Widely known as the Yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh is an amazing city to visit for any yogi. Yogis will find amazing opportunities to take classes, meet yogis, and experience Ashram life in the birthplace of Yoga. The opportunities are not limited to the realm of yoga, however, and any good tour of the city will include breathtaking natural beauty and ancient history. Read on to find some of the best attractions waiting for you in Rishikesh.
International Yoga Festival
Every year in March there is an International Yoga Festival. People travel from all over the world to celebrate the practice of yoga. This festival allows Yogis to experience Yoga with a huge number of followers from all across the world, hear from influential Yoga Speakers (often the Dalai Lama attends), and grow in spirit and in practice. Find more information about the festival at its website.
Ganga Aarti Rishikesh
Ganga Aarti means a Prayer for the Ganga River, who is considered to be the Divine Mother flowing and providing life. This incredible devotional hour takes place every evening at 6pm on the banks of the Ganga River and you can take part yourself at the Parmarth Niketan or Triveni Ghat. It is an enchanting fire ceremony performed by the ashram devotees and begins with sounds of bells, beating drums and bhajans (devotional songs). They light many diyas, small lamps made of clay and oil, that illuminate the night. You can join the ceremony by purchasing diyas at a local shop, placing them on a leaf boat and setting it to sail down the Ganges.
For Beatles fans & Music Buffs:
Check out the ashram of the guru who taught transcendental meditation to the Beatles. Their guru, Maharishi Mahesh, passed away in 2008 but his ashram has been renovated and decorated by graffiti artists thanks to a fund put together by The Beatles.
Perfect for bookworms and those interested in the preservation of ancient books, this complex is worth a visit. It offers discourse rooms located along the Ganges river, and a great place to meet and discuss with other Yogis. There is a vegetarian café and classes are offered, and entry is free.
River rafting in Rishikesh is insanely affordable. If you are in Rishikesh after monsoon season, between September and June, you will be in prime river rafting season. Depending on your experience, river rafting for every level is available.
Garud Chatti Waterfall
Starting from the Lakshman Jula suspension bridge, this waterfall is about 4.5 km away. It is quaint, with clear water and a few drink stalls along the way.
At around 150 feet high, this is a beautiful waterfall that takes about 20 minutes of walking time to get to. It hosts limestone caves. The walk up to the waterfall is steep and can be slippery, so be cautious while making the trek.
17 miles (28 km) outside of Rishikesh, there is an ancient serene cave that many sadhus and travelers travel to for some inner peace and meditation. Afterward, head to the Mala Kunti suspension bridge located just 5 km away.