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Rishikesh is not that densely populated as Haridwar. The Ganges here is fast flowing too, and quite clean as well. There is more greenery. The ambience is peaceful and serene. Climate is equatable, with summer temparatures ranging at 41 degrees to 37 degrees, and winter temparatures dropping to 32 degrees to 18 degrees, coupled with a chilly breeze. However, Like Haridwar, it is also a Veg only city.
Places to see:
Walk down or hire an auto to Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula (5 kilometers) , the two hanging bridges on the ganges. Beside Laxman Jhula, you will find an excuisite coffee and pastry shop, with a nice view of the Ganges. It is everyone's favorite.
Laxman Jhula is also known as Muni ki reti. It was a rope hanging bridge before which was converted to Steel ropes in 1929. While you cross the bridge, you will find the whole bridge vibrating do to your's and other's footsteps. Check out the Laxman temple, and the 14 storied Kailashananda Mission Ashram. A bit away is Kali Kamali Samadhi Mandir, Rameshwar temple, Laxminarayan temple and Gita Bhawan. 2 Kilometers away is Swargashram, where you will find beautiful artworks, and models based on puranas. It is also the abode of many yogis and hermits. There are many ashrams in this area too, like Shankaracharya Nagar, Chai Baba's ashram, tapovan, Shivananda ashram, etc.
Ideally, take an auto to Laxman Jhula and leave it there. Then travel on foot to all these places. After you have reached Gita Bhawan to Swargashram, take a ferry boat to Ram Jhula, for a pleasing ride over the Ganges. Then cross over Ram Jhula and you are back at Rishikesh.
Nilkanth Pahar and Nilkanth Mahadev Darshan:
You can hire a car for Rs.500 plus or trek for 4 hours to cover a distance of 17 kilometers to reach the peak of Swargashram or Nilkantha Pahar (mountain). It is said that Lord Shiva had drank the poison Holahol at this peak. Views are very good too, and so is the route through enchanting grenery. A must visit if you are in Rishikesh. You might get shared veheicles too.
Char Dham Yatra:
From Rishikesh starts the char dham yatra. You will need a colera immunization certificate before you start the journey. Buses are arranged by the state government. Just contact the following address, and you will get all the details:
GMVN Yatra Office
Hardwar Bypass Road
Rishikesh – 249201
Or you can contact the GMVN website.
Reach the bus stand a day early and get advance tickets for the first bus the next day at 4.30 am. You can reach Badrinath by the evening if you board the first bus. Sumos are also plying for the journey.
Must Do at Rishikesh: Other than taking the flavor of the religion of Hinduism, which is arguably the oldest religion, ask your hotel reception to arrange for a river rafting session. It is quite safe, and men, women and kids can join in the fun, even if they haven't seen an inflatable before, thanks to the guides. They will take you uphill for a short, 30 minutes ride on the Ganges till Rishikesh. The rapids at the river the the biggest fun, couple with adventure, and you will return a happy lot.
How to reach: It is at a short distance from Hardwar, and you will get buses, shared autos and sumos, or you can hire an entire car for the journey. Takes about an hour. Some trains also go to Rishikesh.
Where to stay: There are plenty of hotels, ranging from premium ones like Ganga Beach resort, to absolute minimul ones like Dharamshalas. Just check our hotel booking links below to make your choice and to book online.
Ganga at Rishikesh Laxman Jhula
Sunset at Rishikesh