in the local food.

Rishikesh is the Yoga capital of the world and has a lot of people who practice and teach this ancient exercise and meditation activity. Yoga helps in attending physical and mental prowess and calmness and is a very relaxing activity to indulge in.

A lot of places in Rishikesh offer Yoga classes for you to choose from. So, warm up and loosen those muscles as you take part in this ancient Indian tradition. Best Season: This activity can be availed throughout the year. Approximate Cost: Ranges between 900 to 2000 Rs..

Café Hopping

Once you have travelled across the length and breadth of Rishikesh, you can hop-in to one of the many cafeterias that line its streets.

It’s not just about having a coffee, it’s about having coffee in a café near the banks of river Ganga, or about having the same in the lap of Himalayas or yet, about enjoying a hot mug of coffee in the downtown across LakshmanJhula. One of the famous downtown cafes is the ‘Beatles Cafe’. It is said that ‘The Beatles’ band members visited this café, and ended up making lyrics of a new song in this café. Since then this café got a new name- The Beatles’ Café. Having coffee here, should be in your list of things to do in Rishikesh. The flavours are many, right from regular to choco latte to cold coffee to choco-ice-cream or the black coffee, and so on.

Rajaji National Park

There is still one big thing left out for all those of you, adventure seekers and thrill lovers. And that thing is Hot Air Ballooning over the skies of Rishikesh.

One of the best things to do in Rishikesh is to take a safari along with a local guide, across Rajaji National Park. The park is known to have the maximum number of elephants across India. It also has a wide variety of wild animals such as Sambar deer, barking deer, Antelopes like Nilgai and Goral, tiger, leopard and monkeys. Adding to this kitty, there is a huge variety of Himalayan birds, numbering to 400 species. Some of the most sought-after birds by tourists and bird-watchers include Scaly Thrush, Rusty Treecreeper, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Bush Warbler, Leaf Warbler, Black-necked Stork and Blue Magpie.

Visit Lakshman Jhula

Another one of the things to do in Rishikesh is taking a walk on Lakshman Jhula and enjoying the soft breeze of air that gushes past you, giving you a much refreshing fresh air, which is hard to get these days in cities, due to pollution.

Just stand in the middle of the bridge and enjoy the majestic view o the massive river Ganga that flows below. Lakshman Jhula is an iron bridge made on suspension across the Ganges.

The bridge is of great importance as it connects ‘Tapovan’ village of Tehri Garhwal on the western side, with ‘Jonk’ village of Pauri Garhwal on the eastern side.According to the legend of Ramayana, Lakshman crossed Ganges using a bridge made of rope during his exile with elder brother Lord Ram and his wife Sita. Later an iron bridge was constructed at the same place from 1927-1929, which today is known as LakshmanJhula.

Hot Air Ballooning

There is still one big thing left out for all those of you, adventure seekers and thrill lovers. And that thing is Hot Air Ballooning over the skies of Rishikesh.

It should be at no.1 in your list about things to do in Rishikesh as the kind experience and excitement it brings with it, is comparable to none. You will get to sit in an air balloon, which will be tied to, lifted up, and floated by a light aircraft to get you to the required heights. Once you have reached the correct altitude, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the valley and mountains, with birds chirping close to you in the sky.You will feel like flying, free from all the hullabaloo of the world that dwells below. This ride is counted as Air Safari, one of the best ways to enjoy the natural scenic beauty of Rishikesh.

Eat at Chottiwala Restaurant

One of the best things to do in Rishikesh is eat your heart out at Chottiwala restaurant and spoil yourself in food outing. Located on the banks of river Ganga, this restaurant opened way back in 1958.

Since then it has been serving traditional Indian cuisine food items of north India, at very affordable prices.The restaurant is known for not just its tasty, but also nutritious and healthy food. The best part is that despite being crowded, you don’t have to wait for more than half an hour to get your order on your table. The Chottiwala restaurant also serves many South Indian, Garhwali and Chinese dishes.Foreigners need not worry, because Chottiwala also serves Continental food in which you can have the required amount of spices in your platter, as you like, to spoil your taste buds. It also offers many sweet dishes and other delicacies to spoil yourself.