Rishikesh travel guide: from places to visit to what to pack

Rishikesh Travel Guide: From Places to Visit to What to Pack

Rishikesh is a land of spirituality, adventure, and enchantment! Located in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India, Rishikesh is a perfect destination for “pray” in an “Eat, Pray, Love” kind of quest.

Known as the “Yoga Capital of the World,” Rishikesh is a spiritual hub that attracts visitors seeking inner peace and growth. But that’s not all – the city is also a hub for adventure enthusiasts, offering a plethora of exciting activities such as river rafting, bungee jumping, and trekking. Apart from that, The place holds a special place for the fans of the famous English rock band, The Beatles.

With its vibrant culture, mouth-watering cuisine, and warm hospitality, Rishikesh is a destination that promises to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul. Read this blog to know all you need to know to plan an awesome trip to Rishikesh.

Related Post: Best Restaurants and Cafes in Rishikesh

A view of a town in Rishikesh amidst mountains.
An Aerial View of a Rishikesh Town

Places to Visit in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a popular destination for spiritual seekers, adventure enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike. The city offers a unique blend of spiritual and outdoor experiences that make it a must-visit destination in India. Let me take you through some of the top places to visit in Rishikesh.

An aerial view of river Ganga between mountains in Rishikesh.
Mighty River Ganga Flowing through Rishikesh

Triveni Ghat

Triveni Ghat is one of the most popular attractions in Rishikesh. It is a sacred spot where the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers converge. The ghat is believed to be a source of spiritual energy, and people come here to take a dip in the holy waters and perform rituals and ceremonies.

Triveni Ghat has a rich history dating back to ancient times. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, and Lord Shiva visited this spot and left their footprints here. It is also believed that the Pandavas, the heroes of the Indian epic Mahabharata, took a dip in the holy waters of Triveni Ghat during their exile.

The evening aarti ceremony at Triveni Ghat is a sight to behold. Hundreds of devotees gather here every evening to offer prayers to the river. The aarti is performed by priests who use incense sticks, lamps, and flowers while chanting mantras. The atmosphere is electrifying, and the sounds of the mantras and the bells fill the air.

Triveni Ghat is located in the heart of Rishikesh and is easily accessible by road. It is a 20-minute drive from the Rishikesh bus stand and can also be reached by auto-rickshaws or taxis. If you are staying near the ghat, you can also walk to the spot.

Ganga aarti, a ceremony at Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh, a must-visit sight.

Lakshman Jhula

Lakshman Jhula is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rishikesh. The suspension bridge spans across the River Ganges and is named after Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama in Hindu mythology. The bridge has become an iconic landmark of Rishikesh, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

According to legend, Lakshmana crossed the River Ganges on a jute rope bridge at the same spot where Lakshman Jhula stands today. The original bridge was believed to have been constructed in the early 19th century and was replaced by an iron suspension bridge in 1929.

Lakshman Jhula is a feat of engineering and architecture. The bridge is made of iron and spans across 450 feet of the Ganges River. It is 70 feet above the water level and 7 feet wide. The bridge is supported by massive iron cables and has two towers at each end.

Lakshman Jhula is not only a significant pilgrimage site but also a hub of activity and commerce. The bridge is lined with shops and stalls selling a variety of goods, including clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, and souvenirs. You can also enjoy the scenic views of the river and the surrounding hills from the bridge.

The bridge is also a gateway to many of Rishikesh’s famous ashrams and temples. The Gita Bhavan, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, and Trimbakeshwar Temple are all located nearby and can be easily accessed from the bridge.

The entrance to Lakshman Jhula, a must visit site in Rishikesh.
Lakshman Jhula
Ashley on Lakshman Jhula in front of Tera Manzil temple, Rishikesh.
A View of Tera Manzil Temple by Lakshman Jhula

Ram Jhula

One of the most iconic landmarks of Rishikesh is the Ram Jhula, a suspension bridge that spans across the River Ganges. The bridge is an important pilgrimage site and a major tourist attraction, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

Ram Jhula is named after Lord Rama, the protagonist of the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to legend, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana crossed the River Ganges at this spot on their way to exile. The original Ram Jhula was a jute rope bridge that was constructed in the late 19th century. It was later replaced by a stronger iron suspension bridge in 1986.

The Ram Jhula is a marvel of engineering and architecture. The bridge is made of iron and spans 450 feet across the Ganges River. It is 30 feet wide and stands 60 feet above the water level. The bridge is supported by massive iron cables and has two towers at each end.

