Rishikesh, a name that derives is origin from Hindu mythology, meaning “Lord of Senses”. The name Rishikesh is loosely applied to an association of five distinct sections encompassing not only the town but also hamlets and settlements on both sides of the river Ganges. These include Rishikesh itself, the commercial and communication hub; the sprawling suburb Muni-ki-Reti or the “sands of the sages”; Shivananda Nagar the home of Sivananda Ashram and the Divine Life Society founded by Swami Sivananda, north of Rishikesh; the temple section of Lakshman Jhula, a little further north; and the assorted Ashrams around Swarg Ashram on the east bank. The Ganga Aarti performed at dusk at the Triveni Ghat is popular with visitors. Neelakanta Maha Deva Temple (or, ‘Neelkanth Mahadev Temple’), situated 28 km from Rishikesh, amidst forest is also a popular local pilgrimage, along with ‘Vasishtha Guha’, (Cave of sage Vasishtha), 21km up from the town by the Ganges.
The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh.
As with Haridwar about an hour south, Rishikesh is considered by Hindus to be a holy city and is vegetarian by law.
Rishikesh – Best Time to Visit Rishikesh
Rishikesh is a picturesque destination affording enchanting views throughout the year. 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. However right time to visit Rishikesh would be February, March, August-October.
May June is quite hot at Rishikesh temperature touching + 35 °C.
Best Time To Visit Rishikesh Best Time – Season to Visit Rishikesh for River Rafting The best time to visit Rishikesh for River Rafting,Camp in rishikesh Shivpuri, (camping in rishikesh price & cost) is from late September – October to mid November, and then the best time to visit Rishikesh is from early March – April to first week of May.
In July there is a festival in Rishikesh called Savan where thousands of people flock to Rishikesh. Major roads are blocked and hotels are crowded. It is better to avoid traveling to Rishikesh during that time.
Following are the Tourist Attractions of Rishikesh
To be found in the heart of town, is the most famous bathing ghat, where most pilgrims take a holy dip earlier than they visit the various temples. This is done generally in the early mornings, with the pilgrims offering prayers and milk at the Ghat and feeding the fish in the water. An amazing sight here is the evening arati, a ceremony accompanied by lights, drums and chanting, with the entire ghat lit with lamps glowing from a distance.
Near the Ghat, is the temple known as Bharat Mandir said to be the oldest temple here built by the Adi Shankaracharya. This 9th century temple has the deity of Lord Vishnu carved out of a single black stone popular as Saligram, and is placed in the inner chambers of the temple. The original temple was said to have been destroyed in 1398 AD. If you are lucky, catch the spring festival also called Basant Panchami celebrated here.
Close to the Triveni Ghat is the very old place of Rishikund where the Saint Kubz is said to have been blessed by the Goddess Yamuna, who filled the pond with her water. The temple of Raghunath dedicated to Lord Rama and his wife Sita is sited here.
2 kilometers from Swarg Ashram, is the well-known Lakshman Jhula a suspension bridge 450 feet long and built in 1939. Named after Lord Ram’s younger brother Lakshman, it has temples dotting its either side, including the famed Lakshman Temple at Tapovan. One more noteworthy ashram is the 13 storeyed Kailashananda Ashram, with each storey being dedicated to a different deity.
Ramjhula is situated 3Km north of Rishikesh. It’s a very popular place amongst people coming for religious purposes because it has very known Ashrams. Most known is Geeta Bhavan & Swarg Ashram and these temples are very important in Hindu society and you will see much more commotion here then in Lakshmanjhula.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
To be found at a distance of 12 km from Rishikesh, this temple stands at a height of 926m on top of a hill across the river Ganga. It derives its name from Lord Shiva. According to mythological belief; the cosmic churning of the oceans (Sagar Manthan) for the potion of immortality (amrit) by the Gods and the Demons; produced a venomous liquid, which was consumed by Lord Shiva at this place. As a result, his throat became blue in color, which in Hindi literally means ‘Neelkanth’ (blue throat). The place is a favorite among the religious tourists.