New Delhi: Weekends are an opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily routine lives. After a tiring week at office, one just wants to relax, rejuvenate and regenerate. Rishikesh can be a salvation for the people of Delhi-NCR. Rishikesh is a city in Uttarakhand (often called Dev Bhoomi) which is blessed with tranquility. This place has a soulful vibration. Rishikesh is surrounded by Himalayan foothills and is situated besides the river Ganges. The place offers ample amount of fun, adventure, peace, and scenic beauty.
How to reach Rishikesh within budget?
Rishikesh does not have its own railway station. The nearby railway station is in Haridwar. People can reach Rishikesh from Haridwar in just 40 minutes on a car and in an hour on a Tuk Tuk. It takes about five hours by train from Delhi to Haridwar and the tickets can be very cheap. One can get a ticket from Delhi to Haridwar for only Rs 140-200. One can hire a Tuk Tuk from Haridwar to Rishikesh in just Rs 500. You can take a shared auto from Haridwar right up to the Tapovan area of Rishikesh for Rs 40-60.
One can also board a bus from Delhi to Rishikesh which cuts out the need for transport to Haridwar, and this costs around Rs 400 -1,000 depending on the quality.
Where to find a comfortable stay with a good view within budget in Rishikesh?
In Rishikesh, one can find clean, comfortable, and cosy hostel stays at a very affordable price.The hostel atmosphere in Rishikesh is friendly and warm, the people staying in the hostels are usually travellers, and one can get a chance to interact with people from different parts of India and even world. Most of the hostels are equipped with facilities like WiFi, warm bathing water, drinking water, facilities of indoor games like Ludo, Chess and Jenga. Some hostels also have swimming pools for their visitors to have a good vacay time. The dorms are as cheap as Rs 320-450 for one bed for a day.
Below mentioned hostels are some suggestions that you can consider if you are planning your weekend getaway to Rishikesh.
Shalom Backpackers: It is located near Anand Dham besides Beatles Cafe at Laxman Jhula, Tapovan. One can experience the divinity of Rishikesh while staying here. The hostel is painted with a yellow theme, with some cool graffiti walls, and has a view of the Himalayan foothills and of flowing river Ganges.
Backpackers Panda: It is located opposite Deccon Valley Apartments, Badrinath Highway in Tapovan. This hostel is surrounded with the view of Deccon valley. It has lift and parking space as well. The hostel has a swimming pool on the second floor with low lighting. This hostel has 24x7 cafe facilities and a beautiful reading area.
Shiv Shakti Hostel: It is located near Sant Sewa Ashram opposite Sood & Sood Travel Agency, Laxman Jhula. Located just 2 km from Ram Jhula, Shiv Shakti Hostel operates a 24-hour front desk. Arrangements for trekking, white river rafting, biking, and camping can be made upon request.
Rishikesh is known as a hub of yoga culture, spiritualism and soulfulness. If anyone wants to have the essence of peacefulness then the ashrams situated near Ram Jhula are just the right place to make the stay decision. The ashrams offer rooms within Rs 500-700, one can improve wellbeing by taking the rejuvenating yoga classes and meditational practices being held here.
Here are some suggestions that you can consider if you are planning to experience the spiritual feelings. One can stay at Paramarth Niketan Ashram, Shivananda Ashram, Sadhna Mandir Ashram and Omkarananda Ashram.
If you are an adventurer, you would prefer staying in the tents rather than staying indoors. One can book river side camping packages at Ghattu Ghat forest near water falls. It includes meals on buffet basis. They offer welcome drink, morning breakfast, lunch, evening snacks with bonfire and dinner. The activities would include hiking and trekking, nature walk, Badminton, Volleyball, light music, bonfire, cricket, waterfall trekking, body surfing, Burma Bridge and group sports activities. Camping costs a person approximately Rs 1,000-1,500 for 2 days and 1 night.
What to do in Rishikesh?
There's a lot one can do, while in Rishikesh. If someone knows how to ride a scooty and has got the driving license, you can pick scooty on rent. One can pick a scooty for 24 hours in Rs 400 and plan the weekend in their own way. Riding through the curvy mountain roads with the view of flowing river Ganga besides Tapovan forest, has its own feeling of thrill and thunder.
