Situated at foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is an adorable town in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Famous as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ Rishikesh is also known as the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas.’ Exploring Rishikesh can be a rewarding experience as there are plenty of things to do in Rishikesh. The town offers a wide range of experiences to indulge in. Right from awesome adventure activities like river rafting and bungee jumping to spiritual extravaganza in a Yoga retreat, Rishikesh has a little something for every kind of traveler.
Here, I am compiling 18 things to do in Rishikesh, from my own experience.
- Battle the mighty rapids while River Rafting
If you love adventures and are always looking for exciting challenges, then you should definitely try river rafting in Rishikesh. This activity has gained spectacular momentum in adventure sports in India. The gushing water of the Ganges and the fast flow are perfect for enjoying this adventure sport. You cannot miss out adding this experience in your things to do in Rishikesh if battling Rapids excite you.
Also Read: River Rafting in Rishikesh
- Get that adrenaline rush by Bungee jumping
Bungee jumping is a fun activity that you can try at Rishikesh along with your friends. In this activity, you are supposed to jump from a heightened structure which can be cliff, building or a vertical rail. The individual is suspended with the help of a rope and is made to jump down from an altitude. This thrill comes when the individual makes the jump and experiences recoil once the rope is stretched out to its fullest extent. If you love adventurous sports and are always looking for some exciting games, you can try out this sport at Rishikesh. Taking a plunge at a height of 80 plus meters, this sport will give a feeling of being attracted towards gravity as you take the dive in the air. The 3 seconds when you experience free fall will leave you exhilarated with adrenaline. Bungee jumping should definitely be one of the most recommended things to do in Rishikesh. It’s even more fun if you use a coupon portal like AleRabat.com to find discounts on Rishikesh bungee jumping up to 35% off.
Here’s my experience of Bungee Jumping in Rishikesh
- Enjoy Kayaking
As opposed to River Rafting, Kayaking is more of a relaxed activity in Rishikesh. Of course, you can try and navigate the rapids while Kayaking, but that is not recommended for beginners. By the campsite, as the sun sets, you can paddle your way around in the tranquil waters of the Ganges.
- Visit the Beatles Ashram
Situated at a distance of 1 km from the Ram Jhula, this Ashram gained popularity after the renowned music band of 1960’s, Beatles, visited here in 1968. The band had come at this Ashram to learn the technique of transcendental meditation. It is believed the team Beatles was feeling much pressure when they rose to popularity and gained fame. The stress levels were so high that even affected their internal relations and caused disputes in the team. The team then visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram and made him their guru. The place is a hugely popular destination and is visited mainly by international tourists. People in search of inner peace and stress-free life also visit this Ashram. However, these days, travelers are interested in including a visit here on their list of things to do in Rishikesh due to the wall graffiti.
- Try Mountain biking
If you love going on long rides on your bike, you must surely try Mountain biking in Rishikesh. Riding a bike in the hilly regions of Rishikesh among the lush green environment can be a unique experience for you. So if you want to get the thrill of biking in the rocky edges just put on your protective gear and go on exploring the mystical city of Rishikesh on your mountain bike. There are some well-curated trails for mountain biking which let you experience you the best of Rishikesh landscapes.
- Zip Lining
In this activity, you will be attached to a rope with the help of a harness. The beginning point is located at a high altitude while the ending point is situated at a relatively low level to permit the slide across the rope. You can experience the high speed and the thrill as you go down sliding the rope. The activity can be performed between 2 cliffs or through a valley and enjoy the breathtaking views of the landscapes. You can also cross the tumultuous Ganga River by sliding above it!
- Offer prayers at Ganga Aarti
The Ganga Aarti at Ghat will definitely give you a peaceful experience and fill you with calmness. The Aarti is carried out of devotion and as a mark of respect for Goddess Ganga. This Aarti is attended by an ample number of devotees that include tourists and locals. As the sun sets over the horizon, the ghat is lit up with the hundreds of illuminated lamps that are sent floating after the Aarti. You can actually feel the spiritual effects in the environment when the Aarti is conducted. It is actually a dazzling site and one must experience this to get a feel of it.
- Cross the Lakshman Jhula
This bridge is situated at a distance of 5 kilometers and falls on the northeast side of Rishikesh. The iron suspension bridge is spread across the holy river the Ganges and is said to connect two villages. The bridge connects Tapovan located in Tehri Garhwal in west side to Jonk located in Pauri Garhwal on the east side. The tale goes that Lakshmana constructed a bridge with jute ropes to cross the Ganges at that time. The existing bridge was constructed in 1929 and is one of the most important landmarks of Rishikesh. There are many local bazaars and marketplaces surrounding this bridge. Hence it is always bustling with activities.
- Visit Paramarth Niketan
This holy ashram is situated just right on the banks of the Ganga river. The sacred place provides a peaceful atmosphere and is a great place to perform meditation. People come to this ashram from all over the world. The ashram includes many rooms which have modern amenities. Morning universal prayers, meditation classes, Satsang, kirtan, yoga, and lectures are the daily activities that are carried out at this ashram. This Ashram is open to all the people irrespective of gender, nationality, caste, creed, and religion. It is renowned for organizing “International Yoga Festival” annually from 1st of March to 7th March. The Ganga Arti takes place here as well. If you are seeking spiritual indulgence, visiting this Ashram can be a good entry in your list of things to do in Rishikesh.
