Rishikesh is a religious town located at the foothills of the Himalayas along the banks of the River Ganga at an altitude of 1,120 ft above sea-level. The town is located in the state of Uttrakhand and serves as a base for higher altitude treks. Rishikesh over the years has become famous as the adventure capital in India with a host of activities to keep your adrenaline rush high flying.
Getting to Rishikesh is relatively very easy. Plenty of travel options are available to reach this holy town. If you’re planning on coming by flight then the nearest airport is just 19 kms away in Dehradun by the name of Jolly Grant. Flights are a bit costlier from Dehradun to the rest of the country but when you compare it to the travel time saved in comparison to travelling all the way back to New Delhi, flying in and out of Dehradun airport is the best option.
Most travellers prefer to reach Delhi and then travel to Rishikesh via bus, train or self drive their way to the Ganges. From Delhi there are plenty of government and private bus services which ply the distance all day. The journey by bus takes five to seven hours depending on the road traffic to cover the 230 kms. The road leading from New Delhi to Rishikesh is a flawless four lane highway.
Taking the train to Rishikesh is a good option but there are only a handful of trains which run from Haridwar to Rishikesh. Most of the trains run up to Haridwar and from there travellers usually take an auto rickshaw or a local bus.
Once in Rishikesh,
the best way to get around is by hopping in and out of an auto-rickshaw which can be found all day on the tiny roads of this holy town. You can pay per seat or hire the whole vehicle to move around the town. Another option is to rent a scooter and self explore the place. Hiring a scooter is a good option if you’re planning on staying for a week or more.
While in Rishikesh there are plenty of things to do and see, but based on the time you have there are a few must do things that you just can’t skip. Exploring Rishikesh can be divided into two main parts: adventure and religion.
When it comes to the religious part, an absolute must do is to take a dip in the Holy Ganga river, Triveni Ghat is the place for the bath. Daily in the morning and evening there are thousands who take bath here and enjoy the Maha Aarti being performed.
There are plenty of ashrams, bhavans and temples located all around Rishikesh. Most are located in close proximity to the Lakshman and Ram Jhulas.
When it comes to adventure activities, Rishikesh has it all, from rafting, bungee jumping, camping, hiking etc. Make sure you at least try your hand at one, if not all the adventure activities that are available. While you walk around the streets, you’ll find every second shop/stall selling river rafting and camping options.
Accommodation options in Rishikesh are in plenty ranging from budget ashrams and hostels to luxury camping places and resorts. The best option is to book your stay online to avoid getting scammed by the end number of touts that you will find trying to sell you a room or a camping stay.
Eating options are also in abundance but one thing to keep in mind is that Rishikesh is strictly a holy town so everything served in and around the town is vegetarian. There are numerous dhabas and cafés which serve all kinds of food. Even Swiggy and Zomato deliver in Rishikesh, so in short you will never go hungry. But do keep in mind that everything shuts by 22:30 HRS.
Network in Rishikesh is good in most areas. Jio and Airtel work the best, with the former having connectivity even on the river banks. ATMs can also be found everywhere, all in all it’s a town which has excellent connectivity for the tourists.
Since Rishikesh is located at the foothills of the Himalayas, the weather is pleasant all year round. Summer months from April to June tend to be a little warm but you will definitely need a pull over or a light sweater for the summer evenings. The best time to visit Rishikesh is during the dry, winter months from October to May. Monsoon is the only time which is considered as a down time since the river swells up and bathing in the Ganges becomes risky.
If you’re planning a trip to Rishikesh make sure you plan for at least a minimum of three night if not longer. The place has a lot to offer from every aspect and is an ideal place for slow travel. So the longer you decide to stay, the better experience you will end up having.