Situated in the lap of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is one of the popular cities of Uttarakhand. It is surrounded by Pauri Garhwal, Haridwar and Tehri Garhwal. Located about 25 kilometers from Haridwar and 43 kilometers from the capital city Dehradun, Rishikesh has been known for various spiritual and pilgrimage sites since a long time. Today tourists throng the place to enjoy adventures like rafting and jungle walks as well. However the top 9 places that one must visit if in Rishikesh will include Bharat Mandir, Laxman Jhula, Ram Jhula, Swarg Ashram, Triveni Ghat, Gita Bhavan, Parmarth Niketan, Shiva Statue and Trayambakeshwar Temple.
Situated right in the center of the city of Rishikesh is the Bharat Mandir. It is considered to be the most pious, most ancient and the most famous temple due to the establishment of which the city actually came into existence. Going by certain beliefs, if the pilgrims take 108 parikramas of Lord Hrishikesh Narayan on the day of Akshya Tritiya and further seeks blessings at the feet of the Lord, all the wishes of the pilgrim will get fulfilled. In Fact by just doing so, the traveler will have attained the sacred deed of completing the entire pilgrimage to Badrinath.
Gita Bhavan is located on the shores of the river Ganga, surrounded by the Himalayan range at Swargashram in Rishikesh. It includes a massive complex featuring discourse halls and more than 1000 rooms for pilgrims and devotees to stay free of charge. Devotees who reside in Gita Bhavan choose to go for the holy dip in the river Ganga, listen to the discourses, and perform sadhna and medication. During the months of April to July every year, Satsang sessions are organized for the whole day long. Vegetarian food (free of cost), other sweets, Gita Press book shop, ayurvedic treatment and cloth shops are also available in the same complex.
Lakshman Jhula Rishikesh located in the northern region of India is a suspension bridge made up of iron over facing the river Ganga. The construction of this bridge (450 span) was completed in the year 1929 under the management of PWD of Uttar Pradesh. This bridge had replaced the previous old bridge (284 span) which got washed away by the terrible floods of October 1924. The old bridge was actually a gift of Rai Bahadur Surajmal Jhunjhunwala, father of Rai Bahadur Shewpershad Tulshan. It is believed that Lakshmana had crossed the river using jute ropes between the location where the bridge has been made.
Parmarth Niketan is the largest ashram in the city of Rishikesh in North India. It is considered to be a spiritual haven in the real sense located on the banks of the river Ganga that various pilgrims visit to attain peace, serenity and tranquility. It comprises of more than 1000 rooms to accommodate spiritual travelers from across the globe. The routine of a devotee residing in the ashram of Parmarth Niketan will include universal prayers in the morning, yoga, meditation, satsang, kirtan, lecture sessions, ayurvedic treatment, nature cure and the most famous Ganga Aarti conducted at the time of sunset.
Ram Jhula is one of the prominent landmarks of Rishikesh and is situated about 3 kilometers from this city. It links the Shivananda Ashram to the region of Swarg Ashram. This iron suspension bridge is about 450 feet long structure created over the river Ganga by the Public Works Department of Uttar Pradesh in 1980. Ram Jhula Rishikesh is very famous for the markets of gems, precious stones, clothes, ayurvedic medicines, puja items, paintings, incense sticks and statues of each deity. Chotiwala and Madras Café are two of the renowned restaurants thronged by travelers to relish simply yet lip smacking meals.
The Shiva Statue Rishikesh is located right opposite to the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in the northern region of India. It is one of the most attractive tourist spots and spiritual destinations for people to visit from across the nation. The Ganga Aarti held every evening at the spot is a must visit for every pilgrim who visits Rishikesh. The Shiva Statue Rishikesh has also stood tall in times of the crazy monsoon showers received in the state of Uttarakhand in the year 2013. After the restoration work, the enthusiasm and eagerness of people to visit the location has only doubled.
Founded by Swami Atma Prakash, Swarg Ashram is located in a picturesque region of Rishikesh. The Ashram has sufficient place to accommodate hundreds of devotees that visit the spot around the year. Food and lodging facilities are available at free of cost. It also includes a library which has a nice collection of books on culture and religion. Considering the location of the Ashram, it also prepares medicines from herbs and runs a hospital where patients are offered free treatment. In the same vicinity, the Swarg Ashram operates Sanskrit Vidhyala and Modern School for children especially the ones coming from the poor families.
Trimbakeshwar Temple is a renowned holy site visited by many Indians across the globe. Also known as Tera Manzil Temple, this place of worship is situated beside the Lakshman Jhula and consists of about 13 floors. Established in the 12th century by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, the place experiences increase in the number of tourists between the months of November and May. Due to the massive size of the various statutes, the temple becomes a significant tourist spot. The origin of the name of the temple traces back to Trimbakeshwar which means – abode of the three eyed one – the Lord Shiva.
Triveni Ghat is a famous location in Rishikesh where the rivers Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati meet. According to the common beliefs, a person who takes a dip in the reverend and pious waters of the river Ganga at this site will become free from all his sins. Hence often visitors and local people are found feeding the fishes or offering milk on the banks of the river. One of the daily rituals performed on the banks is the ‘Maha Aarti’. It also offers one of the beautiful glimpses of the temple when the devotees float lamps in the river in the evening time.