Ram Jhula is also a gateway to many of Rishikesh’s famous ashrams and temples. The Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Swarg Ashram, and Triveni Ghat are all located nearby and can be easily accessed from the bridge.

River rafting on Ganges in front of Ram Jhula, a must see place in Rishikesh
Rafting in Front of Ram Jhula

Parmarth Niketan

Parmarth Niketan is one of the most popular ashrams located in Rishikesh, India. It is situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges and is surrounded by lush greenery and scenic beauty. The ashram is a spiritual haven that attracts devotees and travelers from all over the world.

Parmarth Niketan was established in 1942 by Swami Shukdevanandji Maharaj, a disciple of Swami Sivananda. Initially, the ashram was a small hut that was used by Swami Shukdevanandji Maharaj to meditate and practice yoga. Over the years, the ashram grew in popularity and size, and it now boasts of over 1,000 rooms that can accommodate over 3,000 people at a time.

Parmarth Niketan temple, a tourist attraction in Rishikesh.

Parmarth Niketan is known for its serene and tranquil environment that is conducive to spiritual growth and rejuvenation. The ashram offers a range of facilities to its guests, including accommodation, dining, yoga and meditation, Ayurveda, Ganga aarti, satsangs, nature walks, and various cultural programs.

Beatles Ashram

Ashley in front of a graffiti of the Beatles in Beatles Ashram, a must-visit in Rishikesh

The Beatles Ashram, also known as Chaurasi Kutiya Ashram, is a must-visit destination in Rishikesh for Beatles fans. The ashram was once the residence of the famous spiritual guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and was visited by the Beatles in the 1960s to learn transcendental meditation. You can explore the abandoned ashram and see the graffiti and artwork created by artists and fans from all over the world.

The ashram was meant to be a place where people could come to learn meditation and connect with their inner selves.

However, the ashram became famous for a different reason when The Beatles, along with their wives and other musicians, visited the ashram in 1968. The Beatles stayed at the ashram for almost two months, during which they composed some of their most famous songs, including “Dear Prudence,” “Back in the USSR,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

In March 2018, the Ashram organized a Beatles Fest to mark the 60th anniversary of the Beatles visit to Rishikesh. 

The building were The Beatles stayed at Beatles Ashram, a must-visit in Rishikesh

Today, the Beatles Ashram is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to see the graffiti-covered walls and explore the ruins of the ashram.

You can take a self-guided tour of Beatles Ashram and see the rooms where The Beatles stayed, the meditation cells where they meditated, and the famous graffiti-covered walls that feature quotes from The Beatles’ songs and images of the band members.

Ashley and Irwin posing in front of a graffiti of the Beatles at Beatles Ashram, Rishikesh

Neer Garh Waterfall

Located at a distance of around 6 kilometers from Rishikesh, Neer Garh Waterfall is situated amidst the lush green hills of the Shivalik range. The waterfall is formed by the natural cascading of water from a height of around 25 feet, making it a spectacular sight to behold.

To reach the waterfall, you can take a taxi or hire a scooter or bike from Rishikesh. There is also a local bus service that operates from Rishikesh to the waterfall.

Once you reach the place, you need to undertake a short trek of around 1 kilometer through a forested area, which makes the experience even more enjoyable. The trek is not very strenuous, and visitors of all ages can undertake it.

Once you reach the waterfall, you are greeted by a breathtaking view of the cascading water amidst the lush green surroundings. The sound of the falling water and the cool breeze make for a relaxing and refreshing experience.

There are also a few shops near the waterfall where you can purchase refreshments and snacks.

The best time to visit Neer Garh Waterfall is during the monsoon season when the waterfall is in its full glory. The lush green surroundings and the gushing water make for a picturesque and mesmerizing sight.

Things to Do in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is known for its spiritual significance, scenic beauty, and adventure activities. Here are some of the activities to do in Rishikesh:

Yoga and Meditation in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is known as the Yoga Capital of the World, and it’s not without reason. The city’s tranquil surroundings and spiritual atmosphere make it an ideal destination for yoga and meditation enthusiasts. Here’s a closer look at the yoga and meditation scene in Rishikesh:

Courses: You can enroll in short-term or long-term yoga and meditation courses in Rishikesh. The courses are designed to cater to all levels of practitioners, from beginners to advanced. These courses cover various yoga styles, including Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga, and meditation techniques such as Vipassana and Transcendental Meditation.

