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Rishikesh


RishikeshThe holy town of Rishikesh has the eminence of being the International capital of Yoga and meditation. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the River Ganges, Rishikesh is dotted with a number of ancient temples, ashrams and world renowned yoga and meditation centres. Not only devotees, but travellers from all parts of the world flock to the sacred town for a deeper understanding of meditation. At the ashrams in Rishikesh, visitors can attend lectures and courses offered by celebrated yoga and meditation experts. Apart from Hindu shrines, the town of Rishikesh also invites adventure lovers from all around. It is also the ideal gateway for a pilgrim chardham yatra, that includes travelling to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath.

Rishikesh Ganga Aarti

Rishikesh Ganga Aarti. Evening in Rishikesh are for sitting by the Ganges and while away your time. Later in the evening, you headed towards Parmarth Niketan Ashram to witness the daily evening ritual of Ganga Aarti.

The aarti is a pleasant ritual of worshipping the Ganga. Around 50-100 people visit the aarti on any day. You have witnessed Ganga Aarati in other places like Haridwar and Varanasi too, but they are a crowded noisy ritual with loud screaming speakers, people troubling you to make donations or hawkers trying to sell something highly overpriced. The Aarti at Rishikesh is a contrast to it, held in a small place with a few people and is a relatively quite affair. You can sit quietly in a corner and witness the ritual or join the crowds singing Bhajans with them.

The Aarati happens at a very picturesque place on the banks of Ganga, in front of a Shiva statue built on the river. You see some activity beginning at the riverbank around 5pm. People start cleaning up the area, lay carpets in preparation for the aarati.

A few people are seen selling deep or diya - a flower bowl with a wick lamp to be floated down the river during the Aarti after prayers.Terivani Ghat Ganga Aarti. It starts at 5.30pm, with children studying Veda, the Bhajan singers and the performers walking into the ghat in front of Parmarth Niketan. It begins with Bhajans and prayers for Gangaji and Shiva.

It is interesting to watch the children as the ritual progresses. They look bright and alive in their saffron robes. Some of them appear oblivious of the whole thing and drift into their own world. A few start a conversation within themselves. Some continue singing the Bhajans with an uninterested face and a few are motionless, just sitting there or staring blankly. There are some who are completely immersed in the Bhajans and join everyone with full enthusiasm, singing and clapping loudly with the rhythm.

As the sun sets and it gets slightly darker, the Shiva statue is lighted up and it looks beautiful. The Aarti continues with lamps in various shapes and sizes lighted up, and passed on from people to people.

Lakshman Jhula :

one of the most visited, the Lakshmana Jhula is a suspended bridge, extending from one bank of the Ganges to the other. The bridge is mythological significant because it is where Lakshman crossed the Ganga through on jute-rope-made bridge. Visitors can enjoy some impressive views of the Himalayan ranges from upon the bridge. Today, the Lakshmana Jhula connects two popular ashrams - Shivanand Ashram and Swarg Ashram.
 

Bharat Mandir :

Established back in the 12th century, the Bharat Temple happens to be the oldest in Rishikesh. The temple stands in dedication to Bharat, the younger brother of Rama (hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana). Though the original temple structure was destroyed in an invasion by Temur in 1398, the temple still preserves a number of Hindu relics. The inner sanctum of the Bharat Mandir enshrines the idol of Lord Vishnu. The temple stands close to the Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh.

Triveni Ghat :

The most popular bathing ghat in Rishikesh, the Triveni Ghat is the point where River Ganges takes a complete right angle turn. Hindus also believe that it is here that the three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati converge. Every morning, scores of pilgrims and devotees can be seen here taking a holy dip in the divine waters of the Ganga. In the evening, the sight at the ghat is simply heart stirring. Vedic chants, to the accompaniment of drums and bells, can be heard all around and a spiritual aura surrounds the whole place. Tiny oil lamps on bedecked leaf boats floating on the Ganges add much charm to the whole atmosphere.

Ram Jhula :

The place (or the bridge) is equally popular with devotees and tourists. It remains suspended 3 km north of Rishikesh town. It attracts most visitors due to the fact that it lies just close to the popular ashrams - Geeta Bhawan and Swarg Ashram. Visitors cannot afford to miss the enchanting evening prayer (which lasts for 30 minutes) at the Geeta Bhawan ghat. Food lovers can head straight to the 50-year-old and the very famous Chotiwala Restaurant, located in Ram Jhula.

Geeta Bhawan :

Geeta Bhawan is one of the oldest temple complexes situated by the side of Laxman Jhula on the banks of sacred Ganges in Rishikesh. Gita Bhavan is dedicated as a Museum for puranic and mythological awareness for the common public. Building consists of a very large complex comprising discourse halls and over 1000 rooms available free of charge for the stay of devotees. For the convenience of the devotees, simple vegetarian food, kitchen and grocery items and Indian sweets are available at very moderate price.
Neelkanth Mahadev :

Thousands of devotees visit Neelkanth Mahadev every month throughout the year. It is situated on the summit of the mountain across the sacred Ganga River. According to mythology this is the place where Lord Shiva drank the venom produced during agar Manthan which turned his throat blue and was thus the place was named as Neelkanth. Neelkanth and Mahadev are names of Lord Shiva.

Parmarth Niketan :

Across the Ramjhoola Bridge stands the mammoth Parmarth Niketan Ashram. The ashram has hundreds of rooms. It conducts many religious programmes. Foreigners can stay only with special permission.

Swargashram :

One of the oldest ashrams in Rishikesh, its founder Swami Vishudhanand was also known as the 'Kali Kamli Wala' (One with The Black Blanket). Today the Kali Kamliwala Kshetra is a mammoth organization embracing many activities.
Vashishta Gufa :

Vashishta Gufa is a famous attraction for meditation, located at the bank of River Ganga, this gufa is situated at a distance of 16 km from Rishikesh. It takes about an hours drive on the Rishikesh Badrinath Highway to reach Vashishta Gufa. For the adventure seeker, this place provides with camping facility.

Kunjapuri Devi Temple :

Kunjapuri Devi Temple is located on a hillock around 15 km away from Rishikesh. This temple is dedicated to one of the thirteen most important goddesses of Shivalik range. The temple is well-known among the travellers as it gives a beautiful view of the sunrise and the sunset from the greater Himalayan peaks.


PLACES TO VISIT

Get detailed information on top tourist destinations and Places to visit in uttarakhand.

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