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R   I  S  H  I  K  E  S   H  

INFORMATION ABOUT RISHIKESH

24 kms upstream on the banks of the Ganga where it is met by the Chandrabhaga is the holy town of Rishikesh. Literally, Rishi’s (holy man) locks, this small town is the point where the holy Ganges crashes down in full glory onto huge boulders and creates long stretches of white sandy beaches. The banks are lined with ashrams, where saints and holy men rested before beginning their arduous pilgrimage up into the snow-covered land of the gods. Rishikesh is essentially a combination of five different districts- Rishikesh the commercial centre, Muni-ki-reti in the quiet suburbs, Shivananda Nagar to the north, Lakshmanjhula with its holy shrines and Swarg Ashram where most of the ashrams are located. Rishikesh is the lap of Hindu philosophy and learning, with several ashrams devoted to the understanding and propagation of the faith. Signs of religious rituals can be seen all over Rishikesh – in the numerous temples lining the banks of the Ganga, the mythological tales that you hear about various spots and even the shops that sell books and religious objects.

RISHIKESH HISTORY

According to mythology, the sage Raibhya Rishi sat on the banks of the Ganga and performed severe penance. He was rewarded when the lord appeared in the form of Rishikesh, thus giving the place its present name. Over the ages, saints have meditated at this peaceful spot with the soaring mountains looking down and the sacred Ganga flowing beside. One of the most prominent religious leaders in modern times, Adi Shankaracharya, traversed this land in the 9th century AD. The Shankaracharya’s pilgrimage into the hills was later codified into the great pilgrim circuit, and gave a heightened sense of sacredness to this land of the gods. Ever since, Rishikesh has been the stepping stone and the first destination on a list of holy shrines and sites stretching across the lofty Himalayas.

RISHIKESH TOURISM

    The Places of Interest and Sight Seeing

  • The Triveni Ghat : in the centre of town is the most prominent bathing ghat in Rishikesh. With its modern images of Hindu deities and white sandy beach, the ghat is ideal for a dip in the holy waters of the Ganga. In the morning, pilgrims come to the ghat for prayers and offer milk and feed the shoals of fish in the crystal clear waters. The evening, arati (worship) with lamps is worth watching for the atmosphere.


  • The Bharat Mandir near Triveni Ghat :is reputed to be the oldest temple in Rishikesh. The temple's presiding deity is a black stone Vishnu, which is believed to have been consecrated by Adi Shankaracharya when he visited Rishikesh in the 9th century. This occasion is commemorated with special celebrations on the day of Basant Panchami, the spring festival.


  • Swarg Ashram, with its numerous ashrams :food stalls and shops is a haunt for those looking for insights into religious themes. The newly constructed Ram Jhoola straddles the Ganga at this point. You can also make a river crossing on the ferries that run during the day. Important shrines and ashrams at Swarg Ashram include Kali Kumbliwale founded by Swami Vishudhananda, Parmarth Niketan with large statues of gods and goddesses and the Gita Bhavan with its Ayurvedic dispensary and shop selling religious books and cotton Khadi. About 2 kms upstream is the old footbridge called Lakshmanjhula, named after the brother of Lord Rama. Temples line both sides of the river at Lakshmanjhula. The Shivanand Jhoola is another suspension bridge spanning the river along the ancient route to Kedarnath and Badrinath.


  • To the northeast is the area of Muni-ki-reti :Along the banks of the Chandrabhaga river, this area with its secluded white sand beaches is ideal for swimming. Boat rides on the river near Swarg Ashram are a pleasant diversion, and you can feed the fish that cluster around pilgrims throwing balls of wheat flour into the waters. North of Rishikesh are some good spots for white-water rafting, including Shivpuri 18 kms upstream and Kaudiyala 38 kms up. Both the sites are served by professional organisers who provide equipment, tents and food. Besides the longer hauls on the Yatra route, there are shorter trek routes around Rishikesh.

ACCOMODATION/STAY OPTIONS IN RISHIKESH



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