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10 places to visit in the lesser explored Rishikesh

Triveni Ghat, Rishikesh, Top 10 places to visit in Rishikesh (19)

Rishikesh, as we’ve all known it as, is known for being the birthplace of Yoga and the pilgrimage center for several Hindus. Lying at the foothills of Himalayas, what this place is lesser known for is its adventurous side.

Many times it was a household joke back at my place, that if someone’s preparing to go to Rishikesh it’s probably to wash off their sins at the holy Ganga. The Rishikesh that I experienced though, taught me to let loose of myself in the lesser explored depths of it. So here is my travelogue from this beautiful city. 
 

1. Lakshman Jhula

Lakshman jhula
 
Barely 5 km from the railway station is the first spot that I had gone to. When I saw this bridge I started wondering if I had walked onto a replica of the Howrah bridge. Stretching to 450 feet and with a height of 70 feet, Lakshman Jhula iron bridge holds both religious and touristy aspects to it. As its name suggests, based on Hindu mythology, Lakshmana had once crossed the holy Ganga on a jute rope at this spot. There’s also Ram Jhula which is bigger than Laxman Jhula. These suspended bridges are a common spot for tourists to come and get display-worthy pictures clicked. Even with the kind of crowd that stood to click pictures at this pedestrian bridge, I had my space to enjoy this beautiful spot.
 

2. The Neer Garh Waterfalls

The Neer Garh Waterfalls
 
A 6-kilometer hike from the bridge led me to a majestic waterfall. The Neer Garh waterfalls are one among the untouched wonders here and reflect on the peaceful vibe of Rishikesh. The waterfall is a series of three streams, and each is at distinguishable heights. It was a gradual walk up to the main point, starting with a small pool like body. Here I chose to stop by for a while for a cup of hot chai. Soon after which I continued climbing the way up. The trail gets steeper, so extra caution was to be taken. I spotted the second bridge near the main waterfall, and once it came to my view I was blown away with its beauty. 
 
Almost 25 feet height of chilling waters. I stopped to dip my feet in the waters there, and instantly felt the chills hitting my nerves! On my way back I could spot the localities coming by to take their routine bath at the falls. Having left for the falls at the early hours of 8 am, I could explore the place peacefully at my own pace.  
 

3. Gita Bhavan

Gita bhavan

Constructed newly around the Lakshman Jhula was an Ayurvedic dispensary that caught my interest. Walking into the dispensary, I was engulfed with the strong scents and stories of the timeless art of Ayurveda. Gita Bhavan, home to this dispensary is also home to several saints and travelers who come from far distances.

Located on the banks of the holy Ganga, this place is quite packed with tourists who come by to attend the Satsang and meditation. My stay was arranged at this place and it was free of cost. With more than a thousand rooms to accommodate the devotees and tourists, it’s one among the famous tourist spots here.

Added with the stay other services can be availed with zero cost expenditure. The ferry services, bookstalls, cloth shop, and Ayurveda dispensary are few among them. Yet another unmissable feature around this area is the striking mythological stories and characters painted on the walls.

4. Swarg Ashram 

Swarg Ashram
 
After freshening up from here, I had left for one of the oldest ashrams in India – Swarg Ashram. Perfect for starting the trip at a peaceful note, I had gone to this place due to its historical and meditational richness. Attending the yoga and meditation sessions here would be an enlightening experience. I stayed long enough to enjoy the sunset at the ashram. Watching the sun melt away from the banks of the river flowing past, was a view worth it.
 

5. Kaudilyala

Kaudilyala , Rishikesh
 
Now comes the part of the trip that got me all riled up! The adventure sports as Kaudiyala! There was a list of activities such as mountaineering, rock climbing, ziplining, river rafting, camping, trekking and so on. Rishikesh does not just provide you food for your soul through its religious pilgrimage, it also makes sure you leave with the most adrenaline rushing experiences from here! Camping options here were pretty attractive with the full facilitated tenting and night bonfire with music and so on. I chose to pitch a tent here and stay for the night before leaving for the adventurous sports the next day. The starry skies at Rishikesh were like no other I’d seen before and would be a cherished memory that I’d take from here. 
 
Kaudiyala, as they had told me, was one of the most visited viewpoints in Rishikesh. White water rafting was the activity that kept me at the edge of my seat! The cold water splashing on to me as the raft kept leaping and the occasional slopes down the river, all of it brought chills to my spine. The raft can go as far as to Shivpuri, which is also one of the famous whitewater rafting arenas. 
 
While rafting I also got to see different sights of Rishikesh – cyclists trying to pace up with the rafters, tourists trying to get the perfect image of the river and the activities conducted there, kids picking up pebbles at the banks of the river and occasionally waving at the tourists. 
 

6. Shivpuri

river rafting in rishikesh

Along with Kaudiyala, one of the most visited viewpoints in Rishikesh is Shivpuri. White water rafting was the activity that kept me at the edge of my seat! The cold water splashing on to me as the raft kept leaping and the occasional slopes down the river, all of it brought chills to my spine. The raft can go as far as to Shivpuri, which is also one of the famous whitewater rafting arenas.

While rafting I also got to see different sights of Rishikesh – cyclists trying to pace up with the rafters, tourists trying to get the perfect image of the river and the activities conducted there, kids picking up pebbles at the banks of the river and occasionally waving at the tourists.

7. Rajaji National Park

Rajaji National Park
 
After a tiring day of activities, a calmer but equally exciting option of jeep safari at the Rajaji National Park is what I’d go for! With tickets starting from 150 Rs and further, based on the safari and photography options we choose, this place presents you the wilderness of Rishikesh in all its glory. 
 
I could vouch for the fact that for wildlife and photography enthusiasts, this would be paradise in their footsteps. Open during all days, Rajaji park represents one of the oldest ecosystems in the country. Due to its location between the Shivalik ranges and the Indo-Gangetic Plains, the rich and extensive flora and fauna become an unmissable feature. Staying in the little cottages amidst nature is an even mesmerizing experience.
 

8. Beatles Ashram

Beatles Ashram , Rishikesh
 
Part of this Park is the infamous Beatles ashram or the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, which got globally acclaimed after the Beatles had visited it. At the end of it, I had my memory card filled up with photos of the majestic animals, and of course, mud splashed all over me. But then again, what’s a good day without all the mess in hand?
 

9. Risihikund

Risihikund
 
There are numerous streams and rivers around Rishikesh, one of the most therapeutic and serene one according to me is Rishikund. Loosely translated as the Pond of Sages, this hot water spring brings about several pilgrims throughout the year. Stepping into its waters, I could feel the entire day evaporate off as my limbs relaxed in the warmth. 
 

10. Triveni Ghat

Triveni Ghat , Rishikesh
 
After a quick wash at Rishikund, I went around to witness the ritualistic aarti at Triveni Ghat. The evening Maha Ganga aarti creates a very spiritualistic aura and is unmatched with any other experience at Rishikesh. A large crowd gathers for this aarti and it was simply beautiful to watch them float their small oil lamps in leaf boats at Ganga. The calmness here even in the chaos happening during the puja and aarti would leave you to spellbound! 
 
Rishikesh has always been the place people came to in search of higher wisdom and being. Even if not spiritually, I sure felt my understanding of the world around me grow in those 5 days. 
 

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