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Rishikesh, also known as the 'place of sages' is Haridwar, at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and Ganga. It is believed that God by the name of 'Hrishikesh' had appeared as an answer to the hard penances by Rabhiya Rishi and henceforth the place derived its name.

Rishikesh is a small town in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India. Scenically located where the Ganges River comes down from the Himalayas, Rishikesh catapulted to Western fame when the Beatles dropped by for a visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram (now closed), and the town is still known as the world capital of yoga. Rishikesh is also the Gateway to the Himalayas in the Tehri-Garhwal region of Uttar Pradesh. The Char Dham Yatra (Four Shrines Sacred Journey) ideally begins from Rishikesh. The spectacle of the Ganga rushing through the Himalayan foothills is an awesome sight. Several temples dot the banks of the Ganga at Rishikesh. Rishikesh is located at a height of about 1360 feet above sea level. It is believed that several yogis and sages lived and practised penance here. Rishikesh represents the site where Vishnu vanquished the demon Madhu.

The Lakshman Jhula, a 450 feet long suspension bridge was built in 1939. A newer bridge the Ram Jhula has been added recently. The Ganga abounds in fish. Offerings of puffed rice are made to these creatures. The freshness of the air, and sound of flowing water, the scenic beauty of the region and the distant sound of bell chimes create an unforgettable experience for those that visit this ancient pilgrimage town.

Places to See in Rishikesh :

Bharat Mandir : This temple is dedicated to Bharat, Lord Ram's brother, It lies near Triveni Ghat is reputed to be the oldest temple in Rishikesh. The temple's presiding deity is a black stone Vishnu, which is believed to have been consecrated by Adi Shankaracharya when he visited Rishikesh in the 9th century. This occasion is commemorated with special celebrations on the day of Basant Panchami, the spring festival.

Triveni Ghat : This is a sacred bathing ghat is confluence ganga, yamuna and saraswat river. Daily in the morning and evening there are thousands who take bath here and enjoy the Maha Aarti being performed. It very soothing to sit on the banks of the river and enjoy the cool breeze from the river.

Lakshman Jhoola : The hanging bridge across Ganga. About 5 kms upstream is the old footbridge called Lakshmanjhula, named after the brother of Lord Rama. Temples line both sides of the river at Lakshmanjhula.

Shivanand Jhoola : Shivanand Jhoola is another suspension bridge spanning the river along the ancient route to Kedarnath and Badrinath.

Ashrams in Rishikesh : There are many important ashrams in Rishkesh. Most ashrams are centres for spiritual studies which also calls for Physical disciplines. Some ashrams, however, are monasteries. Among the better known ashrams are :- Paremarth Niketan, Sivanand Ashram, Yoga Niketan, Omkaranand Ashram, Vanprastha Ashram, Ved Niketan, Dayanand Vedanta Ashram, Vanmali Gita Yogashram, Shankaracharya Nagar Transcendental Meditatation Centre, Vithal Ashram and Yoga Study Centre.

Rishikund : Close to Trivenighat is the most anciant place, the rishikund. Anciant records relate this to Kubz Saint, who was blessed by the Goddess Yamuna by saturating this pond by its water.The pond reflects the temple of Ragunath , deicated to lord rama and his wife.

Tera Manzil Temple : A multistory temple complex of idols of hindu Gods, and Goddesses. Very popular among the domestic pilgrims. One can have an excellent view of the entire area from the top floor of the temple complex. Sunset view from this place in winters is a excellent option.

Neelkanth Mahadev : It is a place of interest especially for the religious minded tourists. It is said to be the place where Lord Shiva drank the venom that had come out during the cosmic churning of the ocean by the gods and demons. The spot is at a distance of 12 km from the centre of Rishikesh town and is surrounded by lush, sylvan forests.

Chilla : Chilla, situated just 16 km away from the main Rishikesh town, is famous for the Rajaji National Park. The park (820 sq km) has wildlife in abundance and is especially known for its wild elephants. The Sariska sanctuary is 37 km from Rishikesh. It was established in AD 1955 and is located in the valley of the Aravalli range.

Narendra Nagar : Just 15 kilometers on the Rishikesh-Chamba road is the historical town of Narendra Nagar. This is a town of archaeological importance, built by the King of Tehri, Narendra Singh. The royal palace here is worth seeing as is the magnificent statue of Lord Shiva's attendant, the Nandi bull that stands here.

How to Reach Rishikesh :

Air : The nearest airport is Dehradun (Jolly Grant), 35 kms from Haridwar. Vayudoot services operates from Delhi to Dehradun (Jolly Grant). Jagson Airlines also operates flights from Delhi to Dehradun.

Rail : Rishikesh is connected by rail via Haridwar (24 kms), to Howrah, Bombay, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun and other cities.

Road : By road Rishikesh to Haridwar 24 kms, Dehradun 47 kms, Mussoorie 77 kms, Badrinath 301 kms (Son Prayag), Kedarnath 228 kms, Gangotri 258 kms, Yamunotri 288 kms (Hanuman Chatti), Srinagar 105 kms, Joshimath 252 kms.

Bus Services : Haridwar is connected by bus with Agra, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Kullu, Manli, Shimla, Rishikesh etc.



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