Rishikesh: The Yoga Capital of the World

Travel

Rishikesh is located at a height of about 1,360ft above sea level in Dehradun district, Uttarakhand. Apart from being one of the holiest cities in North India, Rishikesh is also known as the yoga capital of the world. Surrounded by scenic hills on three sides and the holy River Ganga flowing through it, Rishikesh is the gateway to the Himalayas in the Tehri-Garhwal region. Rishikesh is also the starting point for the holy Char Dham yatra. It is believed that a god by the name of Hrishikesh had appeared here as an answer to the hard penance of Rabhiya Rishi and hence the place derived its name. This place is also home to several yogis and sages who have practised penance here. There are many temples, some ancient, some new, along the River Ganga. Some of the famous temples in Rishikesh are the Laksman Temple, Bharat Temple, Shatrughan Temple and Kunjapuri Temple. Rishikesh is also home to the 120-year-old Kailas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham, an institution dedicated to preserve and promote traditional Vedantic studies. Prominent personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ramatirtha and Swami Shivananda have studied at this institution.

Some of the places one must visit when here are the Lakshman Jhula, a 450ft-long suspension bridge built across the River Ganga in 1939, and the Triveni Ghat, a bathing ghat, which resounds with the sounds of the aarti performed in honour of the River Ganga every evening. Swarg Ashram is a beautiful place situated in picturesque surroundings at the foot of the Himalayas on the left bank of the Ganga between Rishikesh and Laxman Jhula. It is filled with ashrams and temples. The area is known for its healthy and satwik (healthy) living environment. At Parmarth Niketan, children are educated about the Vedas. Rishikesh also offers a lot in terms of adventure including activities such as white water rafting, camps, trekking, skiing and wildlife safaris in national parks. It is also the starting point for trekking expeditions to the Himalayan peaks. Kayaking is another adventure sport that is offered here. This involves the use of a kayak to move across water. White water kayaking is the sport of paddling a kayak on a moving body of water, typically a white water river.

FACT FILE
  • Rishikesh is a vegetarian city by law, as well as an alcohol-free city.
  • Rishikesh has also banned the use of plastics bags by shopkeepers and vendors.
  • The city gets its name from, 'Hrishik' meaning 'senses' and 'ish' meaning 'master' or 'lord'. Hence the city's name means 'Lord of Senses' or 'Lord Vishnu'.

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