Rishikesh is home to numerous yoga and meditation centers, ashrams, and retreats, where you can learn and practice various forms of yoga and meditation. Some of the popular yoga and meditation centers in Rishikesh are:

Best Hostels in Rishikesh for Yoga Enthusiasts

Parmarth Niketan: Parmarth Niketan is a renowned ashram in Rishikesh, known for its yoga and meditation programs. It offers various courses and programs, including yoga, meditation, and spiritual retreats.

Sivananda Ashram: Sivananda Ashram is a traditional yoga center, offering a comprehensive yoga program that includes asanas, pranayama, meditation, and chanting.

Phool Chatti Ashram: Phool Chatti Ashram is a serene retreat, located on the banks of the river Ganges, surrounded by lush green forests and hills. It offers various yoga and meditation programs, including hatha yoga, kundalini yoga, and meditation.

Women performing yoga by river Ganga in Rishikesh, a must-do activity in Rishikesh

Camping in Rishikesh

Camping is a great way to disconnect from the outside world and immerse oneself in nature. There are many camping sites in Rishikesh, which offer you a unique experience. Some of the popular camping sites in Rishikesh are:

Shivpuri: Shivpuri is a small town located 16 km away from Rishikesh, and it is a popular camping site. The campsite is located on the banks of the river Ganges, surrounded by lush green forests and hills. You can enjoy adventure activities like rafting, kayaking, and rock climbing.

Byasi: Byasi is another popular camping site located 30 km away from Rishikesh. The campsite is located on the banks of the river Ganges, and you can enjoy adventure activities like rafting, kayaking, and trekking.

Kaudiyala: Kaudiyala is a beautiful village located 38 km away from Rishikesh. The campsite is located on the banks of the river Ganges, surrounded by hills and forests. You can enjoy adventure activities like rafting, kayaking, and camping.

A view of Shivpuri camping site and river ganga at Rishikesh.
Camping Site at Shivpuri, Rishikesh
Ashley and Irwin in front of a tent at shivpuri camping site, Rishikesh
Ashley relaxing by the Ganges at Shivpuri camping site, Rishikesh.

White Water Rafting in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is famous for its white water rafting experiences. You can enjoy a thrilling rafting experience, accompanied by guides.

The rapids: The Ganges River in Rishikesh offers a range of rapids, from grade II to grade IV, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. The rapids are classified based on their difficulty level, with grade II being easy and grade IV being challenging.

The season: The best time to go river rafting in Rishikesh is from September to November and from March to May. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and the water level in the river is ideal for rafting. Rafting on the Ganges is closed during July and August.

The duration: The duration of a rafting trip in Rishikesh varies from 1-2 hours to a full day, depending on the stretch chosen. The most popular stretch is the 16 km stretch from Shivpuri to Rishikesh, which takes around 3-4 hours. This is what we chose on our trip.

The safety measures: The rafting companies provide life jackets, helmets, and experienced guides who ensure the safety of the rafters.

The cost: The cost of river rafting in Rishikesh varies depending on the stretch chosen and the duration of the trip. The prices start from around INR 500 per person for a short trip and can go up to INR 3000 per person for a full-day trip. You can book your rafting slot onlineto avoid last minute rush.

The experience: River rafting in Rishikesh is an exhilarating experience that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The cool waters of the Ganges River and the rush of the rapids provide an adrenaline rush like no other.

Ashley and Irwin geared with helmet, lifejacket, and paddles for rafting in Rishikesh
White water rafting on the Ganges in Rishikesh wearing helmet and lifejacket.

Bungee Jumping in Rishikesh

Bungee jumping is another popular adventure activity in Rishikesh. The jump is from a height of 83 meters, and you are secured with a harness and a bungee cord. The jump offers an adrenaline rush like no other and is a must-do activity for adventure enthusiasts.

Location: Bungee jumping in Rishikesh is conducted at Mohan Chatti, a village located 25 km from Rishikesh.

Safety Measures: Bungee jumping can be dangerous, and it’s essential to take all necessary safety measures. The jumpers are secured with a harness and a bungee cord, and trained professionals conduct the jump. The equipment used for bungee jumping is regularly checked and maintained to ensure the safety of the jumpers.

Cost: The cost of bungee jumping in Rishikesh is approximately INR 3700 per person. The package includes the jump, transportation to and from the jumping site, and a certificate of participation.

Age and weight limit: The minimum age limit for bungee jumping in Rishikesh is 12 years, and the minimum weight limit is 40 kg. The maximum weight limit is 110 kg.

Booking: You can book your bungee jumping package online or through tour operators in Rishikesh. It is advisable to book in advance to avoid any last-minute disappointment.

