Lakshman Jhula is a 450 ft suspension bridge, which offers the magnificent view of the river, temples, and ashrams. It was originally a jute bridge, which was reconstructed in 1939 as a suspension iron bridge.
It is believed that the Hindu Lord Rama’s younger brother Lakshman once used this bridge to cross the river Ganga. Since then, the bridge is called the Lakshman Jhula. The famous Swarg Ashram is situated at a distance of 2 km from the bridge. The Ram Jhoola is a popular tourist destination located nearby. Built in 1980, it is a replica of Lakshman Jhula.
Ram Jhoola is considered as a landmark of Rishikesh. It is located at a distance of 3 km from Rishikesh near Muni Ki Reti. This is an iron suspension bridge built over the holy river, Ganga. The bridge is bigger than the Laxman Jhoola and connects Swargashram with Shivananda Ashram.
Triveni Ghat is the place where the three holy rivers, namely Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, unite. Before visiting temples located in Rishikesh, pilgrims must take a dip in the holy water of the ghat. According to a popular belief, taking a dip here washes away all the sins of an individual. In the evening, thousands of pilgrims gather at the ghat for the Maha Aarti. Devotees float flower-filled leaf boats with oil lamp in the river as a token of their devotion. At this place, Pindha Shraddha ritual is also performed for departed souls.
Rajaji National Park, situated at a distance of around 6 km from Rishikesh, spreads across an area of 820.42 sq km. Established in 1983, the park is a combination of three sanctuaries, namely Motichur Sanctuary, Chilla Sanctuary and Rajaji Sanctuary. The park has been named after the famous freedom fighter and statesman, Sri C. Rajagopalachari.
Counted among the major wildlife reserves of India, it is home to over 315 species of birds and 23 species of mammals. Asian elephants, tigers, bears, king cobra, panthers, wild boars, sambars, Indian hares, wild cats and kakar are some of the animals found in the park.
Other animals, including cheetah, sloth bear, hog deer and barking deer, can also be spotted here. The river Ganga flows through the park and extends till 24 km. This park is densely covered with sal, western Gangetic moist, northern dry deciduous and khair-sissoo forests.
The park is open for visitors from 15th November to 15th June every year. Travellers can savour wonderful vistas of the hilly terrain, beautiful valleys and riverbeds during their 34 km jungle safari.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a well-known religious centre in Rishikesh, situated at the confluence of the Pankaja and Madhumati rivers. Located on a hilltop at an altitude of 1330 m above sea level, the shrine provides an amazing view of Vishnukoot, Brahmakoot and Manikoot hills. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu lord of destruction, Shiva. Lord Shiva is also called Neelkanth, blue throat, because he drank the Kalakuta poison, which was obtained after churning the sea. It is believed that this mythological event occurred at this temple and therefore, it is known as Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. Hundreds of devotees visit this temple in the Hindu month of Shraavana (July-August); it is considered an auspicious month to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. Devotees also visit this temple, Shivaratri, a popular Hindu festival, which falls in Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar.
Gita Bhawan is an ancient complex, which is located on the banks of the river Ganga. The beautiful paintings, related to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, on the walls enhance the beauty of the place. Every year, travellers in huge numbers come to take a dip in the sacred water of the Ganga river.
Gita Bhawan has around 1000 rooms where devotees can stay free of cost. Besides taking a dip in the holy river Ganga, devotees can meditate and listen to the preachings of saints at this bhawan. Vegetarian food, sweets and other kitchen items are sold here at reasonable prices.
An ayurvedic department, apparel shop, book shop and the Laxmi-Narayan Temple are also present in the complex. As mentioned in the scriptures, the medicines available in the ayurvedic department are prepared using Himalayan herbs and water of the river Ganga.
Vashishta Gufa is situated on the banks of the river Ganga, at a distance of 16 km from Rishikesh. This gufa is a prominent place for meditation and is located amid a grove of the ficus trees, which are also known as gular trees.
