The Himalayan town of Rishikesh is blessed with natural scenic beauty, serene atmosphere and a unique spiritual quality. These are the very reasons that have attracted yoga enthusiasts to Rishikesh and placed it on the map as a popular yoga destination. Rishikesh has been the seat of yoga learning since centuries and yoga schools in Rishikesh continue to empower people through their yoga teacher training programmes, yoga and Ayurveda retreats and meditation programmes. Rishikesh is dotted with yoga schools that offer a wide spectrum of yoga practices to seekers and yoga practitioners most often than not find exactly what they are looking for on their yoga journey. Since yoga health tourism has become a popular demand, yoga schools in Rishikesh have begun to offer complete heath packages that includes yoga, meditation and Ayurveda treatment.
As the yoga capital of the world Rishikesh Ashrams have emerged as leaders in yoga practices and yoga learning. Rishikesh Ashrams have contributed immensely in popularising yoga and taking it to the world. These ashrams attract multitudes of international yoga learners, who come here to fulfil their lives. Most Rishikesh Ashrams are located in picturesque, natural surroundings with either a view of the Himalayan mountain range or the River Ganga. If you wish to experience yoga in all its aspects then you must choose to come to one of the ashrams in Rishikesh. The pollution free and peaceful environment at the Rishikesh Ashrams, create the right ambiance and set the stage for yoga learning away from the hustle and bustle of the town. Rishikesh Ashrams provide comfortable and clean accommodation and Ayurvedic meals which appeal to yoga learners who wish to have a complete yoga lifestyle experience. To add value to the yoga experience a number of Rishikesh Ashrams have now begun to also offer experiences beyond yoga like white water rafting on the Ganges, trekking and local sight sighting and participation in the profound Ganga Aarti.
Yoga courses are offered in a range of disciplines like traditional Hatha, Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga for beginners as well as for advanced levels of yoga practitioners. Yoga teacher training internationally accredited courses comprise of 100, 200, 300 and 500 hour programmes. The certified yoga courses are meant for those yoga enthusiasts interested in teaching yoga professionally. At the same time the yoga courses are also suited for those practitioners looking for a transformational experience. Yoga retreats on the other hand are generally 7 day and 14 day retreats where the uninitiated can catch a glimpse of the yoga lifestyle. Retreats in Rishikesh can also be personalised and could include Ayurveda treatments and special Ayurveda diet according to your body type. The yoga retreats are designed to restore physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga courses and retreats in Rishikesh are all encompassing and are open throughout the year. Yoga practitioners are guided by some of the most learned yogis and experts in their yoga discipline. The yoga courses and retreats follow a schedule of daily activities which include asana, pranayama, meditation, yoga history and philosophy, yoga discourse and several other yogic practices like nidra, etc.
The fee includes daily yoga classes, pranayama and meditation and teachers at the retreat offer tips to improve yoga practice. Neat and clean accommodation with attached bath and vegetarian meals are also part of the deal
USD 350 per weeks
Besides yoga practice some retreats also offer Ayurveda treatment and massages and Reiki healing. Personalised treatment and advice on health, nutrition and diet is also provided. Accommodation and vegetarians meals are also included within this payment
USD 440 per week
This fee includes yoga teacher training courses for 100, 200, 300 and 500 hour in various styles. This fee includes three vegetarian meals, single or double room accommodation with attached bath, hot running water and other amenities like Wi-Fi.
USD 1200 to USD 3200
They say, Hindu God Ram and his brother Laxman had crossed river Ganges in ancient times. There are two bridges namely Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula (where Jhula means bridge) that connect the Ganges banks at two different places making it easier for people to travel around the city. These popular bridges attract tourists with the immense beauty of Ganga they allow individuals to watch. While crossing these bridges, you will see number of people clicking photographs. Well, you may be the one.
Yoga for beginners is provided for those who wish to understand the rudiments of yoga. The fee includes beginner level one week yoga programme, accommodation and healthy yogic food. Some yoga ashrams offer complimentary Ayurveda massage.
USD 350 per week
Ayurveda retreats in Rishikesh provide a range of holistic healing practices including yoga meditation and chakra balancing sessions. They also provide advice on herbal remedies, therapeutic massages, relaxing oil treatments and advice on health issues as an alternate means to improve health and treat ailments and diseases. Ayurveda treatments and therapies at Yoga Ashrams in Rishikesh include detoxification, Ayurveda massage, panchakarma, shirodhara, fasting and naturopathy. Ayurveda treatment helps the participants to bring about a balance in mind, body and spirit which helps to establish optimum health and contentment. Ayurveda treatments in Rishikesh comprise those that are known and trusted methods of healing and those that have been used in India for centuries.
Rishikesh sits at the foothills of the Himalayas and is not only a yoga destination but is equally popular as a tourist destination. In Rishikesh, pilgrims rub shoulders with tourists, yoga enthusiasts and adventure seekers as the town caters to a number of needs. In the sixties, it was the pop group of the Beatles that brought fame to Rishikesh and yoga and meditation gained international recognition, which brought to Rishkesh the spiritual seekers. Today the River Ganga is known both for its sacred relevance as much as it is known for or its white water rafting. Similarly, the mystical Himalayas are as much a place for spiritual contemplation as they are for trekking trails and other adventure activities like bungee and cliff jumping, etc. All in all Rishikesh has something to offer the yoga lover, the spiritual practitioner, health and wellness seeker as it has for the adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers.