Best Budget Hotels in Rishikesh for Families

How to Reach Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a popular tourist destination and a pilgrimage site in India. Located in the northern state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is easily accessible from major cities in India. Here’s a closer look at how to reach Rishikesh:

By Air

The nearest airport to Rishikesh is Jolly Grant Airport, which is located about 20 km from the city. Daily flights operate from Delhi to Jolly Grant Airport. Once you reach the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Rishikesh.

By Train

Rishikesh has its own railway station, which is well-connected to major cities in India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. The Haridwar Junction railway station, located about 25 km from Rishikesh, is another major railway station in the region. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Rishikesh.

By Road

Rishikesh is well-connected to major cities in India by road. Several private and state-run buses operate from Delhi, Haridwar, Dehradun, and other nearby cities to Rishikesh. The road journey from Delhi to Rishikesh takes around 6-7 hours.


If you prefer to drive, Rishikesh is well-connected to major cities in India by national highways. You can hire a car or a bike in Delhi or any other nearby city and drive to Rishikesh. The roads are well-maintained, and the drive is scenic.

Shared Taxis

Shared taxis are also a popular mode of transportation to reach Rishikesh. Several shared taxi services operate from Haridwar and Dehradun to Rishikesh. They are a convenient and affordable way to travel, especially if you are traveling alone.

Ashley and Irwin at Rishikesh railway station on how to reach Rishikesh

Best Time to Visit Rishikesh

Blessed with a pleasant climate and natural beauty, Rishikesh can be visited throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Rishikesh is during the months of February to May and September to November. Let’s take a closer look at the best time to visit Rishikesh:

February to May

The months of February to May are considered the best time to visit Rishikesh. The weather during this time is pleasant, and the temperature ranges between 15°C to 35°C. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities like river rafting, bungee jumping, camping, and trekking.

June to August

The monsoon season in Rishikesh lasts from June to August. The town receives moderate to heavy rainfall during this time, which can sometimes lead to landslides and flooding. While this is not an ideal time for outdoor activities, the lush green surroundings and waterfalls make it a great time for nature lovers and photographers.

September to November

The post-monsoon season from September to November is another great time to visit Rishikesh. The weather during this time is pleasant, and the temperature ranges between 10°C to 32°C. The river is also at its best during this time, making it perfect for water sports and adventure activities.

December to January

Winter season from December to January is another great time to visit Rishikesh. The temperature during this time ranges between 5°C to 20°C, and the town is covered in mist and fog, giving it a mystical charm. This is also the time when the Ganga Aarti is performed, and the town is lit up with beautiful lights and decorations.

How to Get Around in Rishikesh

Getting around in Rishikesh is easy and affordable, and there are several options available. Let’s take a closer look at how to get around in Rishikesh:


The best way to explore Rishikesh is on foot. Most of the popular attractions in the town are located within a few kilometers of each other, making it easy to walk around. Walking is also a great way to soak in the local culture and explore the narrow alleys and bazaars of the town.


Auto-rickshaws are a popular mode of transport in Rishikesh. They are easy to find, and the fares are reasonable. You can negotiate the fare before starting your journey or use a metered rickshaw.


Taxis are available in Rishikesh and are a convenient mode of transport, especially for longer distances. You can hire a taxi for a few hours or for the entire day. You can find taxis at the bus stand, railway station, and major hotels.

Motorbikes and Scooters

If you’re looking for an adventure and want to explore the town on your own, you can rent a motorbike or scooter. There are several rental agencies in Rishikesh that offer motorbikes and scooters on rent. Make sure to wear a helmet and carry a valid driving license.


Another eco-friendly way to explore Rishikesh is on a bicycle. Several rental agencies offer bicycles on rent, and you can explore the town at your own pace. Cycling is also a great way to stay fit and explore the beautiful countryside.

Ashley and Irwin in front of a jeep carrying a raft at Rishikesh.

Where to Eat in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is known for its delicious food, which ranges from traditional Indian cuisine to international dishes. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to eat in Rishikesh. To help you out, here’s a list of some of the best places to eat in Rishikesh:

The Sitting Elephant: This rooftop restaurant offers stunning views of the Ganges and the surrounding mountains. The Sitting Elephant serves delicious vegan and vegetarian food, including smoothie bowls, salads, sandwiches, and more.

Bistro Nirvana: Bistro Nirvana is a cozy cafe that offers a range of international dishes, including pasta, pizza, burgers, and sandwiches. The cafe also has a selection of teas, coffee, and desserts.