There is a Shiva Lingam near the gufa which is considered sacred by the Hindus. Sri Swami Purushottamananda Ji, a noted Hindu sage, visited this place in 1928 and 1961. His ashram is situated in proximity to the gufa that is visited by numerous tourists.
Tera Manzil Temple, located near Lakshman Jhoola, is one of the famed religious centres in Rishikesh. Also known as the Trimbakeshwar Temple, it is a unique shrine with each of the 13 floors devoted to different Hindu deities.
Kunjapuri Devi Temple is located at a distance of 15 km from Rishikesh. Situated on a small hill, this temple is devoted to one of the thirteen most significant goddesses of Shivalik range. The temple offers a magnificent view of sunset and sunrise. Travellers visiting this temple can also view the peaks of Garhwal Himalayas including Chaukhamba, Swarga Rohini, Bandarpunch and Gangotri. According to a folklore, Sati sacrificed herself after her husband Lord Shiva was humiliated by her father, King Daksha. Sad and melancholic, Lord Shiva decided to carry her body to the Kailash Parvat. It is said that the temple is constructed on the site where the upper part of Goddess Sati fell while Lord Shiva was carrying her corpse.
Kaudiyala, situated at an altitude of 380 m above sea level, is a noted tourist spot located on the Rishikesh-Badrinath Highway. Situated on the banks of the river Ganga, Kaudiyala is surrounded by dense forests.
Kaudiyala is home to various wild animals which travellers can sight during their visit. Adventure enthusiasts can camp in this place and also enjoy white water rafting under the guidance of trained professionals.
Swarg Niwas Temple is a huge orange-coloured temple with 13 floors. The temple belongs to a noted organisation, which works under the leadership of Guru Kailash Anand, one of the first yoga teachers to introduce Hath Yoga in America.
There are many small shrines of various Hindu deities on each floor of this 13-storied temple. The temple offers the mesmerising view of the river Ganga and Rishikesh.
Shivpuri is a small village, which is situated at a distance of 16 km from Rishikesh. Owing to the existence of many temples devoted to the Hindu Lord Shiva, the place got its name ‘Shivpuri’, meaning Lord Shiva’s abode. This small, rural community rests on the banks of the river Ganga and is a noted destination for river rafting.
There are several beach camps in Shivpuri, where adventure enthusiasts can enjoy the thrill of rafting from Shivpuri to Rishikesh. The place is also noted for its calm and serene atmosphere.
Trekking is a well-known adventurous activity which can be best enjoyed in Rishikesh. The Garhwal Himalayan ranges is one of the famous trekking routes in the region that starts from Thalisain and passes through Pauri. Adventure lovers can enjoy a quick trek in Buwani Neergud over the weekend. Trekking is easier in this region; therefore, people with an average physical fitness can also join in the fun. Roopkund is another noted trekking zone, which is situated at a height of 5029 m at Trishul Ridge. Also, known as the Mystery Lake, Roopkund has more than 300 corpses of animals and humans in it. The bodies are well preserved here due to the extremely cold temperature and can be seen when the lake melts. Kauri Pass, Devi National Park, Kalindi Khal Trek and Kankul Khal Trek are some of the other preferred trekking routes. Period between February and October is considered ideal for trekking at these places.
White-water rafting is one of the famous adventurous activities in Rishikesh that has become quite popular among the tourists visiting this city. The river Ganges has both medium and tough rapids; therefore, it serves as a perfect base for trained as well as untrained rafting lovers. Visitors can easily avail rafting gears and services of professional trainers to enjoy white-water rafting. Large numbers of national and international tourists visit this place to experience the thrill involved in the sport. The period from September to November and March to May is considered ideal for rafting.
Shopping is one of the popular activities that tourists can enjoy in Rishikesh. Travellers visiting the city can purchase rudraksha, idols of various Hindu deities, Nataraja statues and religious books. Winter wears, kurtas and skilfully knit salwar kameez are also popular among tourists. Besides, Rishikesh is popular for handicraft items made from shells, pearls and beads.