Located on the banks of River Ganga, Rishikesh is a land of peace, spirituality, meditation and yoga, and is known as the ideal getaway among nature lovers and adventure seekers. Rishikesh is perched in the foothills of Himalayas, making it perfect for base camping, trekking and rock climbing. The waters of Ganga are great for adventure sports like river rafting. There are hundreds of yoga and meditation centres in Rishikesh, attracting tourists from across the globe. We had enough reasons to visit this diverse place, Rishikesh, for our weekend road trip from Delhi last year.
Hitting The Rishikesh Road
Rishikesh is good to visit at any time of the year. For adventure sports and outdoor activities, I suggest visiting the place between mid-September and April.
Rishikesh Route : New Delhi → Meerut → Muzaffarnagar → Roorkee → Haridwar → Rishikesh via NH 334
Rishikesh Distance: 235 km
There are two routes to Rishikesh from Delhi by road, NH334 and NH9. We took NH334, which in my opinion is the best route as it goes through Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, and Haridwar to Rishikesh with adequate time to spare.
Pit Stops On The Delhi-Rishikesh Route
We stopped at a Punjabi restaurant in Meerut to have breakfast. They make mouth-watering parathas. After having a satisfying breakfast and relaxing for a bit, we continued on our journey. In Haridwar, we visited Har ki Pauri, Gau Ghat, Ashti Parvath Ghat, and Subhash Ghat, as well as temples. We drove to Moti Bazaar and shopped for a while, and had street food for lunch.
Haridwar is one of the greatest pilgrimages in India. The city is livelier during Kumbh Mela when thousands of devotees visit the place. Chardharms in Uttarakhand—the temples of Gangadwara, Kushwart, Bilwa Tirtha and Neel Parvat—are also famous pilgrimage centres. People gather in great numbers for the Arati ceremony held every evening where priests light huge lanterns and chant religious hymns in chorus. We witnessed the Arati ceremony, watched the beautiful sunset, had tea at a small stall nearby, and set off on our one-hour journey to Rishikesh.
The Rishikesh Experience
Rishikesh offers plenty of avenues for backpacking, spiritualism and adventure. There are numerous ashrams where sadhus teach yoga, spirituality, and meditation. Over the past few years, the place has been developed into an adventure hotspot with activities like bungee jumping, white water rafting, mountain biking and more. We were excited to explore this beautiful place. The following are the must-visit places in Rishikesh.
Located at a distance of 5 km from Rishikesh, Lakshman Jhula is a popular 70-feet-high hanging bridge over Ganga that connects two villages, Tapovan and Jonk. The mythology associated with the place is intriguing and will fill any Indian with pride. People believe that Lord Lakshman, the brother of Lord Rama in Ramayana, crossed Ganga on jute ropes where the bridge is built. The bridge was constructed in 1929 to mark the epic event. Today, the bridge serves as an adjoining bridge connecting religious shrines Kedarnath and Badrinath.
Thousands of people visit Lakshman Jhula each year to savour the richness of the grand temples and local markets. We toured Lakshman Temple, Terah Manzil temple, Ram Jhula near Lakshman Jhula and more.
Located at a distance of 22 km from Rishikesh, Kaudiyala is an adventure paradise. Surrounded by a dense forest, Kaudiyala is the heart of nature. Rock jumping to river rafting, mountaineering, camping and other exhilarating activities await adventurers. You need to book your tour package in advance to have the most fun with these activities. Camping amid the flora and fauna, bonfire in chilly nights, playing games and eating barbecued food is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Visiting Time of Rishikesh: 8 am to 6 pm (daily), night bookings are also available.
We spent a night at Kaudiyala, went river rafting in the afternoon, hiked a mountain during noon, and caught the sunset and at night, set a bonfire at camp.
Flying Fox is the most thrilling activity to do in Rishikesh. In this, you zipline above the majestic Himalayas and the lively Ganges. I was stunned by the enthralling views of mountains and the river from the top. It was truly an exhilarating experience. Do not leave Rishikesh without trying Flying Fox!
Situated on the banks of Ganga, Triveni Ghat is the biggest ghat in Rishikesh and has significance in Hindu mythology. The place organizes Maha Aarti, a religious ceremony where every evening devotees gather to offer prayers and milk to the Gods and feed the fishes in the river. The Ghat is open for religious activities from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm every day.
Rishikesh hosts a plethora of fun and adventurous activities, and bungee jumping is the top exciting activity. If you have nerves of steel and yearn for the thrill of hanging in the air and swirling, then you should try bungee jumping at Rishikesh. I didn’t do this activity as I have vertigo. But I watched people scream, hovering above the ground, having fun in the air and falling in the water. Not only mountain cliffs, but bungee jumping in Rishikesh is also carried from helicopters and hot air balloons. Bungee jumping is open throughout the year except in the rainy season.
Neelkantha Mahadeva Temple
There are plenty of famous temples in Rishikesh. We visited the Neelkantha Mahadeva temple. The route to the temple is interesting with dense forests and rushing breeze. It relieved our travel stress and refreshed us. The temple is open on all days of the week from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. Devotees offer the water from Ganga to this temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Trek To Jadh Ganga
If you are interested in valley trek, then you should tread along Jadh Ganga. You will be accompanied by nature, gushing streams, pristine glaciers, abundant flora and dramatic landscapes. Trek to Jadh Ganga is said to be one of the most difficult treks in Uttarakhand. Go on this adventure only if you are absolutely sure.
Bharat Mandir in Rishikesh
Bharat Mandir is a shrine founded by Adiguru Shankaracharya in the 12th century. The speciality of this shrine is that it houses a statue of Lord Vishnu carved from a single piece of saligram (fossilized shell). The architecture and interiors of the temple are also very interesting.
Located 30 km from Rishikesh, Byasi is a small village on the banks of Ganga. The village is famous for water sports like rafting, as the waters there are calm and predictable. The white sands, steady water and water sports keep you entertained and make it ideal for camping.
Raghunath temple, Swami Dayananda Ashram, The Beatles Ashram, Neer Garh waterfalls, Swarg Ashram, Osho Ganga Ashram, and Rishi Kund are the places worth visiting on your trip to Rishikesh.
There are plenty of eateries on the Delhi-to-Rishikesh route. You can relish on mouth-watering sweets made of pure ghee (clarified butter) besan ki barfi, besan ke laddu and nariyal barfi are a must-try in Rishikesh.
A road trip from Delhi to Rishikesh is an exciting and spiritual escapade meant for adventurers, travellers and families alike. Once you have been to this place, you will get to know why Rishikesh is a sanctimonious place and attracts global tourists.