Little Buddha Cafe: Situated near the Laxman Jhula bridge, Little Buddha Cafe is a popular spot for travelers. The cafe offers a range of dishes, including Indian, Tibetan, and Continental cuisine.

Devraj Coffee Corner: Devraj Coffee Corner is a cafe that offers a variety of coffee blends, as well as snacks like sandwiches, burgers, and pizzas.

Ganga View Cafe: This restaurant offers a panoramic view of the Ganges river and serves a variety of Indian and Continental cuisine. It’s a great spot to enjoy a meal while watching the sunset.

A Mediterranean breakfast at a restaurant in Rishikesh

Where to Shop in Rishikesh

Shopping in Rishikesh ranges from traditional Indian handicrafts to modern clothing and accessories. Here’s a list of some of the best places to shop in Rishikesh:

Triveni Ghat Market: Triveni Ghat Market is located near the Triveni Ghat and offers a range of items such as clothing, jewelry, and handicrafts. The market is also famous for its ayurvedic products.

Lakshman Jhula Market: Located near the Lakshman Jhula bridge, this market offers a variety of items such as clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, and ayurvedic products. The market is also known for its street food, including chaat and samosas.

Rishikesh Main Market: This market is located in the heart of the town and offers a wide range of items such as clothing, handicrafts, jewelry, and spiritual items. The market also has many shops selling books on yoga and spirituality.

Swarg Ashram Market: Swarg Ashram Market is located near the Swarg Ashram and offers a range of items such as clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, and spiritual items. The market also has many shops selling books on yoga and spirituality.

Himalayan Weavers: Himalayan Weavers is a cooperative of local weavers that offers a range of hand-woven textiles, including shawls, scarves, and bedspreads. The cooperative also offers tours of their weaving facilities.

Ashley shopping for stoles at a street market in Rishikesh.

What to Pack for Rishikesh

To help you make the most out of your trip to Rishikesh, I have compiled a list of things you should pack.

Clothing: Rishikesh has a moderate climate throughout the year, so it is advisable to pack light and comfortable clothing. For the summer months (March to June), pack light cotton clothes such as shorts, t-shirts, and dresses. For the winter months (October to February), pack warm clothing such as jackets, sweaters, and shawls. If you plan on doing adventure activities such as river rafting or bungee jumping, pack quick-drying clothes and shoes.

Footwear: Rishikesh is a hilly area, and the roads can be uneven, so it’s best to pack comfortable and sturdy footwear such as sneakers, trekking shoes, or sandals with a good grip.

Sunscreen and Mosquito Repellent: Rishikesh can get quite sunny, so pack a good quality sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays. Additionally, the town is also prone to mosquitoes, so pack a good mosquito repellent to avoid insect bites.

Yoga Clothes: If you plan on attending yoga classes, pack comfortable yoga clothes such as leggings, tank tops, and yoga pants.

First Aid Kit: While Rishikesh is a safe town, it’s always advisable to pack a basic first aid kit with items such as pain relievers, antiseptics, band-aids, and any prescription medication.

Water Bottle: Rishikesh has many waterfalls, streams, and rivers, and it’s essential to stay hydrated. Pack a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.


I hope you have a wonderful trip of Rishikesh and that my Rishikesh travel guide gave you all the information you needed to travel the trip. If you would like me to add any information, do let me know in the comments below.

Related Posts:

Srinagar Travel Guide

Pahalgam Travel Guide

Delhi Travel Guide

Image Credits: Triveni Ghat, Parmarth Nikethan

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10 thoughts on “Rishikesh Travel Guide: From Places to Visit to What to Pack”

  1. There is sooo much in Rishikesh that sounds brilliant! The nature side of things (waterfalls, giant rivers converging, hiking, camping and rafting) all sounds amaaaazing!

    To add to that, I wasn’t expecting you to mention the Beatles! That is such a cool extra bit of music history!

  2. Camping in Rishikesh looks like something I would love along with the whitewater rafting. Great blog and thank you for posting!

  3. Rishikesh, India offers something for everyone – from relaxing yoga and meditation to more adventurous ideas. Great guide on what to do and pack.

    1. This may sound a little strange but monsoon season sounds appealing, ha ha! I love rain. I’m always searching for relaxing destinations! Would you say that Rishikesh is crowded?

      1. Oh, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Rishikesh in monsoon. There have been incidence of flooding in the area. Besides, rafting on the Ganges and camping, the fun activities to do in Rishikesh are closed during the monsoon period. You wouldn’t want to miss out on that on your trip to Rishikesh!

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