Rishikesh is a holy city in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India. The city is known for its spiritual significance and is considered the gateway to the Himalayas. Rishikesh is home to numerous temples, and one of the most popular temples in the city is the Trimbakeshwar Temple.
The Trimbakeshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated in the heart of the city. It is one of the oldest temples in Rishikesh and is believed to have been constructed in the 12th century. The temple is also known as the Tera Manzil Temple as it has thirteen floors, each dedicated to a different deity.
The temple is an architectural marvel with intricate carvings and sculptures on its walls and pillars. The temple complex also has a sacred pond where devotees can take a dip and seek blessings.
The Trimbakeshwar Temple is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike, and it attracts a large number of visitors during festivals and auspicious occasions. The temple is particularly famous for its Maha Shivaratri celebrations when devotees from all over the country come to offer prayers and seek blessings.
The history of Rishikesh is steeped in Hindu mythology and legend. According to ancient Hindu texts, Rishikesh is believed to be the place where Lord Vishnu appeared to Raibhya Rishi and blessed him with the knowledge of the Vedas. The city was also the site of an intense meditation performed by Lord Rama, one of the most revered deities in Hinduism.
In the medieval period, Rishikesh became a popular destination for ascetics and sages who were seeking spiritual enlightenment. The city’s location on the banks of the holy river Ganges, and in the foothills of the Himalayas, made it an ideal place for spiritual contemplation and meditation.
In the 19th century, Rishikesh gained more prominence when it became the site of the Kumbh Mela, one of the largest and most important Hindu festivals. The city also attracted several renowned spiritual leaders and gurus, such as Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda, who established ashrams and meditation centers in Rishikesh.
Today, Rishikesh is a bustling city that attracts millions of tourists and spiritual seekers from all over the world. The city is known for its serene beauty, spiritual significance, and adventure sports, and it continues to be a popular destination for those seeking inner peace and tranquility.
How to reach
Rishikesh is well-connected to the rest of India through various modes of transportation. Here are some ways to reach Rishikesh:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Rishikesh is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is approximately 20 kilometers away. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to Rishikesh.
- By Train: Rishikesh has its own railway station, which is connected to several major cities in India. Some of the popular trains that run to Rishikesh are the Shatabdi Express, Jan Shatabdi Express, and Mussoorie Express.
- By Bus: Rishikesh is well-connected by road to several major cities in India, and you can easily find buses from Delhi, Haridwar, Dehradun, and other nearby cities. The bus journey to Rishikesh is scenic and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
- By Car: You can also hire a taxi or drive your own car to Rishikesh. The city is well-connected to the rest of India through a network of well-maintained roads, and the journey is pleasant and scenic.
Once you reach Rishikesh, you can easily explore the city on foot, as most of the attractions are located in the city center. You can also hire a taxi or a motorcycle to explore the nearby areas and the beautiful surrounding countryside.
What does it signify?
Rishikesh stands on the banks of the holy Ganges. It is the first town that the Ganges touches on its descent from the mountains. The place welcomes innumerable Hindus and wandering Sadhus. Many arrive here to take a holy dip into the Ganges as they believe it could wash away all the impurities of their souls. The town is home to a number of Ashrams. Major Ashrams like Vivekananda, Sivananda, Osho, and Bihar School of Yoga have their offices here. As the sun shows from behind the mountains, devotees and worshippers begin to wash in the river. The temple chanting can be heard right from dawn until after dark. Pujas (Prayers) are performed during the night time, leaving thousands of camphor-illuminated leaf boats.
Rishikesh Temple Attraction
The Lakshmana Jhula is an iron bridge that was built in 1939. It is believed that it is the very place from where Laxmana crossed the Ganges on a jute-rope-bridge. It has been a major attraction among the devotees and visitors of the place. The bridge gives a splendid view of the Ganges, welcoming you to the cool breeze from the river. Ram Jhula is yet another suspended bridge that lies close to the Laksmana Jhula.
The Bharat Mandir was built by AdiguruSankaracharya around the 12th century. The inner sanctum of the temple enshrines the idol of Lord Vishnu. The inner canopy, which lies over the idol, bears Shree Yantra installed by Adi Sankaracharya. During recent excavations, lots of old statues, coins, pots, and other relics of the past were found within the premises of the temple.
