The Ultimate Rishikesh Travel Guide:Top Things to do and See

During my early travel days, I have visited Uttarakhand in India many times. I have explored Parts of Uttarakhand like Badrinath and Kedarnath, Nainital, and other Himalayan regions over a decade, but Rishikesh remains one of my favorite destinations of all. I visited Rishikesh and Haridwar when I visited Dehradun and Mussoorie. Here is the Rishikesh travel Guide to visit in 2 days including all the best Places to Visit, Places to Stay, and best places to eat in Rishikesh.

Rishikesh is a spiritual town and famous as the Yoga capital of India nestled along the River Ganga which makes it more special. There are lots of experiences in Rishikesh like a Piece of calmness, learning Yoga and establishing a healthy food routine, indulging in adventure, or just want to experience the nature and culture of India. There are so many activities to offer in Rishikesh for every type of travelers from solo, budget to family travel. The 2 days in Rishikesh can pass in a whim as there is so much to do in one of my favorite places in India.

If you are planning your trip to Rishikesh, read on my ultimate Rishikesh Travel Guide- Top Things to do, Best Places to Visit, Places to Stay, and Where to Eat in Rishikesh.

Rishikesh Travel Guide: Top Places to Visit in Rishikesh

Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula

One of the Prime highlights of your time in Rishikesh will be passing through these two bridges over a number of times! The main tourist activities happen around the Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula and considered as the best tourist place in Rishikesh. Jhula means Bridge in English and its main attractions in Rishikesh. The names of Bridges are according to Hindu Mythology and it is said that Ram and Laxman had crossed the Ganges through these two Bridges.

The bridges are for Pedestrians only but two-wheeler traffic is allowed and it may get crowded a bit and traffic jams on the bridge is common! Also, the Laxman Jhula area is most touristy and you will find many Yoga Classes, Cafes, and live music nights- you can say all the fun activities happen on this side. Whereas on Ram Jhula side- you can find Ganga Aarti over the Ghats in the evening and its less touristy area of Rishikesh.

The Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh

One of the top attractions and best places to visit in Rishikesh by foreigners is the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh. In the early ’60s Beatles developed the live Ashram in Rishikesh which is almost deserted today. You can gaze at beautiful Beatles artwork, visit abandoned buildings, and the meditation chambers made of stones from the Ganges. The Rishikesh Sightseeing is incomplete without visiting the Beatles Ashram.

Neer Garh Waterfall

The Neer Garh waterfall- Blue waterfall also known as ‘Neer Gaddu’ is located 7 km from Lakshman Jhula on Rishikesh Badrinath Highway. There is a small 1 Km trek involved to reach the waterfall which passes through the forest. The crystal blue water of the waterfall seems soothing and serene. One can soak into the pool, dip their feet in the water, or just simply can bath in the cold water.

If you further trek 2 Km from the first waterfall, there is one bigger waterfall which has a larger Pool. You can see different wildflowers and species of butterflies fluttering around the flowers. The dip in this beautiful waterfall will refresh you. The Post Monsoon is the best time to visit Neer Garh waterfall as it cascades from thousands of feet high hillock. You can drive to Neer Garh waterfall easily from Ram Jhula, Laxman Jhula, and Tapovan area in Rishikesh. It is a perfect day trip and Picnic spot for locals as well as tourists to escape the crowd.

Kunjapuri Temple

Kunjapuri Devi Temple is one of the sacred temples of Uttarakhand located atop the hill. The temple is located at 5400 feet in Kunjapuri Village attracts many tourists for its magnificent Sunrise. You can see surrounding Himalayan Peaks and incredible views of the river Ganges from the temple. The Kunjapuri Sunrise trek is one of the must-do activities and top things to do in Rishikesh. It is easily doable by a Group trip or by Motorbike.

It is located 25 Km from Rishikesh and the easy short trek will give you a glimpse of how the sun comes from behind snow-covered peaks, view of Sunrise amazing view of sunrise along with mountains & valley, sit there for some time for meditation & yoga and visit many years old Goddess temple. For the trek, one has to reach super early at 5:00 AM in Winter and 4.00 AM in Summer. There are many Group tours for Kunjapuri Temple Sunrise Trek or you can drive your own car if you are lazy for the trek.

