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Around Rishikesh

About RishikeshRishikesh is the lap of Hindu philosophy and learning, with several ashrams devoted to the understanding and propagation of the faith.

Signs of religious rituals can be seen all over Rishikesh – in the numerous temples lining the banks of the Ganga, the mythological tales that you hear about various spots and even the shops that sell books and religious objects.

The river Ganga witch is the second biggest in India splits Rishikesh and its neighboring villages. Via bridges named Laksmanjhula and Ramjhula, you can cross the river. Watch out for the monkeys! You can also feed peanuts to fishes in the river below while walking on the bridge.

This is the place to come if you like yoga and meditation. Many ashrams offer guests to stay in their facilities and vegetarian meals besides world class yoga. For the daring souls, there are many different outdoor activities to choose from. One can try rafting or climbing. For less adventurous, there are some beautiful mountain trails to tread upon. For more religiously inclined ones, there are a number of ancients temples nestled in the knooks and corners of Himalayan terrain.

Attractions of Rishikesh
Triveni GhatTriveni Ghat ---- This is a sacred bathing Ghat where the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati flow together and devotees take holy dips and offer prayers. Triveni Ghat is believed to be the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the legendary Saraswati river. The "Aarti" ceremony done at Triveni Ghat, on the south end of Rishikesh, takes place at the sundown.The dusk Aarti on the ghat is most impressive and is a real sight to behold. Devotees release flower-filled leaf boats carrying tiny oil lamps and let them float out on the river, which is a ceremony of worship, remembrance and hope.

Shivanand Jhoola ----- Also known as Ram Jhoola, this is a recently completed suspension bridge which spans the river near Swarg Ashram.

Temples at Rishikesh ---- Although there are about three hundred and thirty million Hindu gods whom the Hindu Religion Follower follows but all of them do not have temples dedicated to them in most part of the world. But a majority of gods and goddesses are worshipped at Rishikesh. Shiva and Vishnu have the maximum number of temples with their numerous forms represented as installed idols. Some of the important temples in Rishikesh are:

Temples at RishikeshBharat Mandir-------- Reputedly the oldest temple in Rishikesh. Though some scholars believe that this temple has not been named after the loyal brother of Lord Ram, popular belief contends otherwise. The image installed here has a distinctly Himalayan cast of features. Though the temple is dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu, it holds a number of images normally associated with the worship of Lord Shiva.

Nilkanth Mahadev------- This is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva drank the poison churned out of the cosmic ocean. It turned his throat blue which is why he is also called Nilkanth. The temple is located atop a hill accessed by a 10 km. walk or a 32 km. drive. Every Shivratri and Shravan (mid-July to August), fairs are held here.

Raghunath Mandir-------- Generally regarded as the most important place for religious ceremonies in Rishikesh. It is believed that the Ganga is joined here by the Yamuna, and the Saraswati Rivers. Geographically, however, the Yamuna joins the Ganga in Allahabad and the legendary Saraswati has not been located by surveyors as yet.

Hanuman MandirHanuman Mandir------ Located at Maya Kund, this temple was erected in 1924 by Swami Ramdas alias Oriya Baba. It draws a large number of devotees every Tuesday – the day traditionally fixed for Hanuman worship. Another important Hanuman Temple is at Sivanandnagar. Other important temples in Rishikesh include the Pushkar Temple, the Venketshwara Temple and the two ‘modern’ temples across the Ganga at Lakshman Jhoola. One of these temples is an imposing 13-storeyed structure with many smaller temples in each storey. A temple which has come up on the right bank of Ganga has arguably the world’s biggest Shiva Lingam.

Ashrams ---- Most ashrams at Rishikesh are centers for spiritual studies which also, often, calls for physical disciplines. Some ashrams, however, are monasteries. Among the better known ashrams are:

Sivanand Ashram: Modestly started by Swami Sivanand as an ashram, it has today grown into the Divine life Society with branches in India and abroad. The activities of the society include studies of Vedanta and Yoga, a hospital and the production of herbal medicines.

Omkaranand Ashram: Located above the Yoga Niketan, Omkaranand Ashram is also known as the Durga Mandir. The organisation runs a school, maintains several temples and conducts classes in Sanskrit, Hindi, music, classical dance and English at the Omkaranand Vishvakul at Muni-ki-Reti.

emples at RishikeshSwagashram: 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.

Geeta Bhavan: Founded in early 1950s, it runs a free Ayurvedic dispensary and has a branch of the Gita Press, Gorakhpur. There are several hundred rooms for visiting pilgrims. Foreigners are not accommodated in the Ashram.

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.

Other important ashrams include: Vanprastha Ashram, Ved Niketan, Dayanand Vedanta Ashram, Vanmali Gita Yogashram, Shankaracharya Nagar Transcendental Meditation Centre, Vithal Ashram and Yoga Study Centre.

Trekking at Rishikesh ------ Rishikesh can be made the base for treks into the Garhwal Himalayas offering a very wide range of trekking. One can do religious treks, scenic treks, botanical treks, treks to experience the land and its people – with the option of doing a low altitude trek or a high-altitude trek.Two popular treks out of Rishikesh are to Neelkanth from Swarg Ashram, 10 km, with option of using motor transport also, and Kunjapuri Temple, from Tapovan, again a distance of 10 km. Both temples are on hilltop and provide beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Garhwal has over 100 peaks more than of 6000 metre high.