At Parmarth Niketan, where the evening Ganga Aarti takes place!
Rishikesh is well known as the land of Yoga. The centers at Rishikesh are said to provide a life changing experience. The main objective of these centers is to provide a deep and thorough understanding of yoga which is an ancient technique for relaxation of mind and body. There are various courses available and the duration of these courses varies from 4 weeks to 12 weeks. The course fee includes your accommodation as well as food. In the fast life, it has become absolute necessity to have control over emotions and maintain your health. If you are in Rishikesh and are looking for peace of mind, then you should definitely try exploring the positive effects of yoga by visiting Yogapeeth.
- Rajaji National Park
Rajaji national park covers an area of 820.42 square kilometers and is situated in the Shivalik mountain ranges. It is a collaboration of 3 sanctuaries that are located in Shivalik ranges of Uttarakhand. The magnificent park has been blessed with extravagant beauty and is rich in biodiversity. It got this specific name in 1983. The park includes around 23 mammal species, 31 species of birds. The enormous protected area contains various zones of forests. The different types of forests include riverine forests, sal forests, board-leaved mixed forests, grassy plants, and scrublands. This is an excellent place for ecology friends and nature lovers. The park is said to be a fascinating place for many wildlife conservationists. For a nature lover, Rajaji National park is a highly recommended inclusion in things to do in Rishikesh list.
- Experience the power of Astrology and Reiki services
If you truly believe that planetary system affects your life and are a great follower of astrology, then Rishikesh is the right place for setting your things right. The land of spirituality also houses many astrology services that do guide you personally which will help you uplift your life. The place has many famous and talented tarot card readers who will not only create and read your horoscopes but also tell you ways to improve life situations. Apart from astrology, you can also try Reiki which is a Japanese technique to promote healing and give relaxation to the individual. You can also learn the Reiki technique at Rishikesh.
- Visit the Gita Bhawan
Located on the banks of the sacred Ganga River, the Gita Bhawan is situated in Rishikesh at Swargashram. One of the greatest thinkers of his era, Guru Shri Ram Sukh Daas constructed this place. The huge structure comprises of many discourse halls and includes more than 1000 rooms that are available for the devotees without any rent. It is a famous Hindu pilgrimage center that is visited by the devotees especially when the legendary poem Ramayana readings are conducted. The readings of this scripture are held twice a year. Even programs for meditation, one-day Satsang, and sadhana are held at this place.
- Indulge your taste buds in myriad Cuisines
Being a holy place, you will not find any non-vegetarian eateries in Rishikesh. The place is famous for providing satwik food that is mainly prepared without the use of garlic and onions. Surprisingly, the food prepared in such a manner tastes delectable and you will find yourself relishing your fingers after tasting the food. Many restaurants at Rishikesh provide a thali system that comprises of 5 to 7 vegetarian dishes that are served with rice and roti. You will also get international cuisines at Rishikesh but strictly vegetarian.
- Visit the Osho Ganga Dham Ashram
Situated in Brahmpuri, this ashram is located 4 kilometers to the north of Lakshman Jhula on the banks of the sacred Ganges. Away from the bustling city area, this ashram is located amidst nature and the serene environment adds more tranquil to the place. The place has many accommodation options and courses that will help you unwind yourself and get inner peace. The ashram includes a huge hall, overlooking the mighty Ganges that is used for meditation. The ashram also provides counseling services and even massages, Reiki on demand. If you are searching for some calm and want to rejuvenate yourself then you should definitely visit this ashram to actually feel the experience that will surely change your perspective towards life.
- Explore the Vashishta Caves
Also known as Vashishta Gufa, as per mythology of Hindu religion, this is the place where the human son of Lord Brahma, sage Vashishta carried out his meditation. As the story goes, the great sage wanted to commit suicide in the Ganges. However, it was refused by the Goddess. The serene location enchanted the sage’s wife and the couple decided to make this place their home because of the pleasant environment. Situated at a distance of 25 kilometers from Rishikesh en route to popular pilgrimage center Badrinath, Vashishta cave is a favored place for people seeking peace and meditation. The cave also has a Shiv Linga in it. It is a major tourist attraction in Rishikesh and visiting here can be one of the most interesting things to do in Rishikesh for a fan of history and mythology.
- Relax at the Little Buddha Café
Situated in close proximity to the Lakshman Jhula, this is among the most popular places of Rishikesh. There’s a reason for that! The restaurant has a unique structure and the tree-house style looks lure the customers to this place. The tables at the place overlook the mighty Ganges and the cuisine offered at his café is comprises of an international menu that is really up to the mark. So if you are a foodie, you should try the mixed vegetable platter at this place. It is said to be a tempting dish that you will enjoy snacking on. Also, the pizzas offered here are of huge sizes that will give you a satisfying experience.
- Dine at Bistro Nirvana
This newly opened bamboo themed restaurant has become a huge hit among the tourists. The seating arrangement is a bit distinct and the elevated tables are paired with cushioned bench seats for the comfort of the customers. The place serves multi regional food that is delicious and tasty which is bound to give a mouth relishing the experience. If you are a foodie, this recommendation directly goes to your list of things to do in Rishikesh.
I hope you liked my recommendations. Do you want to add anything on this list? Do let me know in the comment section below.