Rishikesh is not all spirituality or yoga. It’s also about thrilling adventures and a place to unwind.
Nestled in the scenic mountainous region of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh, also called the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, is a major pilgrimage hub in India, where people soak in the mystic hues of the Ganges River, bordered by forested hills and temples, to seek serenity and seem to find it.
The popular 60’s English rock band, The Beatles, came all the way to India to spend time in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to practice the tried and true transcendental meditation here, in search of inner peace. The stint that was developed and released post this period turned out to be one of the most creative ones in their career.
So is the power of this ancient town.
What’s interesting to note is that Rishikesh, although a meat and alcohol-free city, is famous for its groovy, colourful cafes that offer both local and international cuisines.
Things To Do In Rishikesh
Rishikesh may be the Yoga Capital of the World, but it is also the ‘Adventure Capital of India’. It is well known for its water sports and we’ll take you through some of the most adventurous things you can do here that will awaken the explorer in you!
A. River Rafting
Popularly referred to as the ‘Land of River Rafting’ (Yes, this place seems to have multiple names!), Rishikesh is the best destination for this adrenaline-pumping adventure of propelling through the gurgling waters of the Ganges, as you encounter splashing waves, with the view of the Himalayan foothills.
However, there are different grades of rapids, based on the difficulty of manoeuvrability. We recommend you pick accordingly ie; people who are not really good at swimming, must not try rafting with rapids of grade III or more. You can also choose the length of the stretch. For example, rafting from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh is about 34km, taking almost 8 hours, with grade IV difficulty. However, Brahmapuri to Rishikesh is one of the easier rafting stretches, just about 9km.
Approximate Cost – Ranges from INR 600 to 2,500 per person depending on the stretch
B. Cliff Jumping
Another electrifying adventure; jumping from a 20feet high cliff, right into the cold waters of the River Ganga!
Of course, we’d suggest you try this based on your physical stamina and mental ability, but here are some other tips that could help:
i) Cliff jumping can be done even from cliffs higher than 30feet, but this also means the speed increases. So, if you’re a novice, start from the most basic level.
ii) This adventure is not meant for children below 12 years and for those with aquaphobia and acrophobia.
iii) Ensure you’re geared up the right way; life jackets and helmets are essential.
The best way to soak in the panoramic view of the Himalayas.
Powered Paragliding, as it is commonly called, takes you as high as 1500 ft through the air! There will be highly-trained flying experts to guide you throughout, with a professional accompanying you too. There are different locations that you can undertake this in; Kitty Hawk, Explorer, and Valley Expedition – Each one comes with its own thrill.
PS: You’ll even get your pictures professional clicked during your flying experience!
Approximate Cost – INR 4,4500 per person
D. Air Safari
Drift peacefully across Rishikesh's historic landscapes, one of the most exhilarating journeys you can go on! Fly over the glistening Ganga River as you catch a look of the lush green forests and Himalayan range.
You will be flying in a mini, light aircraft with the help of a powered parachute, by an experienced pilot, at an average speed of 40-60 km per hour and a height of about 1,000 feet.
Approximate Cost – INR 4,4400 per person
E. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Another breath-taking adventure! This hot air balloon ride is full of excitement, you’re flying in the air, at about 500 feet, at a relatively low speed 15-20 km/hr, with the tethered balloon attached to the ground. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Approximate Cost – INR 4,4400 per person
Location: Mazari Grant, Rishikesh
Flying Duration: 15 minutes
F. Giant Swing
Also known as “The Tandem Swing”, it offers you a real spine-chilling, pulse-racing experience. Tackle your fears as you smoothly swing over the lush valleys of Rishikesh and the Ganga River flowing beneath you.
Take your leap of faith from a height of about 80m, India's highest jumping site of Mohan Chatti - you can either do this solo or as a duo. Either way, you’ll be geared up in secure harnesses and under the guidance of experts from New Zealand.
Approximate Cost - INR 3,550 per person
Trekking in Rishikesh
Lace up those hiking boots and prepare for a backpacking journey through stunning green meadows, blending in the tranquillity of the Himalayas.
Here are some short, one-day treks you just can’t miss when you’re there!
1. Kunjapuri –
Witness the beautiful sunrise from Kunjapuri, part of the Shivalik Ranges. The spirituality in the air you breathe is conducive to the Devi temple, on the hill. All of this and the Neer Gaddu waterfall allure people to visit again. Duration - This is an early morning trek that starts around 5:00 AM from Tapovan, Rishikesh and can take up to 8 hours.
2. Patna Waterfall –
A popular getaway, this 1.5km trek is generally undertaken by those who want a break from their monotonous routine. Just about 13km from Rishikesh, it rewards you with ravishing limestone caves and the mesmerizing waterfall next to it.
3. Neelkanth Mahadev -
The Nilkantha Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is perched on a hill, 1330 meters above the ground. The journey itself is wonderful, but the view from up there is unmissable. This is a short, 14km trek, through dense forests with rich flora.
Essentials To Carry
Some of these trails may be a bit tricky, with big rocks and obstacles on the way.
i. Make sure to wear appropriate
, preferably dedicated
that provide good traction and support.
ii. The weather is quite unpredictable out there dress in fast-changing and moisture-wicking layers and carry quick-drying, lightweight jackets for the same.
iii. If you’re going for a multiple day trek, it goes without saying that you would need a
camping tent and sleeping bag
too. And all of this, stashed into your high capacity
iv. Carry essential
according to the weather, like caps, gloves, socks.
As for the rest of the activities in Rishikesh, carrying the following will save you from things uncalled for:
i. Sunblock with SPF 30
ii. Extra pair of shoes and socks
iii. Waterproof camera
iv. Zip lock bags
v. Water bottle
The Wildcraft Checklist
Here is a list of travel gear from Wildcraft that you could add to your checklist, so whether you’re going camping, trekking or just exploring, this can keep you good company.
i. Trekking rucksack of at least 30L, like the Rock and Ice or Trailblazer
ii. A good
with sturdy protection and flexibility for organization, like the Capella
iii. Ultra-lite sleeping bag and tent
iv. Accessories like the Pac and Go shoe cover and a cap
v. A protective pair of
, like the Volga or the Amphibia, if you’re going on an extensive trek
vi. Depending on the weather, ensure that you carry lightweight yet warm
, like a Down Jacket or Husky Jacket and sweatshirts for the base layer.
You’re all set to explore now!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is special about Rishikesh?
The special thing about Rishikesh is that it is popularly known as the Pilgrimage Town of India, and is its Yoga Capital, while also being the best adventure destination in the country.
What should we carry to Rishikesh?
Apart from your travel documents, toiletries, and medical kit, it is advisable to carry a warm, water-repellent jacket, and quick-drying clothing for when you plan to go river rafting. Luckily, you don’t need any special shoes, they should just be sturdy, and make sure to carry sunscreen and a cap since it can get super hot during the day.
Is it cold in Rishikesh in March?
Rishikesh has mostly continental climate, with March having an average temperature of 35°C and pleasant weather at the night.
What is the best time to visit Rishikesh?
The best time to visit Rishikesh is from February to mid-May.