Rishikesh - The Capital of Yoga

Rishikesh is one of India’s holy cities, known as the “Yoga Capital of the World”, and offering spiritual seekers a place to relax, unwind and explore their inner and outer world. Set in the green foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is a mountainous region located 1,220ft above sea level in the beautiful state of Uttarakhand.

Here nature meets religion and Rishikesh is one of India’s most highly regarded pilgrimage places with millions of Hindus visiting every year to worship, meditate, bathe in the holy river Ganges, take part in festivals, or just explore. Known as the gateway to the mystical Himalayas and the Chardham Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, Rishikesh is the first step on the most important pilgrimage trail in Hinduism.

In addition, Rishikesh is a vastly popular place for foreign travellers to visit with many coming to take their 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Certification here, visit for the International Yoga Festival in March or just soak up the spiritual energy.

There’s also plenty of adventure around every corner with white water rafting a popular activity, camping, kayaking and even bungee jumping, as well as treks to Kunjapuri temple, Neelkanth and some of Uttarakhand’s prettiest villages to enjoy.

With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to find the best place to stay in Rishikesh. Here we’ve explained the main areas so you can decide where to stay in Rishikesh…

Where to stay in Rishikesh:

Rishikesh is split into different areas with most people staying in Laxman Jhula, Tapovan or Ram Jhula. It’s easy to walk between these places or you can hire a scooter or get a taxi or rickshaw very easily.

Laxman Jhula

Here you’ll find dozens of great cafes including the popular Royal Café which hosts regular live music, Ganga Beach Café with its panoramic views of the ever-present Ganges River and the German Bakery, which boasts a prime location next to the iconic Laxman Jhula Bridge, perfect for people watching with a strong coffee. When you need a rest from the hustle and bustle, head to Pyramid Café for healthy food in a pretty environment.

Among the many things to do in Laxman Jhula is the evening aarti ceremony at Trayambakeshwar Temple, white water rafting and exploring. Shop in the myriad of colourful stalls, get your palm read or consult an astrologer, join a yoga class, or just sit by the Ganges River to watch the world go by on the steps of the Laxman Jhula Ghat.

Laxman Jhula is a fascinating place to visit but if you’re wondering where to stay in Rishikesh, we recommend staying just outside of the area, but within walking distance, so you can return to peace and quiet after a chaotic and colourful day out there.

Tapovan

Tapovan is a popular place to stay in Rishikesh as it’s a little quieter than the busy Laxman Jhula, yet it still has many cafés, shops and things to do and see. Walk through the winding lanes of lower Tapovan along to the River Ganges or take your camera and head up to the green hills of upper Tapovan where you can see local people tending their fields and take in epic views of the mountain range.

Raj Resort is located here in Tapovan and is neighbour to many popular cafés, clothing stores, travel agencies, ayurvedic shops, massage and beauty parlours and ashrams, plus a variety of local shops to meet your every need.

Since this area is peaceful and attractive yet well-connected, it is a popular choice for a hotel. Tapovan Rishikesh is a favourite amongst yogis and travellers alike. A lot of good hotels in Rishikesh are based here in leafy Tapovan.

Ram Jhula

Ram Jhula is home to the other iconic suspension bridge, plus the majority of the famous ashrams and temples. Visit the popular Parmath Niketan for their picturesque evening aarti ceremony, explore the myriad of ashrams with their manicured gardens and meditating guests, drink chai or lemon soda at a busy street seller’s stall or stroll along to the fascinating Maharishi Rishi “Beatles Ashram”, where the famous group wrote many of their best songs.

Most of the accommodation in Ram Jhula is of the ashram variety which is a great experience but doesn’t give a lot of freedom. We recommend getting a rickshaw, or taking a walk from Laxman Jhula or Tapovan into Ram Jhula to explore the area then returning at your own pace without worrying about an ashram curfew!

