Today’s Culture with Travel post is by Akansha Negi
With serene temples, amazing ashrams, the gushing River Ganga, exciting adventure activities and tranquil ambiance, Rishikesh is a great place to explore! As a long weekend was around the corner, I started planning for a much-needed short, yet memorable, holiday. With a family of 8, including children, elderly people and youngsters, I decided to visit Rishikesh.
Journey to Rishikesh
The journey to Rishikesh with family was as exciting as the destination itself. The voyage from Delhi to Rishikesh took around six hours including short breaks. We took a Chevrolet Tavera Car which easily accommodated my family, plus the driver.
It is also possible to reach Rishikesh via train and flight, but we settled on the car thinking about our convenience. The driver was trustworthy and had good relations with our family, so he readily agreed to drive us.
Except for the elders, nobody slept for the whole night and enjoyed playing a game called Antakshari, though in a low voice, and chit chatting. It was really spectacular to marvel at the sun mischievously coming out of the mighty mountains. The winding trails, spiritual aura and the very sight of the majestic river, welcomed us at the Rishikesh, “the Yoga Capital of India.”
Rishikesh is truly a sight to behold in the morning. The sounds of bells, aroma of incense sticks and eye-soothing greenery assured us that we choose the right place for a relaxing vacation in India with family.
Day 1: Exploring Rishikesh
Upon arrival at Rishikesh, we headed to our hotel. Once we were done relaxing a bit, we headed out for our Rishikesh sightseeing tour. Rishikesh is a myriad of various temples and ashrams offering utter tranquility. As I mentioned earlier, I was accompanied by elders in our family, and the thought of visiting temples and ashrams fascinated them.
We crossed over Ram and Laxman Jhula, wobbling bridges over the fast-flowing river Ganga. The children were anxious as we crossed the swinging bridges, as they were shouting and laughing out loud. Something else to keep in mind is not to carry any edibles, as monkeys are known to be in the area, and may grab them!
Next, we travelled to Swarga Ashram, where we witnessed chanting and meditation. Going with the flow, we also practiced meditation for a while.Our next stop took us to Parmarth Niketan, where we learned about the International Yoga Festival. This gave us a solid reason to plan our next family trip to Rishikesh. Coming to Rishikesh when International Yoga Festival is about to begin and not participating in the fiesta seems unimaginable to us. Getting a strong food craving, we headed towards the very famous food outlet Chotiwala in Rishikesh. Belonging to a family of food lovers, I personally enjoyed each and every dish that we tried. After eating, we visited a temple or two.
As dusk began to embrace the entire place, we hurried towards the ghat to be a part of the popular religious ceremony – the Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh. Uncountable devotees gather during the ritual to thank and honor the holy river. Numerous monks sing hymns, drum beats and the sound of conch shells was euphonious. The aarti began with huge fire lamps and many other small flickering diyas floating on the water. The experience was truly soul-touching.
Day 2: Camping and Rishikesh River-Rafting
After pleasing the elders with cultural explorations on day 1, it was time for some fun for the youngsters on the trip. We woke up early in the morning, checked out from the hotel and hit the road to Shivpuri in Uttarakhand. To avoid the last-minute rush, I had already booked our stay at Camp Roller Coaster which included trekking, river-rafting and other adventure sports.
Positioned right beside the River Ganga, our camps were superb and offered a comfortable stay. The bathrooms were clean and hygienic and the camp felt like a home away from home. Consisting of all the basic amenities, these camps were perched on a higher level for security reasons.
We enjoyed a small trek to reach our campsite. Although there’s lot of demand for camping in Rishikesh, only those between the ages of 8-55 years are allowed.
Rishikesh River-Rafting Adventure
After savoring a delectable breakfast, we got ready for our much-awaited rafting adventure. We were given the necessary safety instructions and provided with helmets and life jackets. Though I’m personally not an adventure enthusiast, I was there to conquer my fear of river rafting in Rishikesh.
Words cannot describe our four-hour expedition. Arduous activity posed a challenge for our bodies, but we were soon able to overcome the exertion. We felt so proud after crossing grade 2 & 3 rapids.
There was a stop midway where another surprise waited for us. I got goosebumps when I heard that we have to jump from a 25 ft. high cliff into the still water. Lots of emotions overcame me at the time, but it was worth doing!
In the evening, our tiredness vanished as an unforgettable bonfire was arranged for us at our campsite. A beautiful setting, lovely people, delicious food, the roaring sound of the river and dancing to upbeat music ended our day on a happy note.
After shopping, we finally drove towards the road which led to Delhi. Though the trip ended, the memories we made will be cherished for a lifetime. When we get a chance, we will plan a trip to Rishikesh again very soon. Also, we aim to visit Haridwar and nearby attractions which we skipped this time.
Tips for visitors
- Make sure to collect any garbage you bring, and toss it out appropriately
- Be mindful of monkeys and other creatures that live in the surroundings
- Safeguard your belongings and follow safety instructions carefully
Be mindful of the best time to visit Rishikesh: September to the first week of May.
Akansha Negi frequently writes at India Travel Blog by Indian Holiday Pvt. Ltd. She shares her passion of travel and love for various Indian destinations. If you are planning your vacations in India, browse
through her write-ups.