Geeta Bhawan: A Free Shelter

Don’t have enough Budget to Stay in Rishikesh?? not to worry and head over to Geeta Bhawan in Rishikesh. This is one of the best Rishikesh tourist places and features many folk tales and has been a famous pilgrimage for ages. It is one of the main ancient shrine complexes in Rishikesh and the walls of the shrine bear the writings from the well-known epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Gita Bhawan Ashram is situated in the Swargashram region of Rishikesh, one of the biggest and famous ashrams in Rishikesh.No trip to Rishikesh is complete without a stay at this free shelter.

The huge complex of Geeta Bhawan has several discourse halls and over 1000 rooms for the comfortable stay of devotees free of cost. Even if you are not staying here, just a glimpse into the complex will give you a different insight into the living life of India. It is said to offer shelter to more than 1000 Pilgrims every day and is one of the best places to visit in Rishikesh.

Tera Manzil Temple

Tera Manzil Temple is one of the famous and must-visit places in Rishikesh. The holy multi-story temple located on the banks of river Ganga in Rishikesh also called up as Trimbakeshwar Temple. The holy shrine has 13 stories and each story has several idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The visitors are attracted by its symmetrical and decorative architecture, Peaceful location by the Ganges and calm vibes offers the perfect place to offer worship to diety. Even if you are not a religious person like me, the 13th floor of the temple will attract you for its best sunset in Rishikesh.

Rishikesh Travel Guide: Top Things to do in Rishikesh

Witness the Ganga Aarati on Triveni Ghat

The River Ganga is considered one of the holiest rivers in India. The offerings and aarti are the devotion towards Maa Ganga(Mother Ganga) from the People of Rishikesh. The Aarti happens at Parmarth Niketan Ashram at Triveni Ghat. It is a beautiful nightly spiritual routine across the Ganga river that occurs around sunset time daily. The Aarati is not as Grand as that happens in Haridwar or Varanasi but it’s spectacular to watch the whole ceremony. After sunset, several diyas (lamps) are set afloat in the leaf boats in the holy river. One can truly feel the spirituality, vibrant Hindu Culture when witnessing the Ganga Aarti at Rishikesh.

Take a Dip and Chill by the holy Ganga River in Rishikesh

One of the best activities to do in Rishikesh is taking a dip in the Holy Ganga. It is said that taking a holy dip in the Ganges washes away all your sins and this makes Ganga ghats always crowded. Apart from this, the unique tranquility of the water and surrounding the river bank or ghats – like walking barefoot on the white sands, touching the cold water with your feet, or just rippling sounds of the water will calm your all senses of the body. You can see many people doing Yoga and meditation by the river. Rishikesh will never disappoint you if you are here to find your true solace.

Learn Yoga in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is the Yoga Capital of India and you can literally find Yoga Course on every street and corner, advertising the best Yoga Courses. The international yoga festival held in March every year. Even you will be offered Yoga and Meditation classes by the hotels you are staying at but start with your own Yoga Goals. There are many hotels that offer Free Yoga classes, so check it out to learn basics, and then you can opt for Paid independent Courses offered by Ashrams.

Credit: Shiva & Shanti Yoga

There are one day Yoga Classes to the Courses that span over months. Hatha Yoga is the most Popular Yoga in Rishikesh and others are Kundalini Yoga, but I would say these courses can completely change your life! If you are looking for Yoga teacher certification, look into the cost, timings, and requirements. Generally, most of the Yoga students enroll in a 200-hours course(1 Month) and maybe more depending on your commitment. and the prices also vary accordingly.

If you are visiting Rishikesh for a short duration of time, you can opt for free Yoga offered by your hotels/hostels or enroll in centers for 2-3 days for basic Yoga and Meditation purpose. Among all Parmarth Niketan, Anand Prakash Ashram, and Rishikesh Yogpeeth are famous centers.

Join Unusual Courses in Rishikesh

Though Rishikesh is famous for Yogas, in this Rishikesh travel Guide I also recommend taking part in few unusual courses in Rishikesh like: massage, aromatherapy, breathing course, Nutrition, Ayurveda and Punchkarma, Indian Cooking, and many more. If you’ve ever wanted to learn sitar, harmonium, tabla, or simply how to sing, then Rishikesh is the place to learn it all! The ayurvedic massage will hit all your pressure points and you will feel relax after taking some Yoga Classes. If you have time, join one of the courses and get certified.

