Rishikesh 24 Kms. from
Hardwar. Located in the laps
of lower Himalayas, and is surrounded by scenic beauty of the
hills on three sides with Holy Ganga flowing through it. The
whole place is considered to be sacred as it is believed that
meditation at this place leads to attainment of salvation. There
are many temples-some ancient, some new along the river Ganges.
Rishikesh is important not only as pilgrimage centre closely
associated with the Ramayana, but also as home for many
important centres of Hindu religious thought and spirituality,
and as a very great Yoga Centre. There are a great many ashrams
and Yoga institutes here. Rishikesh is also the gateway and the
start-off point for journeys to important religious places like
Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
Rishikesh is also acquiring greater significance as a centre for
white water rafting, other revering sports, a base for treks and
hikes in the beautiful Garhwal Himalayas
Rishikesh is also an important gateway to the Himalayan shrines
of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Besides, the
various yoga centers located here have elevated this town to a
leading position among the tourist destinations of north India.
Apart from the breathtaking natural beauty, you can take delight
in a number of other highlights that are located here such as
Bharat Mandir, Rishikund, Triveni Ghat, Geeta Bhawan, Lakshman
Jhula, Swarga Ashram and Trayambakeshwar Temple
History of Rishikesh
The history of Rishikesh goes back several centuries. There are
several mythical stories associated with this place.
It is this place where Raibhya Rishi, a noted saint, performed
stern penance while sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganga.
He got his reward when the lord appeared in front of him and
gave the name of this place as Rishikesh. There is also a famous
landmark called Bharat Temple and legend states that the brother
of Rama, Bharat also did severe penance at this place. One of
the most well-known religious leaders of contemporary times, Adi
Shankaracharya, visited Rishikesh in the 9th century AD and this
place thus got catapulted to the status of one of the major
religious spots of north India. Rishikesh is also popular for
Kailas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham that happens to be a 120 years
old institute offering courses for the traditional Vedantic
Jhula : The suspension iron bridge Lakshman Jhula was build
in 1929 and has been a major attraction among the tourists to
Rishikesh. This is where Rama's brother Lakshaman is said to
have crossed the river on a jute ropes . One can enjoy the
pictursque surroundings and the cool breeze from the River while
standing on the bridge.
Ram Jhula : Another suspended bridge close to Lakshman Juhla
is the Ram Jhula- This suspended bridge was recently build
between Shivanand Ashram and Sawarg Ashram. It is similar to the
Lakshman Jhula. Ram Juhla is also known as Shivanand Jhula.
Raghunath Mandir and
Triveni Ghat : It is the most important places for religious
ceremonies in Rishikesh. It is believed that the Ganga is joined
here by the Yamuna and the Saraswati Rivers. Gegraphically,
however, the Yamuna joins the Ganga in Allahabad. The dusk Aarti
on the Triveni Ghat is most impressive. Barefoot, sorried ranks
of devotees sit in rows on the steps of the Ghat. As the sun
begins to set, plating the river with gold, bells and gongs ring
and chants fill the air. A row of religious celebrants hold
plates of flaming ghee, moving them in a circular salutation to
the Goddess of the River. Devotees also release flower-filled
leaf boats carrying tiny oil lamps and left them float out on
the river. It is a ceremony of worship, rememberance and hope.
Gita Bhavan : This newly constructed building is famous for
its attractive paintings and statues from the Hindu mythology.
Situated just across the Lakshman Jhula.
Bharat Mandir : It is the oldest temple in
Rishikesh. The image installed here has a distinctly Himalayan
cast of features. Though the temple is dedicated to Lord
Mahavishnu, it holds a number of image normalley associated with
the worship of Lord Shiva.
Ashrams : There are many important ashrams in
Rishkesh. Most ashrams are centres for spiritual studies which
also calls for Physical disciplines. Some ashrams, however, are
monasteries. Among the better known ashrams are :- Paremarth
Niketan, Sivanand Ashram, Yoga Niketan, Omkaranand Ashram,
Vanprastha Ashram, Ved Niketan, Dayanand Vedanta Ashram, Vanmali
Gita Yogashram, Shankaracharya Nagar Transcendental Meditatation
Centre, Vithal Ashram and Yoga Study Centre.