Rishikesh is just 24 Kms from Haridwar. Located in the laps of lower Himalayas, this place is considered to be the access point of three other pilgrim places of Badrinath - Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri the four great places which combine to make Chardham . Rishikesh is surrounded by scenic beauty of the hills on three sides with Holy Ganga flowing through it.
The whole place is considered to be sacred as it is believed that meditation at this place leads to attainment of salvation. There are many temples-some ancient, some new along the river Ganges. The River side is dotted by the ashrams of Sadhus and sages. Rishikesh is also famous for ashrams teaching Yoga.
In the 60's even the Beatles could not miss the charm of Rishikesh and they came here to meet their Guru. The Ganga, which is known for its strong currents and fierce behaviour up stream, suddenly becomes slow and gracious here. At Rishikesh, Ganga leaves the mountains and joins the plains for her long journey.
Rishikesh is not only an attraction for pilgrims but it also attracts foreigners who want to know about Hinduism, who want to spend some time close to the Lord, people who love rafting come here to conquer the rapids of Ganga. Rishikesh is also an ideal base camp for trekking in the nearby Himalayas.
How to get there
Rishikesh does not have an airstrip of its own. But there are trains from all the major cities in the plains. The best transport for Rishikesh is by bus. Bus services are available from far and near places. Particularly there are regular services from Haridwar which is just half-an- hour journey from Rishikesh.
Shopping in Rishikesh
Being a pilgrimage place, the glamour of big shop bargains are absent but Rishikesh offers you handicraft items made of shells, beads and pearls. Sarees, kurtas, sheets and rugs can be purchased from here. You can buy these items from the government approved U.P handloom shop, Khadi Bhandar, Garhwal wool and craft shop etc.
Climate in Rishikesh
The climate here is continental type but its location in the foot hills gives it a pleasant weather throughout the year. One can visit Rishikesh any time of the year.
A word of caution
Even the police here accepts that crime is increasing and incidents of fraud are common. Tourist, if new to place, should only contact authorised persons for assistance and should keep an eye on the thugs. Bargain in the tariffs of the hotels.