Rishikesh Market

The main city of Rishikesh lies just a short 3km journey from Tapovan or Laxman Jhula. Here you’ll find the famous Triveni Ghat where the biggest aarti ceremony takes place every evening at sundown. Many people go to watch the chanting and fire censers burn, and to purchase their own puja candle to send off on the River Ganges – a beautiful experience.

Known to the rickshaw drivers as “Rishikesh Main Market”, this is the main city and you’ll find pharmacies, shops, petrol pumps and of course, accommodation, however, this area is not necessarily geared towards foreign travellers and can get very chaotic at times.

From here you can also take the train or buses to other parts of India, including Delhi or further north to Dharamshala.

The best place to stay in Rishikesh will depend on your needs – do you love hustle and bustle, or do you want a peaceful retreat? All of these areas are very well interlinked by road, bike, taxi, tuktuk or walking so you can pick one and settle for some time.

Things to do in Rishikesh:

There’s so much to do in Rishikesh, it can be hard to know where to begin. With everything from adventure sports to spiritual activities, every type of traveller will surely be blessed with a full schedule!

Rafting

One of the most famous activities in Rishikesh is white water rafting. Starting upriver, you’ll float along the vast River Ganges, riding over rapids and stopping to swim and try cliff diving if you’re brave! This is the perfect activity for groups or solo travellers who want a bit of wet and wild fun.

Bungee Jumping and Flying Fox

For the even more adventurous, you can try bungee jumping or the new and exhilarating Flying Fox, both of which will create memories that last a lifetime! Get some friends together and face your fears with these extreme sports, only in Rishikesh.

Temples

There are so many ancient temples around Rishikesh, but the most popular for day trips are Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, located 32km or around a 1-2hr drive from Rishikesh, a popular and beautiful pilgrimage place dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the sacred temple of Kunjapuri, which boasts incredible half-day treks to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas.

Caves

For those that love a bit of mystery in their site seeing, the Vashistha Cave is located around 22km from Rishikesh. This is the place where the Sage Vashistha meditated and many people go to feel the energies and meditate themselves to this day.

Ganga Aarti

Every night at sunset, the River Ganges is celebrated with a devotional offering known as “Ganga Aarti”. This hypnotic and uplifting ceremony features the lighting of lamps, mantra chanting and many people lighting their own “puja”, a prayer for the goddess Maa Ganga, and setting them adrift down the flowing river.

Anyone is welcome to join the evening aarti, which is performed at Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh, Parmath Niketan in Ram Jhula and Trayambakeshwar Temple at Laxman Jhula. If you want an even more intense experience, head to the evening aarti in Hardiwar, which is known for its visually stunning display and immersive experience.

Ayurveda

Rishikesh is known for its ayurvedic practitioners and visitors can enjoy a range of treatments from massage to Panchakarma, a holistic cleansing programme recommended for people who need a complete health and wellness boost.

Yoga and Spiritual Activities

Of course, yoga is the number one activity here in Rishikesh – the yoga world capital! You can find classes around every corner but of course, we recommend Raj Yoga Rishikesh for hatha and Iyengar yoga. We offer drop in classes twice a day in our beautiful, airy yoga shala with mountain views for a truly transcendental experience.

Other spiritual activities include visiting a Jyotish, or Vedic Astrologer, to get your natal chart interpreted, going for chakra or aura reading and clearing sessions, mantra chanting classes, ecstatic dance, Reiki healing and courses and so much more – spiritual types will be in their element here in the holy city of Rishikesh!

Onsite Activities at Raj Resort Rishikesh

At Raj Resort Rishikesh, you can just as happily stay at home for the day - we have many things for you to do right here! From yoga classes and meditation, to badminton and even bonfires when the season allows. We encourage guests to make Raj Resort their home and to relax in the lush organic gardens with a book or a chai, practice some yoga, together with our expert yoga teachers or solo on the expansive grassy areas, or swing in our comfy garden hammock, enjoying the warm Indian sun on a balmy afternoon. When the rush of Rishikesh gets too much, Raj Resort offers you some peace and serenity to come back to.