Rishikesh is a holy city, nestled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayan Mountains, in Northern India’s Uttarakhand state. It is the starting point for many pilgrimages to ancient temples located in the Himalaya’s and it is home to the famous Lord Shiva temple. It is very picturesque; nestled by mountains on 3 sides and the Holy Ganga River flowing through the heart of the town. The freshness of the air, sound of flowing water, the scenic beauty of the town, and the distant echo of bell chimes create an extraordinary experience for those who visit Rishikesh.
According to mythology, the sage Rishi Raibhya sat on the banks of the Ganga and performed severe penance in the form of austere yoga practices. Then one day lord Vishnu appeared in front of him in the form of Rishikesh. This is how present day Rishikesh obtains its name. Over the ages, saints have meditated in this very peaceful place where the mountains nestle the sacred Ganga River. Legends also state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. It is also said that Rama’s younger brother, Lakshmana, crossed the Holy Ganga River, at a point, where the 'LakshmanJhula' bridge stands today.
Rishikesh has an abundance of creative and spiritual energy that attracts pilgrims, seekers, yoga practitioners, and international travelers a like. Over the last 20 years many Yoga Centers have opened up and thus Rishikesh has slowly become known as 'The World Capital of Yoga. It is an ideal place for a beginner to embark on their yogic journey or an experienced practitioner to come to deepen their personal practice. Whether you are looking to experience the true authentic ashram lifestyle, or simply enjoy attending classes while staying in a lovely hotel overlooking the Ganga, Rishikesh has something to offer everyone.
An annual International Yoga Festival is held by the Utarakhand Tourism Board between March 1st and March 7th In which world renowned teachers and hundreds of practitioners from all over the world come together to celebrate the universal spirit of Yoga in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is also home to many famous ashrams such as Sivananda, Swarg ashram, Gita Ashram, Parmathniketan, and the notorious Beatles Ashram.