ParmarthNiketan is one of the most celebrated temple complexes and Ashram in the area. It is known widely for its extensive work on Hinduism. It also runs a school on traditional Indian patterns. Every evening, the Ashram holds Ganga Arti and Hawan at the Parmarth Ghat.
Rishikund is another very ancient place in the area, lying close to the Triveni Ghat. Ancient scriptures show its associations with Saint Kubz who was blessed by Goddess Yamuna, saturating the pond by its water.
The TriveniGhat is the most prominent Ghat in the area. This is the place where most of the pilgrims take their holy dips. The Ghat gets packed with devotees as Ganga Arti is held every evening here. It makes a magnificent sight as the devotees leave afloat a myriad of tiny illuminated leaf-boats.
Things to do
Rishikesh is a city with a rich cultural and spiritual heritage, and there are many things to do and see in and around the city. Here are some popular activities and attractions in Rishikesh:
- Visit Temples: Rishikesh is home to several ancient and beautiful temples, and visiting them is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the city’s spiritual and cultural heritage. Some of the must-visit temples in Rishikesh are Trimbakeshwar Temple, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Parmarth Niketan, and Bharat Mandir.
- Attend Ganga Aarti: The Ganga Aarti is a beautiful and sacred ritual that takes place every evening on the banks of the Ganges. The aarti involves the lighting of lamps and the chanting of hymns and is a must-see for anyone visiting Rishikesh. The aarti at Parmarth Niketan is particularly famous and draws a large number of visitors every evening.
- Experience Adventure Sports: Rishikesh is also known as the “Adventure Capital of India” and offers a range of adventure sports for thrill-seekers. You can go rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining, rock climbing, and trekking in and around Rishikesh. The best time for adventure sports in Rishikesh is from September to May.
- Attend Yoga Classes: Rishikesh is a hub for yoga and meditation, and there are several yoga centers and ashrams that offer yoga classes and workshops. The city is known for its traditional and authentic approach to yoga, and many people come to Rishikesh to deepen their practice.
- Visit Beatles Ashram: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, also known as the Beatles Ashram, is a must-visit for fans of the legendary band. The ashram is located on the outskirts of Rishikesh and was where the Beatles stayed in 1968 to learn transcendental meditation.
- Explore Neer Garh Waterfall: Neer Garh Waterfall is a beautiful and serene waterfall located about 6 kilometers from Rishikesh. The waterfall is surrounded by lush green forests and is a popular spot for picnics and relaxation.
- Take a Dip in the Ganges: The holy river Ganges flows through Rishikesh, and taking a dip in its sacred waters is considered a purifying and cleansing experience. You can also go for a boat ride or take a dip in the river at Triveni Ghat or Lakshman Jhula.
These are just some of the many things to do and see in Rishikesh. The city has something for everyone, whether you are seeking adventure, spirituality, or just some time to relax and unwind.
Here is some essential information to help you plan your trip to Rishikesh:
- Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Rishikesh is from September to May, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable for outdoor activities.
- Language: Hindi and English are widely spoken in Rishikesh, but it’s always helpful to learn a few basic Hindi phrases.
- Currency: The currency used in India is the Indian Rupee (INR). There are several ATMs and banks in Rishikesh where you can withdraw cash or exchange foreign currency.
- Accommodation: Rishikesh has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury hotels and resorts. You can also choose to stay in an ashram or a yoga center for an immersive spiritual experience.
- Food: Rishikesh offers a variety of food options, including traditional Indian cuisine and international dishes. Some popular local dishes to try are aloo puri, chole bhature, and paranthas.
- Transportation: Rishikesh is a small city, and most of the attractions are located in the city center, which can be easily explored on foot. You can also hire a taxi, motorcycle, or bicycle to explore the city and the surrounding areas.
- Dress Code: Rishikesh is a spiritual and cultural hub, and it’s important to dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting temples and other religious sites. It’s also a good idea to carry a scarf or shawl to cover your head and shoulders.
- Health and Safety: Rishikesh is generally safe for tourists, but it’s always a good idea to take basic precautions like carrying a photocopy of your passport and keeping your valuables safe. It’s also important to drink bottled water and eat at clean and hygienic restaurants to avoid any health issues.
By keeping this essential information in mind, you can have a safe, enjoyable, and unforgettable trip to Rishikesh.