Rishikesh

Travel Guide Asia India Uttarakhand Rishikesh

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Introduction

Shiva Imitation

Shiva Imitation

© Ardy

Rishikesh is a city in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Renowned as the "Yoga Capital of the World," Rishikesh attracts numerous individuals seeking to embrace yoga and meditation practices.

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Sights and Activities

Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed "the world capital of Yoga", has numerous yoga centres that attract tourists. Rishikesh offers a wide variety of experiences that cater to different tastes. For those looking for spirituality, Rishikesh's holy Triveni Ghat is a must-visit, where the river Ganga is worshipped, and the evening Ganga Aarti is a mesmerizing sight. The iconic Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula, suspension bridges spanning the river, are major attractions of Rishikesh.

White-Water Rafting - Delight in Rishikesh's renowned white-water rafting adventures. Navigate the fast-flowing Ganges River and relish the stunning landscapes that surround you.
Bungee Jumping - For adrenaline junkies, Rishikesh offers heart-pounding bungee jumping from India's highest fixed platform. Take the exhilarating leap amidst breathtaking vistas.
Trekking and Hiking - Explore picturesque trails and lush forests around Rishikesh. Trek to Neer Garh Waterfall, Kunjapuri Temple, or embark on longer treks to nearby Himalayan villages.
Yoga and Meditation - Immerse yourself in Rishikesh's spiritual atmosphere through yoga and meditation sessions. Numerous ashrams and yoga centers cater to practitioners of all levels.
Rock Climbing - Test your climbing skills on natural rock formations surrounding Rishikesh. Options are available for both beginners and experienced climbers.
Riverside Camping - Experience the serenity of the Ganges going riverside camping. Spend a night under the stars, lulled by the calming sounds of the flowing river.
Wildlife Safari - Embark on a wildlife safari to Rajaji National Park. Spot various animals and bird species in their natural habitat.

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Getting There

By Plane

Jolly Grant Airport (DED) near Dehradun has limited flights, with a few airlines serving Delhi. It also serves Rishikesh.

By Train

There are many trains from Delhi to Haridwar. Some of the better are: Shatabadi Express, Jan Shatabdi, AC Special Express, Mussoorie Express. A quiet branch line connects Haridwar to Rishikesh, but there are only about three slow trains daily. Normally, it is better to take the train to Haridwar and continue by bus (45 min, ₹20), by taxi (30 min, ₹650) or by shared auto-rickshaw (40 min, ₹25). However, travelling by train is recommended in peak seasons or during a 'mela' (fair) when bus routes are diverted in Haridwar whereas trains often run empty and the fares are low (just ₹4 for a passenger train service). You can take share rickshaws (vehicle brand name Vikram) towards Laxman Jhula (₹15) from Rishikesh station. You will have to cross Ram Jhula to reach Swarg Ashram on the other side of the Ganges.

By Car

Delhi airport to Rishikesh by car is a good option for hassle-free travelling, especially for foreign tourists who are traveling to India for the first time. It's a 6- to 7-hour journey. Prices vary from US$85 for an air-conditioned compact car to US$125 for an air-conditioned SUV (but rates are much higher if you get these services from prepaid taxi booths at the airport).

By Bus

From Delhi, Rishikesh is about 230 km away and is well connected with buses. A bus journey may take about 5–7 hours (depending on the traffic) and costs you ₹130–350. An AC bus will cost ₹200–500. The right time to visit would be February, March, August-October. In July there is a festival called Savan where thousands of people flock to Rishikesh. Major roads are blocked and hotels are crowded. It is better to avoid travelling to Rishikesh during that time.

From Dehradun ISBT, a bus to Rishikesh costs ₹56 (as of Jan 2019) and takes around 1.5 hour.

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Getting Around

Auto-rickshaws (vikrams) are useful from the bus/train stations to get to either of the bridges (₹8) and for the southern side of the Ganges. Swargashram is pretty much pedestrian only, but it's compact and walkable (as is the whole of the town). For other auto-rickshaw journeys you should expect to pay around ₹15/km.

To visit eastern bank of Ganges, you have to walk across the suspension bridges or take ferry from Ram Jhula. Near the bank of Ganges, share jeeps and taxis are available to drop visitors at Neelkantha temple and waterfall. Overall, it’s more than 16 km run by road to go from one side of river to another.

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Eat

Non-vegetarian food has been banned in the city for many years. North and south Indian food is widely available, and there's no shortage of multi-cuisine backpacker cafes, especially in Laxman Jhula. What excites many foreigners are the delicious Ayurvedic and health food restaurants, perfect for an after-yoga meal. Many of the main lanes are lined with wooden push carts selling in-season fruit, veggies, popcorn, nuts, warm cookies and lots else, and you'll usually be quoted a fair price. The papayas here are particularly delicious. Try the famous Chotiwali Special/Janata or Delux Thali. It used to be an unlimited affair but now due to practical constraints the quantity is limited and extra helpings are charged. There are several eateries offering jalebis, imartis, samosas, and other Indian snacks. If you haven't heard of these before, you should definitely try them.

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Drink

Sitting around in dhabas and cafes is nearly mandatory here. In addition to the old standards like masala chai and lassis you can find a nice range of Ayurvedic teas. Some restaurants make up their own tonics to treat anything that may be ailing you.

There are two Italian-style/Seattle-style cafes focusing on coffee.

Alcohol is banned and inappropriate, as Rishikesh is a holy city, although you can buy beer (8% alc) with your meal in one of the finer hotels.

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Sleep

ishikesh is filled almost entirely with budget hotels, with a few mid-range thrown in for good measure. Lakshman Jhula is popular with backpackers and has the cheapest accommodation, while Swarg Ashram is where the majority of the ashrams are located, and is a nice alternative. There's also a handful of accommodation options available in High Bank.

It's wise to book ahead in the peak tourist season, and during the Kumbh Mela in neighboring Haridwar.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

Accommodation in Rishikesh

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This is version 15. Last edited at 8:38 on Aug 24, 23 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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