White Water Rafting in Rishikesh

Rishikesh travel guide is incomplete without mentioning White water rafting. Rishikesh is heaven for adventure lovers and one of the top things to do in Rishikesh is white water rafting. You can’t leave Rishikesh without trying white water rafting! I did white water rafting for the first time in Rishikesh and I still have vivid memories attached to it. If you are an adrenaline lover, Rishikesh offers high rapid rafting. There are various grades like I, II, III, and IV in Rishikesh which makes it more adventurous. It usually starts from Brahampuri for the shortest 8 Km, from Shivpuri 16 Kms, and Marine drive for 26 Kms and ends at Laxman Jhula.

top things to do in Rishikesh

Whether you are traveling solo or in a group, there are so many companies that offer adventure activities as part of the tour. October to April is the best month for white water rafting in Rishikesh as the weather remains pleasant and not strong currents like in Monsoon. In the middle of the river, the instructor may allow you to jump into the water if you can swim and even though you don’t know swimming, just hold the boat and enjoy the cold water, it was quite fun!

Bungee Jumping in Rishikesh

Ever thought about flying like a bird? Bungee Jumping will surely help you do so. Rishikesh has India’s one of the highest Bungee Jumping Platform at the height of 83 meters located at Mohanchatti near Rishikesh with the name jumping heights. It is considered as best bungee jumping in Rishikesh. The jump needs to pre-book and its located 25 km from Rishikesh, so you can keep a day dedicated to this activity. It remains open all day except Tuesday.

Camping by the Ganga River

Rishikesh has natural beauty with mountains and the Ganga river that flows through it. The city will give you the perfect amalgamation of the old and new world in one place. One of the best things to do in Rishikesh is camping by the Ganga River. There are so many campsites by the Ganga and you can stay with any of them but Aspen Adventure camp and Green Ganga adventure camp are well known among all.

Most of the campsites offer facilities like Yoga by the river, Rafting, waterfall trek, rappelling, nature walk etc. You can choose the camp as per your requirements and choices.

Go Trekking

Rishikesh is surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna and this makes it the perfect place to go for trekking. You can choose a trek from a few hours to a few days, there are a lot of trails around Rishikesh. You can take a trek to the base of the Himalayas or take a trek to the near places like Gangotri, Kedarnath, or Badrinath that are just as beautiful as Rishikesh. Apart from this Chandrashila trek and Valley of Flowers are famous among travelers. Summer is the best time to go trekking here as winters can get really chilly here.

Eat a Traditional Garhwali Meal

The Rishikesh is a famous Garhwal region of Uttarakhand and this Rishikesh travel guide is incomplete without mentioning of local food. The Chotiwala restaurant is one of the oldest and famous restaurants in Rishikesh, having begun in 1958. The restaurant is located along the Ganga river and serves traditional Garhwali food. You can always find the restaurant crowded and waiting time of 1-2 hours to get a table here! So, if you are looking for traditional sumptuous food in Rishikesh, go for this place.

Rishikesh Travel Guide- Best Places to Eat in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a city mix of rich culture and history apart from landscape and nature. The food in the city blends well with the city’s multifaceted soul. The city is dotted with colorful cafes and quaint shops. These cafes serve some really delicious food, far exceeding your expectations. The cafes and restaurants offer a wide variety of healthy food. Also, note that Rishikesh is a sacred Hindu Place and you will not find any Non-vegetarian food or alcohol here but you can find so many options for Vegetarian and Vegan food. Most of the cafes located around Laxman Jhula Bridge. Here is a list of places to eat in Rishikesh I highly recommend as a foodie soul:

Beautiful and Best Cafes in Rishikesh

Little Buddha Cafe: People who visited Rishikesh will recommend visiting this Cafe. Being one of the best Cafe in Rishikesh, the Little Buddha Cafe is a quirky treehouse-style cafe with tables overlooking the river Ganga. You can hear the roaring Ganga while devouring delicious Pizza and vegetable Platter here.

Freedom Cafe: Living up to its name, this café provides the most amazing view of the river Ganges in its true pristine form. The café also plays soulful music thus rendering a perfect background to the most soul-stirring view with the food. Don’t forget to try Banana Nutella pancake here.