• Triveni Ghat has been named so as it is the place where the three rivers Ganges, Yamuna and legendary Saraswati meet and is the biggest bathing ghat in Rishikesh with a mesmerizing view of mountains and river. The Ganga Aarti organized here is a sight to behold.
• Lakshman Jhula is an iron suspension bridge on the river Ganges. Legend has it that Lakshman (brother of Lord Ram) crossed the river here with the help of a jute rope. The current bridge is a pedestrian bridge but is lined with shops that sell interesting stuff to tourists.
• Ram Jhula is another suspension bridge between Sivananda Ashram (also known as Divine Life Society) and Swarg Ashram. Sivananda Ashram, Yog Niketan Ashram and Omkarnanda Ashram are located at one end of the bridge and on the other end are Swarg Ashram, Gita Bhawan and Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Parmarth Niketan Ashram hosts the International Yoga Festival every year.
• Gita Bhawan Ashram is famous for the temple that depicts the life of Lord Krishna in pictures, while the Bhagvad Gita is written on the walls of the Ashram. The Ashram complex has clothes and book stores, Ayurvedic medicine shop and a restaurant.
• Swarg Ashram which literally translates to heavenly ashram is known for its beautiful surroundings. Within Swarg Ashram is the ashram where the Beatles meditated and the place sees many visitors even though it is in ruins now.
• Ganga Aarti is the evening prayer ceremony on the banks of the Ganges and is performed at Triveni Ghat or Parmarth Niketan. There is something magical in the Ganga Aarti that must be seen and felt and is highly recommended as a must do activity.
• The famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is 31 kms from Rishikesh. Legends associate the temple with Lord Shiva who is believed to have mediated here after he consumed poison during the Samudra Mantha (sea churning). Lord Shiva's throat became blue because of the poison so he was called NeelKanth (Blue throated). Today it is a pilgrimage site visited by devotes who often use the trekking route from Swarg Ashram.
• Bharat Mandir, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is located in the centre of Rishikesh and is one of the oldest temples in Rishikesh. The story goes that when Raibhya Rishi was doing penance here, Lord Vishnu appeared before the sage to bestow his blessings. The Temple has small museum also.
• Terah Manzil Temple (thirteen storied temple) is also located close to Lakshman Jhula. The temple is also known as the Trayambakeshwar Temple and the view from the top is worth the climbYoga Centers/Schools Description
• White water rafting from Brahmpuri, Shivpuri and Kaudiyala is very popular. Rafting is done only from June to October.
• Bungee Jumping is carried out from Jumpin Heights which is 15km from Rishikesh. The jump is 83 meters above a natural river. Activities like Flying Fox and Giant Swing have also gained popularity here.
• Anyone interested in wildlife can do the jungle safari at Rajaji National Park or Chilla Park which is just 25 kms from Rishikesh.
• Trekking is another activity that is enjoyed by tourists. Some trekking routes take you to waterfalls like Neergarh or waterfall trek, Kunjapuri trek, Neelkanth Temple Trek, Jhilmil Gufa Trek and Trek near Rajaji National Park.
• Kayaking, biking, cycling, rock climbing, rappelling, body surfing and cliff jumping are other adventures you can indulge in at Rishikesh.
• Camping is an interesting weekend activity on the banks of rivers or inside forests in the months of May to October. You can opt for budget, deluxe or luxury camps or according to the adventure activities they provide.
Rishikesh is not only a yoga hub but is equally popular as a tourist destination. Rishikesh attracts those who are spiritually inclined as well as those who wish to have a rush of adrenaline. You can reach Rishkesh by air, rail or bus from New-Delhi
Jolly Grant in Dehradun is the nearest airport and flights arrive here from New-Delhi. It takes only a 30 minute taxi ride to reach Rishikesh from Dehradun.
From New-Delhi the nearest railhead is Haridwar from where Rishikesh is just 30 to 45 minutes away by taxi, bus or auto-rickshaw, depending on the traffic on the road. There are four daily trains that run from Delhi to Haridwar, early morning and late night 11:50. The duration of the train journey is between 4 to 8 hours depending on the train. Prior booking by train is a must as trains are often fully booked
A New- Delhi to Rishikesh bus ride is usually 8 hours long but can take longer depending on vehicular congestion. Buses ply early morning or late night. It is best to avoid this journey if you are a first time traveller in India.
Taxi is safe and economical way to travel from New-Delhi to Rishikesh. It takes about six to 8 hours to reach Rishikesh. Charges may vary so you need to be smart when dealing with the taxi driver or you could get fleeced. If you are first time in India, do book the taxi through some agency prior to your date of arrival.
The yoga ashrams where you are booked into also offer taxi services and the taxi rates are
• New Delhi airport to Rishikesh: USD 70
• Rishikesh to New Delhi airport: USD 60
• Dehradun airport to Rishikesh: USD 15
• Haridwar Train Station to Rishikesh: USD 20