Rishikesh, India is the birthplace of yoga. Because of this, I knew I had to visit during the site-seeing portion of my trip. Rishikesh is known for having many ashrams (yoga/spiritual communities) and also for adventures sports, as it is located on the banks of the Ganges river. People either come for a spiritual retreat or for an adrenaline rush white water rafting. I think I was one of the few people I met who came to Rishikesh purely for the yoga/fitness aspect.
I’ll write more about my time staying at an ashram in Rishikesh, but for now, here is what I did in Rishikesh during my week there. As you can see, there isn’t a ton. Rishikesh is better for relaxation than it is for sightseeing – which was just fine with me!
One of my first nights in Rishikesh, one of the couples staying in the ashram, Patricia and J.J., organized an awesome night out to celebrate their third wedding anniversary. We piled into tuk tuks, which only cost 5 rupees a person in Rishikesh, as long as you stay on the pre-defined route.
We visited a Hare Krishna temple and enjoyed a special celebration complete with music and dancing. Hare Krishna is an ultra-orthodox branch of Hinduism. Everything in the ceremony was separated by gender.
After the celebration, there was a delicious buffet dinner:
The Ganges river flows through Rishikesh and is amazingly beautiful. The water is a pretty turquoise and perfect for swimming. You have to be careful where you take your dip though, as many people drown each year in the fast moving currents. There are several hidden whirlpools close to the most popular swimming spot. The week before I arrived, four tourists drowned. So awful.
There is a pretty waterfall on the edge of town, which is perfect for swimming on a hot day. I hiked there with Aric and Anna Maria from the ashram. We were lucky that it is fairly deserted when we went, but I have heard it is often filled with aggressive, leering, Indian men.
My other favorite thing that I did in Rishikesh was visit the Beatles Ashram. I had so many photos I made it its own post, so stay tuned!