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Rishikesh view across Lakshman Jhula
Rishikesh view across Lakshman Jhula
Nickname(s): Yoganagari, योगनगरी
Rishikesh is located in Uttarakhand
Location in Uttarakhand, India
Coordinates: 30°06′11″N 78°17′38″E / 30.103°N 78.294°E / 30.103; 78.294Coordinates: 30°06′11″N 78°17′38″E / 30.103°N 78.294°E / 30.103; 78.294
Country  India
State Uttarakhand
District Dehradun
Named for Hrishikesha (an avatar of Vishnu)
 • Type Municipality
 • Body Rishikesh Municipal Board
 • Chairman Deep Sharma (INC)
 • Total 11.5 km2 (4.4 sq mi)
Elevation 372 m (1,220 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 102,138
 • Rank 7th
 • Density 8,851/km2 (22,920/sq mi)
 • Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 249201
Telephone code 0135
Vehicle registration UK 07
Literacy 86.86%
Sex ratio 875 /
Website rishikesh.gov.in

Rishikesh (Hindi: ऋषिकेश; Sanskrit: हृषीकेश) is a city, municipal board and a tehsil in Dehradun district of the Indian state, Uttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas.[1] Rishikesh is surrounded by three other districts namely Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal and Haridwar. It is located approximately 25 km north of the city Haridwar and 43 km south-east of the state capital Dehradun. According to Census of India, 2011 Rishikesh had a population of 102,138 making it the 7th largest city also being largest municipal board in the state of Uttarakhand.


IAST: "Hṛṣīkeśa" (Sanskrit: हृषीकेश) is a name of Vishnu that means 'lord of the senses'.[2][3] The root words Hrishika and Isha join together to make Hrishikesha. Hrishika means Senses and Isha means Master or Lord. Hence the word means Lord of Senses or Lord Vishnu. The place gets its name after Lord Vishnu who appeared to 'Raibhya Rishi',[4] as a result of his tapasya (austerities), as Lord Hrishikesha.[5] In Skanda Purana, this area is known as 'Kubjamraka' (कुब्जाम्रक) as Lord Vishnu appeared, under a mango tree.[3] Another legend says that fierce fire broke out here. Lord Shiva was angry with Lord Agni and cursed him. Then Lord Agni prayed here for the expiation of his sins. Hence it is also known as 'Agni Tirtha' (अग्नि तीर्थ) - The holy place to penance of Lord Agni or Fire God.[6]

The name Rishikesh is loosely applied to an association of five distinct sections encompassing not only the town but also hamlets and settlements on both sides of the river Ganges. These include Rishikesh itself, the commercial and communication hub; the sprawling suburb Muni Ki Reti or the "sands of the sages"; Sivananda Nagar the home of Sivananda Ashram and the Divine Life Society founded by Swami Sivananda, north of Rishikesh; the temple sections of Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula, a little further north; and the assorted Ashrams around Swargashram on the eastern bank. The Ganga Arti performed at dusk at the Triveni Ghat is popular with visitors. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, situated 28 km from Rishikesh, amidst forest is also a popular local pilgrimage, along with 'Vashishtha Guha', (Cave of Sage Vashishtha), 21 km up from the town by the Ganges.


Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary 'Kedarkhand' (the present day Garhwal).[7] Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' (लक्ष्मण झूला) bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge.[8] The 'Kedar Khand' of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889, and after it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced by the present stronger bridge. Another similar suspension bridge Ram Jhula was built in 1986 at nearby Shivananda Nagar.

The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. Shatrughna Mandir, Bharat Mandir, Lakshman Mandir are the ancient temples established by Adi Shankaracharya. Shatrughna Temple is located near Ram Jhula and Lakshman Mandir is near to Lakshman Jhula.

As with Haridwar about an hour south, Rishikesh is considered by Hindus to be a holy city and is vegetarian by law.

