Rishikesh, yoga capital of the world. The city where people flock to learn the ways of this beautiful and ancient practice. A deeply spiritual and historic place. However, there is so much more to Rishikesh than just yoga. This week, we explore our top 5 reasons to visit Rishikesh (that aren’t yoga!).
Neer Garh Waterfall
Located just outside of Rishikesh is the stunning Neer Garh Waterfall. Within walking distance, or accessible by taxi or car, this natural beauty is a slightly more off-the-beaten-path experience. Enjoy an easy walk through the lush forest of Rishikesh to the base of this two-tier waterfall. The first cascade is found just a short 1km walk from the base. Here, you can dip your toe into the plunge pool, or for our more intrepid explorers, continue the short climb to the main fall. Here, you will find snack stands, and a larger pool. Let us tell you- there is nothing more refreshing than lounging in the crystal waters of Neer Garh. Especially whilst sipping on a delicious hot chai…
Experiencing a Ganga Aarti Ceremony
For those who have not experienced one, a ganga aarti ceremony is truly a spiritual and breathtaking ritual. An offering of fire made to the gods, these ceremonies occur at night and involve a series of chants, prayers and offerings of diyas (small lit candles) to the goddess Ganga. Ceremonies are performed in the holy cities, Hardwar and Rishikesh, as well as the famous Varanasi. Be sure to venture down to the banks of the Ganges as the sun sets, as this is one of India’s sacred experience you really cannot miss…
Safari in Rajaji National Park
One for the animal lovers, Rajaji National Park is famed for its biodiversity and elephant population. Home to leopards, tigers and spotted deer, as well as many other species, this park is an absolute must-see. With an incredible 400 species of bird known to be found there, bird lovers will also not be disappointed. ocated in the Shivalik area of the Himalayas and offers visitors an incredible insight into the lush landscape of Rishikesh.
Visiting the Beatles Ashram
Located close to the Ganges and set against the breathtaking mountainous backdrop of the Himalayas, the Beatles Ashram is a sight to behold, even despite its abandoned state. The ashram was previously known as Chaurasi Kutia. It was where students of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came to learn his transcendental meditation technique. Inspired by his practice, the Beatles visited between February and April of 1968 and wrote many of the songs that would become the “White Album”. Abandoned in the 1990s, the ashram is now overgrown and derelict. However, it maintains much of its spiritual energy and is a great place to explore the city’s history, culture and religion.
Okay, we’ll admit it- this is one for the thrill seekers. However, Rishikesh offers some of the best adventure activities and most picturesque scenery in the world. Furthermore, it is something of a mecca for nature lovers. Available are white-water rafting, hiking, bungee jumping and paragliding just to name a few. Battle the turquoise rapids of the Ganges, visit traditional villages of the Himalayas and also explore the area on a mountain bike. No matter if you are a beginner or seasoned professional, there’s something here for everyone…