Rishikesh, located in the Northern state of Uttarakhand, India, is considered the Yoga capital of the country and even the world. Numerous ashrams, temples and other historic religious sites draw lakhs of visitors each year. Nestled between the foothills of the Himalayas and the sacred Ganga River, the city is renowned for being a religious destination but offers a lot more to see as well. From sightseeing to boating, trekking through forest reserves and exploring Yoga, you can get an idea from our list of things to do in Rishikesh.
Tourist Places to Visit in Rishikesh (Bridges)
1. Lakshman Jhula
A landmark for the city, the Lakshman Jhula suspension bridge is close to the Rishikesh Railway Station and was originally made of jute rope but got destroyed in the flood of 1924. Rebuilt in 1939, the bridge is 450 feet long and hovers 70 feet above the Ganges. Connecting the districts of Pauri and Tehri, both famous for handicrafts, local jewelry, clothes and of course street food.
Tips: Visit the Tera Manzil close by
2. Ram Jhula
Located at Muni Ki Reti in Rishikesh, the Ram Jhula suspension bridge hangs over the Ganges and was once made entirely of jute rope. Reconstructed in 1986, with iron, the bridge is now bigger than the equally famous Lakshman Jhula nearby and also supports two wheeler traffic. An ideal spot to get a view and some pictures of the river and surroundings be sure to visit the shops close by for some great local handicrafts and gems.
Tips: Boating is available here
Famous Places to Visit in Rishikesh (Religious & Yoga Centres)
3. Triveni Ghat
On the banks of the river Ganges, the sacred Triveni Ghat is merely 1.5 kilometres from Rishikesh Railway Station. The holy spot is visited by thousands, looking for absolution and salvation by washing themselves in the waters here. The oil lamps and flowers floating all over the river along with drums beating and chanting make this religious site a must visit for anyone coming to the city.
Tips: Stay for the mesmerizing Maha Aarti every evening
4. Tera Manzil
The 13-storey Tera Manzil Temple is a sight to behold. Situated on the banks of the river Ganges, this is one of the most significant and visited temples in Rishikesh. Also known as the Kailash Niketan Temple, the structure was built somewhere during the 9th century AD and has since been a prominent place of worship. Breathtaking views from the upper floors and festivals celebrated with great pomp are major attractions for visitors.
Tips: Visit the Lakshman Jhula suspension bridge nearby
5. Parmarth Niketan
Merely four kilometres from the railway station, on the banks of the Ganges, the Parmarth Niketan Ashram is one of the oldest and largest in the country. With over a thousand rooms as well as a sprawling campus for training, the centre has become a hub for visitors interested in Yoga. Founded in 1942, the ashram is a non-profit organization and also hosts the International Yoga Festival in February each year.
Tips: Take a boat ride in the holy Ganges
6. Shivananda Ashram
Close to the railway station is another famous ashram in Rishikesh; the Shivananda Ashram is the headquarters of the Divine Life Society started here in 1936, four years after the ashram was founded. Also home to the Sivananda Eye Hospital and Ayurvedic Pharmacy, the ashram boasts more than 300 affiliated branches all over the world as well as courses in yoga and the associated disciplines.
Tips: Take a Yoga training course at the ashrams Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy
7. Bharat Mandir
Situated at the centre of Rishikesh, and considered to be one of the oldest and most sacred temples in India, the Bharat Mandir is legend to be as old as the city itself. Over a thousand years old, the holy site is home to the idol of Lord Vishnu, carved out of a single piece of black stone. Till date thousands of devotees flock here for festivals and other religious events.
Tips: Take a boat ride in the Ganges or go trekking in the nearby woods
8. Geeta Bhavan
Merely 15 kilometres from the Rishikesh Railway Station, on the banks of the holy Ganga in Swargashram, is the Geeta Bhavan museum, which is dedicated to the studies of mythology and puranas. Also a centre for Ayurveda and Yoga, the large complex has free accommodation for its visitors as well as educational sessions on various disciplines.
Tips: Be sure to visit the centuries old banyan tree here
9. Beatles Ashram
A part of the Rajaji National Park, this ashram gets its title from the fact that the British band, The Beatles, had spent time here during the 1960s and met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to practice advanced meditation. Head to this mecca for musicians and get inspired by what is left of this ashram that was abandoned in 1997 but still attracts visitors from all over the planet.
Tips: Ask for directions, this place can be hard to find
Famous Places to Visit in Rishikesh (Waterfalls & Parks)
10. Neer Gaddu/Neer Garh
Situated close to the railway station, the neer Gaddu waterfall, also known as the Neer Garh, is only accessible by trekking a short 3-kilometre route through the narrow jungle trails of Rishikesh. Along the way you will encounter nature at its best with wild flowers and butterflies everywhere. The waterfall itself is a sight to behold and you can even take a dip in one of the two pools it collects into.
Tips: Plenty of shops selling drinks and snacks on the way
11. Vashishta Gufa
The Vashishta Gufa, or Vashishta cave, is located atop a small hill, with around 200 steps leading you to the entrance. The natural formation is over 50-feet-deep and the slopes are surrounded by Gular trees that lead to holy Ganges. A perfect place to meditate and find peace, sadhus have been living in the surrounding area for decades. Managed by the Swami Purshottamanand Trust, the area is well kept and easily accessible.
Tips: Great trails for trekking and exploring can be found here
12. Patna Waterfalls
Named after the village where it is located, the Patna waterfall is approximately 12 kilometres from the Rishikesh Railway Station. A 5-kilometre trek from Lakshman Jhula along the Neelkanth temple road and partly through the Rajaji forest, will lead you to this spectacular waterfall surrounded by limestone caves and wild flowers. Almost dry in the summer months, it is advisable to visit during or just post the monsoon.
Tips: No signage means you will need to ask locals for directions
13. Rajaji National Park
Nestled between the Indo-Gangetic plains and the beautiful Shivalik ranges, this park is one of the country’s oldest ecosystems. A reserve for wildlife, especially tigers and sloth bears, the park also boasts a magnificent variety of flora and fauna. A haven for wildlife, nature and its enthusiasts, a visit here will give you an insight to the magnificent ecology within the park.
Tips: Tours can be booked online
Places to Visit in Rishikesh (Adventure Spots)
The small town of Shivpuri, along the Rishikesh–Badrinath road has become famous over the years for its excellent white water rafting and other outdoor adventure activities. Well trained guides, good equipment and safety standards make this an ideal location to go rafting, camping, trekking and much more. Stay at one of the tranquil Yoga centres and get wild with nature while white water rafting, all in Shivpuri.
Tips: Rafting season is from October to June
Probably the most famous rafting point in Rishikesh, Brahmapuri is not only a more economical way to hit the waters here but also more suited to families and younger adventurers. The grade 1 and 2 rapids will give you all the thrill without any of the risk involved in the sport. Also around, are many small restaurants and fun activities like camping, volleyball, cliff jumping, evening bonfire etc.
Tips: Less than 9 kilometres from the railway station you can take an auto or cab to Brahmapuri
So be sure to pay a visit to one of the most religiously important sites in India and use our guide to find the best places to visit in Rishikesh. Got any questions? Let us know in the comments, please.