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Rishikesh also called ‘the place of sages’ is a city situated in Dehradun district of state Uttarakhand in North India. It is one of the ancient pilgrim places of India. The sacred river Ganga descends at Rishikesh from the foothills of Himalayas, hence this city is considered as the most sacred place of pilgrimage. The city is also known as ‘Hrishikesh’. ‘Hrishik+ish’ means ‘senses’+‘lord’. The word means ‘Lord of senses’ which is the name for ‘Lord Vishnu’. Rishikesh is gateway to the famous Hindu pilgrimage called ‘Char-dham yatra’ to holy places namely Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. It is located at approx. 1700 ft. above the sea-level. It is surrounded by ‘Tehri-Garhwal’ and ‘Pauri Garhwal’.
How to reach Rishikesh
Rishikesh is connected through Air, Rail and Road. The nearest airport is Jolly grant situated in Dehradun which is just 18 km. away. Apart from public transport, taxi services are also easily available from airport to Rishikesh. The nearest international airport is IGI Airport at Delhi which is approx. 225 km. away. Rishikesh has its own railway station which is linked to all major cities in India. There are regular trains from cities like Dehradun, Mumbai and Delhi. The city is connected by road to most places of North India. The local transport used is Tonga, Rikshaw, Auto and Taxi.
Religous places in Rishikesh
‘Bharat Mandir’ is the oldest temple in Rishikesh built by Adiguru Shankracharya around 12th century. It is situated in the heart of town on the bank of river Ganges. Rishikund, Triveni Ghat are some of the famous places of Rishikesh. One of the oldest temple complex in the area is Geeta Bhawan, where Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharta are described on the walls. Parmarth Niketan is one of the most famous temple complex and ashram in Rishikesh. The famous Lakshman Jhula, the hanging bridge, is one of the main tourist attractions which is about 3 km. away from Rishikesh. Situated at a height of 70 ft. from the river, it is 450 ft. long. It was built in 1939. Earlier there was just a hanging jute rope bridge through which Lord Rama’s brother Lakshman said to have crossed the river, hence the name ‘Lakshman Jhula’. Tourists throw fish food from the bridge to watch river fish surface for the feed. On both sides of the bridge are various temples and ashrams.
‘Neelkanth Mahadev’ is a very famous temple which is situated on top of a hill. This place is one of the most sacred places for devotees of Lord Shiva. As per mythology, Lord Shiva drank all the effluent venom at this place. Because of the poison, his throat turned blue, hence he was named ‘Neelkanth’. You can either trek or take a taxi to reach the temple.
Other tourist attractions
Apart from the holy places, the city is also famous for spa treatments and adventure sports. There are various world class Spas situated close to Rishikesh. Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta with contemporary international therapies are used for rejuvenation. Rishikesh also offers white water rafting. The Ganga slows down at Rishikesh before bursting into the white water rapids when it descends into the plains. A number of rafting operators have camps by riverside between Rishikesh and Kaudiuala, some with tents for overnight stay as well. They facilitate rafting with rafts, trained professionals and equipment.
Another attraction is The Rajaji National Park, which is one of the most splendid getaways in Rishikesh. The park is spread over an area of 820.42 sq.kms. which includes the river Ganga flowing for about 24 kms. The park possesses around 315 species of birds and 23 species of mammals including leopard, cheetah, tiger, Himalayan bear, sambhar deer, nilgai, goral, jackal, cat, king cobra, Indian cobra, monitor lizard, etc. It has the largest ecological footprint in the shivalik region.
Rishikesh place to enjoy, pray and rejuvenate!