Rishikesh: An Overview of the Gateway to the Himalayas

Lovely breeze, imposing hills, fresh streams of glacier waters and year round pleasant weather make northern region of India a much deserved after destination. Hill stations located in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana are usually brimming with tourists who are looking to escape the ruthless bouts of the long Indian summer. Families, groups of…

Lovely breeze, imposing hills, fresh streams of glacier waters and year round pleasant weather make northern region of India a much deserved after destination. Hill stations located in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana are usually brimming with tourists who are looking to escape the ruthless bouts of the long Indian summer. Families, groups of friends or honeymooners are some of the major visitors to north Indian holiday or weekend destinations.

Rishikesh is one such desired destination which is loved and frequented by many and often repeatedly. This picturesque riverside city is located in Uttarakhand and is often known as the 'Gateway to the Himalayas'. Having a permanent population of only about 75,000 people, Rishikesh has earned a distinct reputation among tourists from both India and abroad. India's most sacred river Ganges flows through the city and leaves the Shivalik Mountains to flow out into the north.

Naturally, for a tourist destination of its caliber, Rishikesh offers a wide range of accommodation options. Tourists can choose lodging facilities according to their requirements and budgets. Those who are looking for a relaxing stay, along with sightseeing tours to city's religious complexes and spas, can stay at one of the many comfortable hotels in Rishikesh. Tourists who would like to engage in adventure sports like river rafting, hiking usually prefer to stay in rented accommodation sites and camps by the riverside itself. Completed by medium to rough rapids rated class 3 and 4 of the Ganges, Rishikesh has become a popular white water rafting hub in India. Moreover, bungee jumping was also introduced very recently in the city, making it India's first destination for this adventure sport.

Rishikesh is also famous for its Yoga ashrams especially among western tourists for the past many, many decades. In fact, it has also been nicknamed 'World Capital of Yoga'. Famous celebrities such as The Beatles' John Lennon, Mike Love, and Donovan have visited the world but now closed Mahershi Mahesh Yogi's center to practice meditation and yoga. Former royal palace of Maharaja of Tehri Gharwal also houses a yoga retreat called Ananda – In the Himalayas, a popular spa and yoga center. Rishikesh is also famous for its heritage hotels which pay homage to its legendary mythical heritage characterized by the lives of sanctified Hindu deities.

With so much to see and explore, it can be hard to experience all that Rishikesh has to offer! To deal with this, many tourists take holiday packages that are designed for the most popular destinations of India. Vacation packages handpick the best of the sights and tourists interest of any city and offer the best in a limited period of time. Interested tourists can book these packages through travel agencies or at times even with the hotels themselves.