View of rishikesh from beach


Rishikesh is located at 30°06′12″N 78°17′41″E / 30.103368°N 78.294754°E / 30.103368; 78.294754. It has an average elevation of 372 metres (1,745 feet).[9]

The Tehri Dam is just 80 km uphill on the way to Gangotri. Rishikesh is the starting point for travelling to the four Chota Char Dham pilgrimage places — Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Rishikesh is also famous for ayurvedic treatments. Many ayurveda centre are run where ayurvedic classes are given by ayurvedic doctors.

According to Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, its climate is humid subtropical (Cwa).

Despite the pollution of the Ganges, the water in Rishikesh is relatively unaffected by the pollution as the major polluting points are down the course of the river in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh.[10]

Climate data for Rishikesh
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20
Average low °C (°F) 7
Precipitation mm (inches) 51
Avg. rainy days 3 2 3 1 2 7 15 16 8 2 0 1 60
Mean daily sunshine hours 6 7 8 9 9 7 6 6 7 8 8 7 7.3
Source: Weather2Travel[11]


As per provisional data of 2011 census Rishikesh had a population of 102,138, out of which males were 54,466 and females were 47,672. The literacy rate was 86.86 per cent compared to national average of 74.04%.[12]

Yoga Center[edit]

Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed "The World Capital of Yoga",[13] has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. Rafting season starts from the month of March and ends in September.

Rishikesh is also home to the 133 year old Kailash Ashram Brahmavidyapitham, an institution dedicated to preserve and promote the traditional Vedantic Studies. Prominent personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Shivananda have studied in this institution.

In February 1968, The Beatles visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Rishikesh.[14] John Lennon recorded a song titled, "The Happy Rishikesh Song".[15][16] The Beatles composed numerous songs during their time at the Maharishi's ashram, some of which appear on the White Album.[17] Several other artists, including Mike Love, The Beach Boys, Donovan and Gyp Mills visited the site to contemplate and meditate.[18] Former royal palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal at near by Narendranagar, now houses the Ananda–In the Himalayas destination spa and yoga retreat, estb. 2000.[19]

Adventure sports[edit]

Rishikesh is becoming a popular spot for white water rafting enthusiasts, both from India and abroad, as the Ganges offers medium to rough rapids rated class 3 and class 4.[20] It is also a center for hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, rappelling and kayaking. In previous years bungee jumping was also introduced in Rishikesh.[21] One can also enjoy mountain biking at Mohanchatti [22] which is near the popular place called Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rishikesh: Indian Railways". 
  2. ^ Monier-Williams: "lord of the senses".
  3. ^ a b Rishikesh History
  4. ^ Glossary of terms in Hinduism#R
  5. ^ Rishikesh Official website Dehradun district.
  6. ^ Rishikesh History
  7. ^ District Profile Official website of Uttarakhand Govt.
  8. ^ "Places of Tourist Interest in Rishikesh". 
  9. ^ "Rishikesh Coordinates". 
  10. ^ "Invigorating Rishikesh". 
  11. ^ "Rishikesh Climate and Weather Averages, India". Weather2Travel. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  12. ^ "Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above". Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  13. ^ "Leh and Rishikesh in Tripadvisor’s Asia ‘top 10 destinations on the rise for 2015′ list". 
  14. ^ Beatles in Rishikesh at Paul Saltzman web site
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ The Happy Rishikesh Song
  17. ^ Richard A Bustraan. The Jesus People Movement: A Story of Spiritual Revolution Among the Hippies. Wipf and Stock. p. 28. 
  18. ^ SPOTLIGHT: Nancy Veitch Cooke de Herrera, ’43 TM Believer ’78 Stanford Magazine, May/June 2010
  19. ^ Himalayan Spa for Sybarites By CELIA W. DUGGER. New york Times. July 30, 2000.
  20. ^ Ratnam, Dhamini (August 3, 2009). "Up your ante". Hindustan Times. 
  21. ^ Bungee Jumping: Rishikesh beckons
  22. ^ Top 10 Adventure Activities in Rishikesh