R.ishikesh is a hub for hikers. It is the pick-up point for many of our Himalayan hikes – Brahmatal, Ali Bedni Bugyal, Deoriatal-Chandrashila … Most of our hikers stay a day or two to explore Rishikesh. And why not! Rishikesh is an extremely charming town where the Ganga River flows with all its grace and the hills that rise right in front of its banks.
My anger with hikers is that in Rishikesh, among large crowds, they do the usual touristy stuff and spend more than they should.
So today I want to share with you some unusual experiences in Rishikesh. I contacted some of our seasoned Trek Leaders and avid travelers to create this list.
“A valuable tip I will give is planning your Rishikesh tour after your hike and not before your hike. Before a hike, it is best to come straight from home, best and freshest, without getting tired of traveling. Think of visiting Rishikesh as an after-trek experience, ”advises Dushyant Sharma, Senior Trek Leader at Indiahikes. With this advice in mind, let’s jump straight into our list.
1. Take a walk along the banks of the Ganga River from Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula
Start your walk around 4 or 4:30 p.m. from Lakshman Jhula across the main street. The fresh evening air, the treetops and the ringing Ganga that cruises with you make for wonderful company. The beauty of Rishikesh, pregnant with meaningful silence, will sing beautifully to you. When you reach Ram Jhula, be on time to witness the stunning Ganga Aarti.
The walk from Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula best ends in the evening and ends at Triveni Ghaat where you can see the beautiful Ganga Aarti
2. Experience the Ganga Aarti in Triveni Ghat
At 6pm, make sure you have the right view at Triveni Ghat as Ganga Aarti is a must-see on your Rishikesh checklist. The Triveni Ghat is right next to Ram Jhula and will be crowded for the Ganga Aarti but the experience will be well worth it.
You can still find a quiet moment to reflect calmly while lighting lamps and floating them on the waters of the Ganga on the other side of the ghat.
Bonus tip: There are two viewpoints from which the Ganga Aarti can be enjoyed. One is by the temple and the other is by the banks of the river bank on the other side. Take a short walk from the GMVN to the riverside to find your lookout point.
“On a quiet day, you can find Sadhus give religious discourses along the banks of the river. Take part if you want, ”says Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes.
Don’t forget to indulge in a variety of street foods outside of Triveni Ghat during your stay. From traditional Indian chaat to chow mein and momos, you’ll find a mix of snacks. (Make sure you use your own cutlery here, avoid single-use items!)
The Ganga Aarti is a must on your Rishikesh checklist. The Triveni Ghat is right next to Ram Jhula and will be crowded for the Ganga Aarti but the experience will be well worth it.
3. Food Stalls You Must Visit in Rishikesh
Many people recommend the vegetarian restaurant in Chotiwala. We all at Indiahikes believe that it is overrated.
Instead, venture into one of the continental cafes found on the way to Lakshman Jhula. Beatles Cafe is one of the favorite places of our Trek Leaders.
“Many of these cafes offer amazing vegan options, sometimes even rarer than most major cities. For example, I found a vegan apple cake and a carrot cake Tattv Cafethat I haven’t seen anywhere else. So there is a lot of vegan food in these cafes, ”says Lakshmi Selvakumaran, Head of Experience at Indiahikes.
There is also a famous German bakery near Lakshman Jula. The bread and pastries here are a must.
Bonus tip: The Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh is a spiritual center that conducts daily prayers, yoga and meditation classes. In the afternoon, all visitors to the ashram receive a simple but sumptuous lunch that is free of charge. This is an experience in itself.
4. Take a break at Rishikesh’s most famous lassi place
On the main street of the old Rishikesh market there is a small lassi place that is famous all over Rishikesh – Pappu Lassi. Go here to take a break from cold lassi.
5. Start your rafting at Shivpuri Falls
If there’s one thing Rishikesh is famous for outside of Ganga Aarti, it’s rafting. But most trekkers start their rafting experience in Byasi or Kaudiyala.
My recommendation is that instead of starting your rafting experience in crowded places, you should start at Shivpuri Falls. Located 10 miles above Rishikesh, the hotel offers a wonderful experience rafting in the wild waters of the Ganga all the way down to Lakshman Jhula. (You could even dive off a cliff into the river on this route.)
Shivpuri rafting point ends in Lakshman Jhula and offers a great 10 miles rafting experience. Image by Jothiranjan R.
6. Go to Haridwar for a good tandai
When in Rishikesh be sure to visit their twin town Haridwar if you have the time. Hardiwar is only 20 km away. The tandai and rabri you get from the street vendors here are to die for.
Bonus tip: We have already talked about the Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh but don’t miss the Ganga Aarti in Har ki Pauri when you are in Haridwar. The Ganga Aarti is a spectacle that you can experience several times in many different places and that would impress you every time.
7. Experience the hostel culture of Rishikesh
Hostels are not only cheap and safe, they also give it a certain charm Rishikesh experience. “I haven’t seen hostel culture as thriving in most parts of our country, not even in tourist-friendly Manali,” says Lakshmi.
The best part is that a lot of them like hostels Live Free Hostel Organize events, hiking tours and other group activities yourself. You will meet people from all walks of life, backpackers and travelers from all over the world and get the opportunity to learn from their experiences.
Bonus tip: Don’t miss the very interesting hippie culture of Rishikesh. It is something that you will experience firsthand in these hostels and also in the cafes around Rishikesh.
8. Go bungee jumping at the highest bungee jumping point in India
About 52 km outside of Rishikesh is Mohan Chutti, the highest bungee jump point in India. Although bungee jumping has become common in many places in India, this was the first and is still the highest point for bungee jumping in India.
You can either take a taxi to Mohan Chutti or use the taxi service of the bungee jumping organization.
Additional tips for travelers in Rishikesh
– Use vicrams to commute in and around Rishikesh. These are shared cars with minimal charges.
– It’s also very easy to rent scooters to travel longer distances in Rishikesh.
That brings us to the bottom of this list of things to do in and around Rishikesh.
If you’ve done something interesting or had other rare experiences in Rishikesh we’d love to hear about it. Our trekkers are also waiting for more tips. So leave a comment below and help us!