Rishikesh is a city of the district of Dehradun in the state of Uttarakhand, in India. It is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. Its imposing natural beauty, beautiful climate and religious fervor attract a large number of backpackers annually. But what attracts travelers to Rishikesh more is a fantastic array of adventures the city has to offer. Enriched by the mighty Ganges River, lush forests and high peaks of the Himalayas, Rishikesh boasts numerous adventure activities travelers to explore.
This city is best known as the birthplace of Yoga. So, between the things to do in Rishikesh you have a massive range of options for Yoga Retreats, Yoga Teacher Training and many other Yoga Related Activities.
Besides this, there are many other things to do in Rishikesh like:
RAFTING AND MOUNTAIN ROUTES
Rishikesh has a number of hiking trails that offer breathtaking views and magnificent vegetation to savor. Fresh mountain air hit your face, incredible landscapes receive you with joy and a unique spirit of excitement; you will get a remarkable trekking sensation at high Himalayan peaks in Rishikesh. Uttarkashi is an important hiking center with Har-ki-Dun, Dodital and Gaumukh being the base cities for hiking. Numerous private operators offer special packages to practice trekking for what is safe and pleasant experience.
Besides Yoga, one of the most famous things to do in Rishikesh is Rafting. Depending on your capacity and energy level, you can search for water adventures in Rishikesh. Powerful Ganges passes through the city, offering excellent rafting opportunities. Several private companies offer safety features and other rafting facilities in Rishikesh. Shivpuri, about 15 km from Rishikesh, is the main point for rafting. Apart from that, one can take Brahmpuri and Kaudiyala as well, depending on the water rapids he wants to fight. The water flow in the region varies from slow to wild, which makes rafting something for everyone here.
This activity is often associated with rafting on the Ganges River. Near Brahmpuri, where the water flow is slow, people enjoy such activities. Cliff diving is truly a fun-filled activity, but it requires bravery and high spirit to jump into the chilling water of the Ganga. But once you do, the feeling is incredible quite difficult to describe with words.
After rafting in brilliant Ganga, this is the most attractive activity to do in Rishikesh. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the sun and water lying quietly on Ganga sand beaches. Enjoy differents game activities or explore the incredible flora and fauna. Wildlife through camping in Rishikesh. Today, Rishikesh has become the center and most favorite place in North India for camping. Thousands of travelers come here to relax and rejuvenate with the calm and beauty of nature. Associated activities such as bird watching and the forest behind add more pleasure camping trip to Rishikesh.
Perhaps the most exciting thing to do in Rishikesh, is Bungee Jumping. Your foot will be tied at the ankles with a long elastic cords and you’ll be asked to jump from a large height. when you are falling, you’ll be able to see a flashback of your memories. And when you return from completing the task, an incredible feeling of excitement and joy will spread into a sweet smile on the face from ear to ear.
PLACES TO GO
Rishikesh is known for its wonderful scenery and contact with nature and animals. Among the things to do in Rishikesh, you can not miss the following places:
Arti iI of Parmarth
Surely you like to attend an arti il in the ghat of Parmarth. Each afternoon at about five or six there is an offering of candles and flowers to Mother Ganga (the river). It is a very colorful tradition where you can share with Indian people of all ages. They will invite you to participate if you respectfully stand between them (do not worry, you do not have to sing, you just have to sail the candle in circles like them). This ritual is supervised by a statue of Shiva in a yoga pose, which is in the middle of the river. To access this ritual you must be barefoot.
You can enjoy with one eye the artimar of Parmarth but watch with the other the homa, which is performed at the same time under the arcs of the ghat. The homa are a rishi practice in which certain elements are offered to a fire considered purifier to gain the favor of the divinity. This act is more intimate but is not prohibited to observe with discretion.
Almost every day ceremonies are also held in the ghat of Lakshman Jhula. These are more of a tourist attraction than a real religious-cultural manifestation, it is not uncommon for there to be more foreigners than Indians in them, and certainly there are far fewer participants than Parmarth. Yet, they are pleasing to the senses, although they have little to do with the spectacle offered by a real artii.
