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What Not to Do in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Rishikesh is a beautiful town in the foothills of the Himalayas, known as the birthplace of yoga and a spiritual hub for seekers of all kinds. It is also a popular destination for adventure activities, such as rafting, bungee jumping, trekking, and rock climbing. However, as with any place, there are some things that you should avoid doing in Rishikesh unless you want to end up in trouble, embarrassment, or disappointment. Here are some of the things that you should not do in Rishikesh:

Don’t drink the water from the Ganges

Rishikesh river side

The Ganges is a sacred river for Hindus, and many pilgrims come to Rishikesh to take a dip in its holy waters. However, this does not mean that the water is clean or safe to drink. In fact, the Ganges is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, with high levels of bacteria, chemicals, sewage and trash. Drinking the water from the Ganges can cause serious illnesses like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and dysentery. If you want to avoid getting sick, stick to bottled water or filtered water from reputable sources.

Don’t disrespect the local culture and religion

Rishikesh is a place of spirituality and culture, and you should respect that when you visit. This means dressing modestly, especially when visiting temples and ashrams. Avoid wearing shorts, skirts, tank tops or anything that exposes your shoulders, knees or chest. Also, avoid touching or disturbing any religious symbols or objects, such as idols, statues, bells or flowers. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask a local or a guide before you do anything.

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Don’t eat street food without checking the hygiene and quality

Rishikesh has a lot of street food stalls that offer delicious and cheap snacks and meals. However, not all of them are hygienic or good quality. Eating street food without checking the hygiene and quality can lead to food poisoning or stomach infections. To avoid this, look for stalls that have a lot of customers, especially locals. Also, avoid eating raw or uncooked food, such as salads, fruits or juices. If possible, watch how the food is prepared and served, and make sure it is hot and fresh.

Don’t wander around alone at night

Rishikesh is generally a safe place to visit, but like any other city, it has its share of crime and violence. Wandering around alone at night can make you an easy target for thieves, robbers or worse. If you want to explore the city at night, go with a group of friends or join a guided tour. Also, avoid going to isolated or dark places, such as alleys, forests or bridges. Always carry a phone with you in case of emergency.

Don’t go rafting or bungee jumping without proper guidance and safety measures

Rishikesh is famous for its adventure sports, especially rafting and bungee jumping. These activities can be a lot of fun and adrenaline, but they can also be very dangerous if you don’t follow the rules and precautions. Before you go rafting or bungee jumping, make sure you have a qualified instructor or guide who can explain the risks and safety measures. Also, wear a helmet, life jacket and harness at all times, and check the weather and water conditions before you start. If you have any medical conditions or injuries that may affect your ability to participate, inform your instructor or guide beforehand.

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Don’t Expect to Party Hard

Rishikesh is not a place for party animals. It is a dry town, meaning that alcohol is banned and hard to find. There are also no nightclubs or bars, and most places close by 10 pm. The only nightlife you will find is the evening aarti ceremony at the banks of the Ganges, where hundreds of people gather to sing, pray, and light candles. If you are looking for a livelier scene, you might want to head to Goa or Delhi instead.

Don’t Eat Meat or Eggs

Mornings at Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a vegetarian town, and meat and eggs are prohibited. This is because many Hindus believe that eating animals is a form of violence and harms one’s karma. You will not find any meat or eggs in the restaurants or cafes, and even if you do, they might be of dubious quality and hygiene. Instead, you can enjoy the delicious vegetarian cuisine of Rishikesh, which includes dishes like dal (lentil soup), chole (chickpea curry), paratha (flatbread), and lassi (yoghurt drink). You will also find plenty of vegan and gluten-free options in some of the health-conscious cafes.

Don’t Trust Every Guru or Teacher

Rishikesh Laxman Jhula

Rishikesh is famous for its yoga and meditation scene, and you will find many ashrams, schools, and teachers offering classes and courses. However, not all of them are genuine or qualified, and some might even try to scam you or take advantage of you. You should do some research before joining any program or paying any fees. You can check online reviews, ask for recommendations from other travellers, or visit the place yourself and see how it feels. You should also be wary of anyone who claims to be a guru or a master and asks for money or favours in exchange for spiritual guidance.

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Don’t Miss Out on the Nature and Adventure, Rishikesh

Rishikesh is not only about yoga and spirituality. It is also surrounded by stunning nature and offers many opportunities for adventure. You should not miss out on exploring the beauty and thrill of Rishikesh by staying indoors all day. You can go rafting on the Ganges River, which has rapids ranging from grade 1 to 4. You can also try bungee jumping from a height of 83 meters (272 feet), which is India’s highest bungee jump. You can also go trekking in the nearby hills and forests, where you can see waterfalls, caves, temples, and wildlife. You can also go rock climbing on the cliffs overlooking the river.

Rishikesh is a wonderful place to visit for anyone who wants to experience a different side of India. It has something for everyone, whether you are looking for peace, spirituality, culture, or adventure. However, you should also be respectful of the local rules and traditions, and avoid doing anything that might offend or harm yourself or others.  It can also be a nightmare if you don’t follow some basic rules and common sense. By avoiding these mistakes, you can make your trip to Rishikesh memorable and enjoyable.

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