The celestial city of Rishikesh is set against the backdrop of the Himalayas with river Ganga flowing through it, known as the capital of yoga and meditation. A Spiritual Town where you can refresh your soul and body. The holy river Ganga, the yoga, meditation, the saints, the Hindu tradition, all gives a very positive and mystical vibes. There is so much to explore that you will never get bored of visiting Rishikesh again and again.
Just few days back, I planned a random trip with my family towards this holy town. Rishikesh is the ideal place to visit, if you are short of time but still want some relaxing break from city’s busy life. And trust me, it was the best!
We started early in the morning around 5 AM and was supposed to reach the city by 9.30 AM but unfortunately my car got some issues and have to get it repaired at the workshop in the midway. Due to which we reached late and was tired too. But, it’s part of life. Although it was random plan but I managed to book hotel in advance as I always advise to book hotel before your travel especially if you are travelling with family or kids. It was easy to reach Hotel Holy Water, park the car, take keys and refresh.
After having lunch, we started our journey from Lakshman Jhula and ended our day with aarti at Triveni Ghat. We took auto to reach Lakshman Jhula as was not in the mood to drive car. Lakshman Jhula is an iron suspension bridge which is 450 feet long and almost 70 feet above the river. Jhula offers breathtaking views of holy river Ganga. It was so beautiful to watch sunset from Lakshman Jhula. Watching the Sun dipping in spirituality in river Ganga and river glowing in the evening sun is just breathtaking. Blazing colors of sun and sky makes the whole scenery, soothes the soul in a mesmerizing way.
Lakshman Jhula is one of the major tourist attractions of Rishikesh. It is believed that Lord Lakshman, younger brother of Lord Ram crossed river Ganga with jute ropes at this place. My daughter just loved jumping on the jhula with curiosity to check whether it’s moving or not. The whole are resonates with the beautiful sounds of mantras and chants. The entire area gives you the inner peace and positive vibes holy river Ganga. After crossing the bridge, you will see market where you can try some street food and shop for variety of things like idols of Gods and Goddesses, holy books, beads mala, toys, jewelry, clothes, etc.
After crossing Lakshman Jhula, we pay visit to Tera Manzil temple, also known as Tryambakeshwar temple or Kailash Niketan Temple. It is believed that this ancient temple is established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century AD. The temple is famous for its unique architecture. The temple’s unique and distinctive feature is its towering height and 13 storey design. It has 13 floors inside the building, each showcasing different hindu gods. The top floor of the temple offers awesome views of The Ganges from top. You will find several shops inside the temple selling handicraft items, jewellery, puja items and gemstones. The temple looks amazing in night due of the magnificent lights that illuminate the entire temple.
After that, we head to Triveni Ghat for attending Ganga Aarti through a shared cab. Triveni Ghat is the biggest Ghat in Rishikesh, situated at the banks of holy river Ganga. Aarti is performed every evening here. It is a wonderful and so blissful experience to sit calmly and absorb all positivity. The aarti starts with chanting of bhajans, mantras, and prayers. I can’t explain the feeling of being there, it is a lifetime experience.
Surroundings were full of sound of beating drums, bells, diyas floating in the river, the priests offerings prayers to river Ganga by holding fire bowls in their hands. It gives you a feeling of being connected with the God. The beauty of gleaming diyas with flowers in the river under twinkling night sky is unmatched. This divine light ceremony takes place after sunset, try to reach at the Ghat before sunset so that you can get seat to closely attend the Aarti.
Next Day, we started our day with scrumptious breakfast at the hotel and left for Neem Beach. Neem Beach is a sand beach in Rishikesh located towards Badrinath Road from Tapovan. Best way to reach this beach is by walking as roads are not in good condition, only rafting vehicles can drive through this. This beach is less crowded and beautiful yet peaceful place to meditate or spent time with friends or family.
Water here is clean and not so deep, which makes it perfect for taking dips and swimming. We spent some time here while relaxing at the beach and our daughter spent time playing in the sand here.
We left for our next destination – Beatles Ashram, also known as Chaurasi Kutia. We took auto from our hotel to reach our destination. The auto dropped us at Janki Setu.
The ashram is located on the other side of the river; this bridge allows access to the ashram. There is a short walk of around 15-20 minutes from crossing Janki Setu to Beatles Ashram. The place comes under Rajaji National Reserve and you need to purchase tickets first; there is an entry ticket of Rs. 150 for the same.
The Beatles Ashram (Chaurasi Kutia) is a great place for photography. Its main attractions are its amazing graffiti works, architecture of small huts and stunning dome shaped construction on the roof and painting of Beatles band on the walls of Ved Bhawan.
This place is a fusion of art and nature. In year 1968, the Beatles band visited India to learn Transcendental Meditation, they wrote 48 songs here. There is a very interesting story behind their visit to India.
Beehive shaped meditation huts are so beautifully built along with thick trees and garden area. Most of the buildings are in decay but murals and colorful graffiti works is worth watching.
We climbed up to the roof for clicking pictures of colorful egg shaped domes. Although stairs and building is not in good condition, still we managed to climb to click pictures and to get immense peace.
After spending good 2 hours here, we head towards Tapovan Ghat while crossing Ram Jhula and Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Parmarth Niketan Ashram is the largest ashram in Rishikesh situated at the banks of river Ganga. We practiced yoga here and attended daily satsang for sometime. One can visit the ashram for all kind of yoga, meditation and ayurvedic treatments. People come and stay for weeks or may be longer for attending camps and programs.
We crossed Ram Jhula and walked few steps and reached Tapovan Ghat. Tapovan Ghat is yet another beautiful place to spend time with your family. This Ghat has white sand and offers serene and mesmerizing views of river Ganga. Spend good time here watching rafting boats passing through the river, listening to mantras coming from the surroundings.
It’s so calm and peace here. Finally, we ended our day with having snacks at Lakshman Jhula Café and head back to Delhi.
Rishikesh is like no other place in India. I love my family weekend trip here. Enjoyed the sunset, witness the graffiti arts, enjoyed breathtaking river views, and whole atmosphere of the city. In fact, we will visit this spiritual city again 🙂