About Rishikesh


The holy town of Rishikesh has the eminence of being the International capital of Yoga and meditation.
Located
in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the River Ganges, Rishikesh is dotted with a number of ancient temples, ashrams and world renowned yoga and meditation centres. Not only devotees, but travellers from all parts of the world flock to the sacred town for a deeper understanding of meditation.
At the ashrams in Rishikesh, visitors can attend lectures and courses offered by celebrated yoga and meditation experts. Apart from Hindu shrines, the town of Rishikesh also invites adventure lovers from all around.

 It is also the ideal gateway for a pilgrim's chardham yatra, that includes travelling to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath.

Rishikesh Ganga Aarti

Ganga Aarti

Evening in Rishikesh are for sitting by the Ganges and while away your time. Later in the evening, you headed towards Parmarth Niketan Ashram to witness the daily evening ritual of Ganga Aarti.

The aarti is a pleasant ritual of worshipping the Ganga. Around 50-100 people visit the aarti on any day. You have witnessed Ganga Aarati in other places like Haridwar and Varanasi too, but they are a crowded noisy ritual with loud screaming speakers, people troubling you to make donations or hawkers trying to sell something highly overpriced. The Aarti at Rishikesh is a contrast to it, held in a small place with a few people and is a relatively quite affair. You can sit quietly in a corner and witness the ritual or join the crowds singing Bhajans with them.

The Aarati happens at a very picturesque place on the banks of Ganga, in front of a Shiva statue built on the river. You see some activity beginning at the riverbank around 5pm. People start cleaning up the area, lay carpets in preparation for the aarati.

A few people are seen selling deep or diya - a flower bowl with a wick lamp to be floated down the river during the Aarti after prayers. It starts at 5.30pm, with children studying Veda, the Bhajan singers and the performers walking into the ghat in front of Parmarth Niketan. It begins with Bhajans and prayers for 'Gangaji' and Shiva.

It is interesting to watch the children as the ritual progresses. They look bright and alive in their saffron robes. Some of them appear oblivious of the whole thing and drift into their own world. A few start a conversation within themselves. Some continue singing the Bhajans with an uninterested face and a few are motionless, just sitting there or staring blankly. There are some who are completely immersed in the Bhajans and join everyone with full enthusiasm, singing and clapping loudly with the rhythm.

As the sun sets and it gets slightly darker, the Shiva statue is lighted up and it looks beautiful. The Aarti continues with lamps in various shapes and sizes lighted up, and passed on from people to people.

The whole place lights up to a spirited mood with lamps swinging in the hands of people. It lasts for an hour and winds up around 6.30 in the evening with the notes of  "jai jai radharamana hari bol..."

Places to Visit >>

River Rafting :
If you are travelling to Rishikesh between the months of September and November or between March and May, river rafting is a great option to quench your thirst for adventure.

River Ganga offers excellent stretches and white water rapids in Rishikesh. Kaudiyala-Rishikesh is a popular rafting route. Whether you are beginner in the sport of river rafting or are an adrenaline junkie, river rafting in Rishikesh suits all abilities.

Lakshmanan Jhula :
one of the most visited, the Lakshmana Jhula is a suspended bridge, extending from one bank of the Ganges to the other.

The bridge is mythologically significant because it is where Lakshman crossed the Ganga through on jute-rope-made bridge. Visitors can enjoy some impressive views of the Himalayan ranges from upon the bridge. Today, the Lakshmana Jhula connects two popular ashrams - Shivanand Ashram and Swarg Ashram.

Ashrams in Rishikesh :
Ashrams are a major crowd-puller in Rishikesh. These ashrams offer regular courses and classes on spiritual disciplines like yoga and meditation as well as Ayurveda.

Accommodation facilities are also available for tourists and pilgrims arriving at the ashrams. Popular ashrams in Rishikesh include Gita Ashram (set up in the 1950s), Swarg Ashram (one of the oldest in the town) and Shivananda Ashram (which houses the Divine Life Society, founded by Swami Shivanand i 1936).

Bharat Mandir :
Established back in the 12th century, the Bharat Temple happens to be the oldest in Rishikesh. The temple stands in dedication to Bharat, the younger brother of Rama (hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana).

Though the original temple structure was destroyed in an invasion by Temur in 1398, the temple still preserves a number of Hindu relics. The inner sanctum of the Bharat Mandir enshrines the idol of Lord Vishnu. The temple stands close to the Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh.

Triveni Ghat :
The most popular bathing ghat in Rishikesh, the Triveni Ghat is the point where River Ganges takes a complete right angle turn. Hindus also believe that it is here that the three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati converge. Every morning, scores of pilgrims and devotees can be seen here taking a holy dip in the divine waters of the Ganga. In the evening, the sight at the ghat is simply heart stirring. Vedic chants, to the accompaniment of drums and bells, can be heard all around and a spiritual aura surrounds the whole place. Tiny oil lamps on bedecked leaf boats floating on the Ganges add much charm to the whole atmosphere.

Sai Darbar :
Situated 8 Kms along the Clock Tower on Rajpur Road, is the Sai Darbar Temple. This place holds a high cultural and spiritual value and is visited by tourists from across the country and foreigners as well.

Ram Jhula :
The place (or the bridge) is equally popular with devotees and tourists. It remains suspended 3 km north of Rishikesh town. It attracts most visitors due to the fact that it lies just close to the popular ashrams - Geeta Bhawan and Swarg Ashram. Visitors cannot afford to miss the enchanting evening prayer (which lasts for 30 minutes) at the Geeta Bhawan's ghat. Food lovers can head straight to the 50-year-old and the very famous Chotiwala Restaurant, located in Ram Jhula.

 
 
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