It’s more than three months since I’ve left Switzerland and said Namaste to India. Rishikesh, the holy city located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the place often nicknamed „Yoga Capital of the World“ has been my home during my Yoga Teacher Training in November 2017. I’m grateful for this very special time, when I was studying Yoga, reading my books next to beautiful Ganga and meeting amazing dogs, cows, monkeys, and humans. Although I haven’t had a lot of time to explore the area around Rishikesh (due to the Yoga Teacher Training I attended) many beautiful things have happened during my stay.
I love to share them with you.
But first of all, Rishikesh is amazing! People are extremely friendly and welcoming, which always made me feel safe.
Rishikesh is kind of divided into three areas: Lakshman Jhula, Ram Jhula and Rishikesh city. Jhula means bridge, so there are two main bridges, connecting both sites separated by beautiful Ganga, the sacred river that flows through Rishikesh. The area around Lakshman Jhula is where most Yoga schools and hotels are located. It can be quite touristy in high season and there are a lot of cute cafes with Indian as well as Western food. Ram Jhula is closer to Rishikesh city. There you’ll get a more authentic/local sense of place since there are no Western cafes and shops. In this area you’ll find more Ashrams, for example the famous Sivananda Ashram or Yoga Niketan Ashram. A special tip here.. if you want to buy jewelry don’t buy it in Lakshman Jhula since they will charge you far more than the shops on the other side of Ram Jhula bridge. It’s worth to walk a couple of minutes more to get a very good price. Whatsoever, I guess you’d find the best offers in Rishikesh city, where the market is.
Here are some impressions of the area around Lakshman Jhula:
From Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula:
And again, Rishikesh is a wonderful place to stay for a while. It will surprise you every day anew. So many stories, so many colours, amazing people all surrounded by beautiful nature. Here some impressions and things to do around Rishikesh.
Watching the rising sun from Kunjapuri Temple – the Temple of Wishes:
The view up there is magnificent. On a clear day, this place provides a beautiful panoramic view of the snow capped mountains in Garhwal Himalayas.
Story time: This Hindu temple is dedicated to the goddess Sati, the wife of lord Shiva, before she took birth as Goddess Paarvati. According to Hindu mythology, the father of Sati was not pleased when his daughter married Lord Shiva. He organized a yagna, but didn’t invite Sati or Lord Shiva. Sati got angry and went there uninvited. Her father humiliated Lord Shiva in public. Disturbed by this, Sati jumped into the fire and ended her life. When Lord Shiva came to know about this, he destroyed the yagna and carried Sati’s body on his shoulders towards the Himalayas. Lord Brahma felt that if the final rites are not completed, she couldn’t take rebirth as goddess Paarvati. Then Lord Vishnu took his Sudarshan Chakra and cut her body into pieces. So while Lord Shiva was carrying the dead body of Goddess Sati in his arms and wandering through the Himalayas, the body parts of Goddess Sati fell down at different places. These places are called as Shakti Peethas. There are 52 Shakti Peethas around Nepal and India. The Kunjapuri temple is located where chest of the Goddess was fallen. … a lot of drama I know. But remember it’s India, the country of Bollywood.
Visit Rishikesh Market:
Here you’ll find everything. From delicious local food, chai and huge smiles to strange smells, begger and fake swamis. For some people it might be a little bit too much, nevertheless I enjoy the hustle and bustle of Indian markets a lot.
Explore the Beatles Ashram:
A magical place, whit lots of art and history. The Ashram, where the Beatles once studied with their Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is located within walking distance from Ram Jhula (about 20 minutes walk). I wrote more about my experience here: India Adventures: The Beatles Ashram
Dance on an Indian Wedding:
They are everywhere and if you’re lucky and get an invitation make sure you’ll accept! It’s a unique experience. A lot of food, music, people and dance will await you. Don’t be afraid, everyone will be more than happy to host you and show you around!
That was Rishikesh. I still have so many pictures and stories from India to share. As already mentioned it’s a country full of surprises and will change and challenge your perspectives – I promise!
Thank you so much for reading all this! I’m more than happy to help if there are any questions about travelling in India.