Ashram of The Beatles
Many have been visitors to Rishikesh but the four of Liverpool are probably the most famous. The Beatles came here in the winter of 1968 to meditate on the hand of Maharishi Mahesh and, to compose a few songs. Some of these songs can find them on the albums: White Album, Helter Skelter, Revolution and Back in the URSS.
In the present, you can visit the complex where they spent their time in India John, Paul, George and Ringo. Although the jungle eats the ashram in snacks it is possible to walk comfortably among its more than 80 meditation halls, even enter some as well as in their guest houses.
On the ground floor of one of these buildings is a hall of meditation full of allusions to the English musicians and different gurus. In another of the guesthouses you can climb to the roof where they tell that the British used to play their music. However, do not expect much of the Beatles’ so-called ashram, its state is quite unfortunate.
In the things to do in Rishikesh, we found the religious ceremonies. Rishikesh is a sacred city that attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over India. Its relevance is due to its condition of starting point of the ‘Char Dham’, the four places of pilgrimage revered by the Hindus. That is why religious ceremonies and rites abound in the city. These are our favorites:
–The homage to the Ganges Goddess, Ganga Aarti: there are several photographs of the Beatles attending this ceremony on the banks of the sacred river and John Lennon went so far as to say that it was the ritual that most impressed him during his stay in India. Every day at dusk, in the presence of a huge statue of Lord Shiva, bhajans and mantras are continually repeated in a perfect choreography at the Parmarth Niketan ashram.
Before a fire, the residents of the ashram, immaculate white, interpret the hawan, a sacred ritual of purification with offerings to the Agni God. The candlelit offerings are thrown into the Ganges at the climax of a ceremony capable of stirring the spirit of the most skeptical. The Ganga Aarti is a ceremony open to everyone. We recommend that you arrive early (about 17.30 in the winter and 19.00 in the summer) to get a good place and to fully enjoy the environment.
–A new day: every morning the sunrise is celebrated in the ashrams with the chants of bhajans and mantras in a unique ritual. Yoga and meditation students join the priest’s’ children in an intimate ceremony, perfect to start the new day in “total spirituality.” You will find them everywhere but those of the Divine Life Society Ashram are especially interesting.
–Hindu Wedding Ceremony: The Hindu Wedding Ceremony celebrates the start of the Vivaha or marriage. This commitment is among the sixteen samskaras; a group of sacraments that mark and sanctify our passage through life. The Hindu Wedding is the representation of a romantic story. The bride and groom arrive to the mandap and they fall in love. They ask for the permission of their parents to get married and become aware of the implications of this commitment.
During the wedding rituals the couple pledges to be faithful to each other. They recite their vows before the guests and a ceremonial fire (Agni), which represents the Divine. Then they walk seven steps, committing to seven vows for their joint life and prosperity.
Finally, the family and friends shower the couple in blessings and good wishes, and they leave the mandalap.
AYURVEDA OR KNOWLEDGE FOR A LONG LIFE
Even Ayurveda is actually found in Kerala, in recent years there have proliferated in Rishikesh multitude of centers of this system of traditional Indian medicine. And if you are introducing yourself in the spiritual world and healthy life. Why not try these natural herbal treatments and oils?
A specialist in Ayurvedic medicine determines the body type of each person (called dosha) through the analysis of the pulse, eyes and tongue. Based on this profile is established a treatment of herbal health problems and adapted dietary guidelines. This process is usually completed with a purifying body massages, called the Panchakarma.
SHOPPING AND RELAXING
Antoher thing to do in Rishikesh is shoppinh. They have so many tourists compared to other places in India, and it is a good and bad place to shop. It is good because there is a lot of trade, good items and more variety. But is bad because having more foreign prices can be more expensive than in other stores and markets.
Even so, the prices are still affordable for the American, European and Latin American pocket. It offers a great variety of textile and related products to the world of yoga. You can also find seeds (such as rudraya), gems, precious stones embedded in jewelery, and many Indian music and books. You also have the most typical and tacky souvenirs in the world.
So here you have it. If you plan to visit Rishikesh on your next vacation, do not forget to go to any of these places.