Rishikesh is a city that enchants and overwhelms at the same time.  There is so much to absorb here by just being and breathing in the town. Be it spirituality, adventure,fun  or relaxation, Rishikesh has something to offer to everyone. With the holy river Ganga, the sadhus, ashrams, yoga, the international tourists that mingle here like locals and the Hindu mythology – even a few days spent here can feel like a trip of lifetime. And that’s what we recently did, a two days trip to Rishikesh and it was the best. Here are a few memorable moments captured in mesmerizing Rishikesh – the city that we absolutely love and the city that captures the essence of IncredibleIndia to its fullest.

Check for 10 must do things in Rishikesh.

Here is a tried and tested itinerary for your stay in Rishikesh along with details regarding accommodation, food, transportation and shopping.

Where to stay:

Rishikesh has hundreds of options for both budget and luxury stay.  After scrutinizing on a lot of options we narrowed in on The Diving Ganga Cottage. The cottage true to its name had a divine charm. The moment we entered the hotel property, we were sure we had chosen the best place to stay. Located in an alley on the banks of river Ganga, the cottage is surrounded by a lush green organic garden. Inspite of its close proximity to Lakshman Jhula, it is completely isolated from all the noise and traffic in the town.  The hotel terrace offers a breathtaking view of the river Ganga along with some of the beautiful temples and ashrams located on the banks of the river.  The hotel runs a rooftop restaurant which serves tasty food. Besides the regular amenities, the hotel also offers yoga classes, spa services and Ayurveda therapies at nominal charges.

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The view from the porch of Divine Ganga Cottage

Local transportation:

Since a lot of places of our interest were spread across the town, we rented bikes to rove around at leisure.  There were many outlets offering bike on rent.  The hotel staff as well could get it arranged. The rent for 24hrs would typically be Rs.350 for Scooty, Rs.450 for a motor bike, Rs 600 for an Avenger or Rs 800 for a Royal Enfield.

Itinerary:

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Route map

Here is a detailed itinerary we would suggest you based on our experience in Rishikesh.

Day1: Ganga river rafting – Lakshman jhula – Shopping

Give an adventurous beginning to your trip by Rafting on river Ganga. This would take till noon.  The best season for Rafting is from  mid-September to mid-June. You can choose one of the following rafting trips based on distance on water.

  1. Wet ‘n’ Wild (Kaudiyala to Rishikesh) – 30 kms.
  2. Get Wet (Marine Drive to Rishikesh) – 21 kms.
  3. White Water Magic (Shivpuri to Rishikesh) – 12 Kms.
  4. Family Rafting Trip (Brahampuri to Rishikesh) – 7 Kms.

Though there are hundreds of agencies offering rafting services in Rishikesh only a few are authentic and trustworthy. Paddle India is without doubt the best rafting company in Rishikesh considering the cost and safety measures they take. What distinguish Paddle India from others are the potentially lifesaving safety measures they take to assist you while rafting. A kayak will accompany you throughout the ride, which you do not observe being done by anyone else. For other extreme sports like bungee jump, flying fox and giant swing you can choose Jumping Heights.

Day2 : Neer ghar waterfalls – Triambakeshvar Temple – Ashram’s – Ganga aarti

Start early to reach the Neer ghar waterfalls which is in Rishikesh-Badrinath road and is a 4km drive from Divine Ganga cottage . Luckily, this hidden gem is not very popular among the regular tourists and hence is not very crowded. With an entry ticket costing Rs 30 per head, you will have to trek for about 1 km along the cascaded waterfalls to reach the top. As the crystal clear water plunges from different heights all along the cascade, it forms beautiful pools at each level resembling infinity pools. Having steaming hot Maggi at the small cafes setup by side of the pools is an experience in itself. If you are not satisfied with the mesmerizing Neerghar falls, head towards the Patna waterfall in the Rajaji National park.

After returning from nature’s abode, head on a spiritual tour in the city by visiting some of temple and ashrams located on the banks of Ganga.

  • Triambakeshvar Temple, a holy shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the most famous temples in Rishikesh. The temple is located in close vicinity to Lakshman jhula and stands 13-storeys high along the banks of River Ganga giving an ultimate view of the river from the top.
  • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram/Beatles Ashram located adjacent to the Rajaji National park is one of the popular ashrams in Rishikesh. The ashram gets its name because the Beatles had visited this ashram in 1968 to train under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for Transcendental Meditation. It is here it is believed they penned most of the “White” album. Though this ashram is deserted now, people still visit it to witness the beautiful graffiti on the Ashram walls. The government has taken control of this ashram and has fixed an entrance fee of Rs. 150/- for Indian nationals and Rs. 600/- for foreigners.
  • Have lunch at the famous Chotiwala restaurant near the Ram jhula.
  • Swarg Ashram located on the banks of Ganga is the spiritual “ground zero” of Rishikesh, concentrated with ashrams and temples. It is here that many rishis and yogis have meditated to attain nirvana. Visit the multiple ashrams and temples located in this area. The Geeta Bhavan and the Pramarth Nikethan are to name a few.
  • Witnessing the world famous aarti to Mother Ganga at the Paramarth Nikethan ashram at 6.00pm. It is good to reach the ashram and be seated on banks of the river a little early before it gets crowded. Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Nikethan is organized and performed by ashram residents, particularly the children who are studying the Vedas there. The ceremony commences with the singing of bhajans, prayers, and a purifying and sacred ritual that takes place around a fire, with the offerings made to Agni, the fire god. The lamps are lit and the aarti takes place as the final part of the ceremony.

That was how we spent two days in Rishikesh.  Do let us know how you like our testimony. If you need any help with your trip to Rishikesh, do write to us. We will be glad to help you!

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