The Ganga View Cafe: The view from this cafe is very attractive and stunning. Definitely one of the most pleasant cafes in Rishikesh, far from the noise of the traffic and roads. The Ganga View Cafe serves very tasty food and amazing coffee with tasty multi-cuisine food.

Rishikesh Travel Guide

Cafe Karma: It is located at Main Badrinath Highway, Tapovan, Rishikesh is a fast-food restaurant. This cafe has a very lovely and quiet atmosphere. The best part about Cafe Karma is it’s great fast-food. French fries, fresh sandwiches, honey ginger lemon tea, yummy cutlery, Thukpa are their specialties. Don’t forget to try out the popular Vegan “Banana Chocolate cake”.

Other cafes you can try in Rishikesh are The Beatles Cafe, Ramana’s Garden Organic Cafe for organic food, Divine Cafe & Bakery, Cafe De Goa, and Shambala.

Where to Stay in Rishikesh

Rishikesh offers a wide variety of options to choose from for your stay- Luxury, Budget Guesthouses, Homestays, and Ashrams. The best places to stay in Rishikesh are scattered around Laxman Jhula and Swarg ashram as everything is so nearby and considered as a happening area of Rishikesh.Tapovan is a little further up from Laxman Jhula, and is quieter

Rishikesh Travel Guide: Hotels in Rishikesh

Hotels are abundant in Rishikesh. If you love Luxury, choose resorts by the Ganges that offers a serene and peaceful environment for the stay.

Luxury:

The most famous and renowned luxury hotels in Rishikesh are Ananda in the Himalayas, Aloha on the Ganges, Glasshouse on the Ganges, Taj Rishikesh, Ganga Kinare and Shaantam Resorts. All provide the best views of the Ganges with luxurious amenities, just check the features and book accordingly.

Budget Hotels and Guest Houses:

There are many boutique hotels and budget guesthouses in Rishikesh which fits for Budget and long term travelers. Few of them with the best views are Divine Ganga Cottage, Sonu Guest House, Vashistha Guest House at Swarg Ashram, Hotel Ganesha Inn and Hotel Neeraj Bhavan.

Ashrams in Rishikesh:

Rishikesh, along with Mysore in Karnataka is one of the most popular destinations for Yoga in India. There are numerous Ashrams in Rishikesh which offer long term stay for travelers from a few weeks to months according to the courses they offer. You can choose your style for Yoga, Meditation, or Ayurveda courses. The stay also includes some healthy food and detoxication programs for your body. Few of the top Ashrams in Rishikesh are Parmarth Niketan, Sivananda Ashram, Omkarnanda Ganga Sadan, Yoga Niketan, Phool Chatti, and Anand Prakash Ashram. If you are looking for the best meditation Programs choose Osho Ganga Dham Ashram.

How to Reach Rishikesh

The nearest airport to Rishikesh is Deharadun which is 25 Km away from Rishikesh. You can easily get shared taxi or auto rickshaw from here.

Also, Rishikesh has a very small railway junction but that operates only for Haridwar Rishikesh bound Passenger trains. The nearest railhead to Rishikesh is Haridwar railway station– about 25 km away from the city and it will take in total one hour via road, using a bus, auto or a private taxi in getting there. Haridwar is well connected with major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and other major cities. You can book the trains to Rishikesh via IRCTC online before a few days of your travel.

Alternately you can reach to Rishikesh by Bus from Delhi or any Parts of North Indian states like Himachal, Uttrakhand, and Jammu. There are two Bus Stations in Delhi – ISBT Kashmiri Gate and Anand Vihar but the Buses from Delhi to Rishikesh leaves from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. There are so many options for the bus- local Buses, simple coaches, AC coaches, and Sleeping coaches. You can choose as per your budget. You can book the tickets online from State Transport Portal or from any reputed websites like Redbus, MakeMyTrip, etc.

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Mayuri PATEL

Engineer by Profession and Travel Blogger by heart who shares her experiences through this journal of blog.

One thought on “The Ultimate Rishikesh Travel Guide:Top Things to do and See

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    I’ve never heard of this area before but it looks like an incredible place to explore and go hiking around!

    Reply

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