While making your things to do in Rishikesh list, make sure you prepare to challenge your body, mind and soul. The town is sprawling not only with people searching for moksha but also with the ones looking out for the next big adventure. It is here, at Land of Gods, that you get to experience your limits – spiritually and physically.
There are many names and titles given to this little town in the foothills of the Himalayas. ‘The Gateway to the Himalayas’ and ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ are some of them. But Rishikesh is also the ‘Adventure Capital of India’. Rishikesh offers everything to one and all. It is one of those few places that has crossed the boundaries of age and class. The young seeking to live a risqué life, families either on vacation to perform some important rite or ritual, the elderly basking in the comfort of their religion and the lost souls searching themselves, Rishikesh sits calmly beside the rives Ganges and welcomes everyone from all walks of life. Here are few experiences that you can look forward to while in Rishikesh:
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. Here’s a list of few rafting experiences by Xoxoday that will appeal to the adventure in you:
This 10 km rafting is for beginners and involves cliff jumping at 25-30 ft and body surfing.
This medium level rafting experience will be a thrill for any rafting enthusiast. The rapids are grade II and III and the distance of 16 km is enough for you to enjoy the experience.
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.
This is a great combo package for adventure junkies. You can stay in the camps for one night, take part in various activities and mingle with fellow campers during the bonfire. and go for a 26 km rafting.
Best time for rafting: June to October
Difficulty level: Easy (Grade I), Medium (Grade II, III), Difficult (Grade IV)
Total rafting stretch: Kaudiyala to Lakshman Jhula (36 km). The stretch has with 13 tides.
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?
Enjoy flying like a bird above the river Ganges at a height of 83 mt. In flying fox, your body will be parallel to the cable to give you the feel of flying. This will be a tandem flight which means you will have one or two people with you zipping down the rope to the other end.
Giant swing is another adventure sport that is quite popular in Rishikesh. It is like bungee jumping in its execution. The elastic cord will swing you across the valley at a height of 83 mt. You hang in the air for a while like you are on a swing. You can attempt this activity at most of the bungee jumping spots.
If bungee jumping is too adventurous for you, try zip line. You will be harnessed to the wire and then released to roll down the to the lowest point. Zipline will have you in a sitting position while you zip through the cable.
The location for this activity is Snow Leopard’s Camp Panther in the Shivpuri village. It is a 15-minute drive upstream from Tapovan, Rishikesh. The 1.5 hours experience also includes a short forest trek to the point of the zipline. Buckle up and enjoy yourself in this aerial adventure!
Parasailing and Paragliding
Another popular aerial adventure sports in Rishikesh are parasailing and paragliding. Your ride can be solo or tandem, depending on your choice and experience. Talk to the skies and get to see the city of sadhus 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.
If you find an elevated spot on the banks of Ganges with a large number of people, know they are all there for jumping into the river. Cliff jumping is one of the most popular adventure activities in Rishikesh. The cliff jumping sights are selected basis the flow and tide of the river and how rocky the surface of the river is in those areas. While in Rishikesh, feel the thrill of jumping into a river with nothing but life vests!
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. Treks through the hillocks and forests, to the waterfalls and more. Proximity to places such as Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath make Rishikesh a hub for more challenging treks.
This is ideal for starters as it is a 5-6 hours trails through the forests. The spectacular views and quiet dense woods make this trail a popular one among the amateurs.
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.
Rappelling and Rock Climbing
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. Similarly, you can experience rock climbing. Here, you will be taught how to climb a rock with you all harnessed up.
Hot Air Ballooning
Not the most popular of all activities to do in Rishikesh, Hot Air Ballooning is an underrated one. The views that you might witness – majestic mountains, mighty Ganga flowing tens of feet below you and the cool mountain breeze brushing your face – are the things that dreams are made of.
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.
Yoga and Meditation
You are in the foothills of Himalayas. How can you not expect an extra dose of spirituality! 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. Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Omkarananda Ganga Sadan, Sivananda Ashram and Shree Mahesh Heritage School are among the top Rishikesh ashrams are some of the popular places for yoga and meditation
Spend quality in this quaint little town, practice yoga and meditation under experienced Gurus, eat healthy food, indulge in conversations with like-minded people and practice the balance of mind, body and soul. This and much more is what this 13 nights retreat to Siddha Yoga Retreat offers.
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!
Okay, on the face of it, Rishikesh doesn’t look like a place where one would ‘café hop’. The town is full of little street cafes. Little Buddha Cafe, The 60’s Cafe, Bistro Nirvana and Ellbee Ganga View are some of the popular ones.
You may ask, “how different café hopping is in Rishikesh than in any other city?” How many places offer you an opportunity to sip coffee while overlooking the Ganga river? Few.
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 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.
Here are Xoxoday picks for you to know Rishikesh a little better:
Visit the local markets, temples, ashrams and all the famous cultural points of Rishikesh and know the history behind each place. When you are done with all the holiness of the town, hop on a raft and get ready to tame the mighty Ganges.
Every now and then you need an experience that will break away from the clichés. Renting a motorbike and exploring Rishikesh is one of them
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.
Aarti timing: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Venue: Triveni Ghat