Hailed as the adventure capital of India, Rishikesh is also popular as a spiritual destination. This little town is a beautiful amalgamation of the old and the new. Don’t be surprised if you find people rafting, and jumping off the cliff and meditating or performing religious rites all in a matter of few kilometres. Located on the foothills of Himalayas, Rishikesh has long been a destination to attract people from and beyond. So, if you find yourself in the midst of this unique place, here’s what you could do to make the best of your trip.
The Ganga Aarti is one of the most religious and spiritual experiences in Rishikesh. The ceremony takes place every evening to pay respect to the river Ganga. The chants, smoke from the incense, the lighted diyas floating in the river and thousands of people united by a single thread of devotion, all this make the Ganga aarti one tranquil experience.
Rishikesh is steeped in thousands of years of history and culture. Few hours in the city and you realise you are on a different turf altogether. The look, the smell and the feel of the town will transport you into a bygone era. This is a town where religion and spirituality go hand in hand and you experience it at every nook and corner. Faith and devotion are what constitute the air.
River rafting is an adventure sport that allows you to traverse the currents of a river. Rishikesh is the most popular place to raft. The Ganges provides the best challenge for the rafting enthusiasts. You can choose your rafting experience as per your experience. The rafting trail usually starts at 8 km and go up to 36 km. The difficulty level depends on the grade of the rapids.
This rafting experience from Byasi is for the experienced rafters. The 32 km ride is one of the toughest rides with 12 rapids including some small and some big ones with grade III and IV. It takes about one hour to drive to the starting point. Spend another 30 minutes for the preparation and safety briefing.
If you want to feel excitement and terror at the same time, bungee jumping is what you should try your hands at. Rishikesh has India’s highest bungee jumping platform – Jumping Heights – which is 83 mt in height. It is also the only fixed platform for bungee jumping in India. You will be tied to the platform from the cable, straddled up in a harness and then you take the plunge. The 5-10 seconds of free fall will be exhilarating and worth all the courage you summed up for the activity. Are you ready to look at the world from a different angle?
The quiet of the mountains and woods and the soft gushing of the river Ganga makes for the perfect camping experiences. The two-day camping adventure will involve a night’s stay in camps and adventurous activities like rafting, body surfing and cliff jumping. The bonfire at night will give you an opportunity to mingle with fellow campers from different walks of life.
When you are making your ‘Things to do in Rishikesh’ list, Ayurvedic massages and therapies are a must entrant in it. Visit the town any time of the year and unwind your mind, body and soul with a good Ayurvedic therapy. Rishikesh has some of the best Ayurvedic treatment centres. Hemadri Ayurveda Centre, tattva Ayurveda Centre, Haritha Ayurveda Academy and Panchakarma Centre are some of the many popular places for Ayurvedic treatment.
Rishikesh is full of ashrams, sadhus and gurus. The place offers such a contrast; it is a hub for new age adventure, but spirituality is also an inseparable part of the city. Rishikesh is full of Yoga and meditation centres. For a quick detox from the urban jungle and 21st-century lifestyle, Avdhoot Ashram offers you a 3-day stay. The stay will include yoga and meditation and a satvik lifestyle. Get ready to explore your spiritual side!
Now, this needed a special mention. The Beatles put Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on a global map when they visited the ashram in 1967. They stayed here for almost 3 months. Tour the ashram and visit the nearby places. Love Peace and Rock and Roll!
Rishikesh offers enough trekking trails through majestic mountains, dense forests and beautiful valleys. It usually a starting point for many Himalayan treks. For entry-level treks, there are many trails surrounding this little town.
If you are an experienced trekker, aim a little higher and explore the beauty of Himalayas. The Tapovan Trek is one of the most picturesque trekking trails. The seven-day trek will take you through the glaciers or Gangotri, Gaumukh, the source of river Ganga, Neel Tal and many more stunning places.
Rishikesh offers abundant opportunities for climbing up and down mountains. Rappelling will allow you to navigate your way down a hill or a giant rock. You will be harnessed and all the safety measures will be taken care of and you will be under the watchful eyes of experienced professional.