One can plan a ride to Neelkanth Mahadev, Neergarh and Patna waterfalls that happens on the way to the temple through Tapovan. Though visitors would need to trek a little to reach the waterfall.
If you want to witness an incredible sunrise and you are happy to wake up early, you must go to Kunjapuri Temple. Leave at 5.30 am with your scooty. However once at the top, which is 1,645 meters high to be exact, you will be rewarded with not only the sunrise but a view of the river Ganges below where you walked from and the Himalayan peaks.
Adventure sports and activities in Rishikesh
Who is brave enough? Jumping Heights, India's first highest Bungee Jumping platform at a height of 83 metres is located just outside Rishikesh. It is increasing Rishikesh tourism even more. You will need to book this in advance. You'll be out for about 4-5 hours. This must be one of the most unique and fun things to do in Rishikesh, if you're brave enough!
White Water Rafting & Cliff Jumping
Time to challenge the mind and body on a gruesome challenge. The rafting starts from Shivpuri – the starting point for the 21 km rafting. All you need to do is hop on to the raft and buckle up like horsemen for the bumpy ride ahead. At the midpoint of the rafting course, there's a stop at a cliff where one can jump from 25 ft into still water.
Ganges evening Aarti ceremony in Rishikesh
The Aarti happens at Parmarth Niketan Ashram after the Ram Jhula Bridge. It is about a 20-30 minutes walk away from the Laxman Jhula Bridge.
Rishikesh is a really good place to shop. It might even be one of the best places to shop in India. The shops are easy to walk around, the shop owners are nice and there is just so much stuff. Especially health and wellness related products like essential oils, natural beauty products, as well as bags, clothes, jewellery and so much more are available.
Beaches in Rishikesh
Another way to chill out in Rishikesh is going to the beach as the river does have beaches with soft shimmering sand. It can get busy with Indian visitors getting in the river but it's also easy to climb some rocks and find some calm place to meditate and heal with the sound of Ganges and soothing breeze. Ganga Beach, Nim Beach, Lakshman Jhula Beach are some of the beaches one can visit.
Sound Healing Sessions
Visitors can join sound healing sessions at Devi Music Ashram on Sunday. It is organised from 5-7 pm. Get there by 4.30 pm to get a good place, take some layers, cover-up and lie down. Listen to the most incredible sound healing.
Places You Can't Miss In Rishikesh
Lakshman Jhula, Ram Jhula, Paramarth Niketan Ashram, Beatles Ashram, Neel Kanth Mahadev Mandir are must-visit places. The temple is located at the Manikut Parvat in Rishikesh. As per Mythological texts, the place is where Mahadev consumed the poison that originated from the sea when God (Devas) and Demons (Asuras) churned the ocean in order to get Amrita. This poison that emanated during the "Samudra Manthan" made his throat blue in colour. This is how he is known as Neelkanth.
Cafes with delicious food and soulful view
Little Buddha Cafe: It is a great place for western and vegan food, especially breakfast with a view of the Ganges.
Ganga View Cafe: A modern cafe straight out of Melbourne or London, this is good for something a bit different.
Tat Cafe: I loved doing Yoga here and then sitting in the sun eating breakfast on the balcony watching the river.
Shambala: It is good for dinner because of the regular live music.
The Beatles Cafe: The Beatles Cafe and ashram holds nostalgia. Back in February 1968, the English rock band the Beatles travelled to Rishikesh to take part in transcendental meditation training course at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It received widespread media attention.
Cafe De Goa: It offers an amazing view of the river and the Laxman Jhula bridge which is perfect for people and monkey watching.
The Bakeries: There are so many bakeries selling cakes and pastries, including vegan cake which are really good.
Rishikesh can be explored without spending much. An ideal weekend trip from Delhi-Rishikesh including travelling, staying, site-seeing, exploring offbeat places, meals at cafes with great scenic view and adventuring can be covered in just Rs 4,000-4,500.