Rishikesh has long been regarded as a spiritual hotspot. The holy Ganges’ strong flow has always drawn those seeking guidance and inspiration from devout Hindus, yoga and meditation gurus, and even the Beatles! Rishikesh is sometimes referred to as the “Land of God.”, more specifically “Land of Shiva” and when Shiva comes, you know precisely what follows!
PS: I know the answers to this can be diverse and so I will let it to the imagination of the respective age groups!
Now, I am not really someone who engages in spiritual tourism in general but Rishikesh has this vibe around it that makes you start believing in the higher power. I, personally, had a fantastic time there, meeting some incredible people and taking advantage of the sunshine, some of the best cafes in Rishikesh, and yoga classes. If you’re planning a trip to Rishikesh, here’s a detailed guide to help you make the most of your stay, whether you’re looking for yoga, ashrams, spirituality, or hotels, adventure activities or cafes in Rishikesh, as it’s undoubtedly one of India’s most beautiful cities!
Now, given its high tourism economy, you will actually have access to some of the best cafes in Rishikesh but then, your trip is more than just food. So, while there is no dearth of cafes in Rishikesh, make sure you don’t forget to explore the natural beauty that this place has to offer. Starting from exploring the serpentine narrow streets, to the three jhulas that are an architectural marvel, from the high rise temples to sitting on the banks of the Ganges, Rishikesh is wholesome at a different level altogether!
So, without further ado, let’s get started on this list of the best things to do in Rishikesh for your adventure itineraries. We will cover the must-visit places to see in Rishikesh and a lot of cafes too!
1. Rent a two-wheeler and ride around town.
Aside from Bollywood and Chai, nothing defines India as a two-wheeler ride would. Rishikesh is the place to go if you’ve always wanted to ride a motorcycle through the hills beneath the Himalayas. Of course, Mussorie, Nainital, Shimla, Ooty and other hill stations are as good but Rishikesh is the perfect combination of a hilly beauty and driving comfort of the planes. At the end of the day, it’s a no-brainer trade-off for the experience. Once you have your two wheels, get out there and discover, go for a ride along the smooth roads or visit the beautiful cafes in Rishikesh. The roads in and around town are well-suited to bicycles, and renting motorcycles/scooty is pretty popular. It is the most cost-effective way to see nearby attractions. Visiting Rishikesh on a motorcycle is an unforgettable experience in this sacred city that will leave you speechless during your stay. There are just so many lesser-known tourist attractions that you would not want to miss.
2. Stay at Aloha by the Ganges for the best views.
Not very far from Laxman jhula, this place defines absolute bliss when it comes to staying in Rishikesh. I was talking to one of the locals and they told me that a lot of people from the nearby towns/cities of Haridwar, Dehradun, Paonta Sahib, Roorkee, and others keep coming to Aloha for a good weekend. As a matter of fact, Aloha is one of the most popular pre-wedding photoshoot destinations too for the region!
Well, understandably so for this sprawling property appears to have been built as a residential project, and most of the facilities here resemble that. However, over time, the hotel got converted into vacation homes and apartments. The rooms are suites with a magnificent view of the mountains. The back part of the hotel, which overlooks the Ganges and the mountains in the background, is the main attraction. There will be no traffic, horns, smoke, overtaking, toll booths, garbage, or pollution. These are my Uttarakhand memories. And it has largely preserved the sanctity. You will enjoy a closer view of the Ganges by walking down the river banks following a path outside the hotel in the evenings. In the evenings, the picturesque view of the Ramjhula can be seen on the other side of the river.
One thing that I would want to add here is that you may or may not stay here. However, given the serenity of this place, it must be on your list of must-visit places to visit in the Rishikesh section of your “things to do in Rishikesh” list.
3. Go for a trek to Neeragarh waterfall and have Maggi sitting by the waterfall.
Another one on your list of must-visit places to visit in Rishikesh list should be the Neeragarh waterfall. NeerGarh is a 5 km drive from the famous Lakshman Jhula waterfall on the Badrinath Highway in Uttarakhand. If you want to burn some carbs, the trek to the top of the two-tier waterfall is the perfect way to do it. It has two bathing pools, and as you reach the first tier, small tea shops are serving Maggi and tea. When you climb to the top, you’ll come across a lovely bridge underneath, which is a larger pond where you can dive and take a natural shower after relaxing and listening to the melodic sounds of the water splashing against the rocks. The bridge also offers a scenic view from which you can take stunning photographs of yourself and your loved ones. The best part of the trek is having hot Maggi with eggs sitting by the waterfall.
4. Exploring the Cafes in Rishikesh
The cafes that I am going to mention next are some of the best tourist attractions in Rishikesh. Hence, they should definitely be on your list of popular places to visit in Rishikesh. Rishikesh, you see is a cafe lover’s dream! Rishikesh pulsates with a dazzling mix of people, tradition, and landscape and is a magnet for spiritual seekers with its assortment of ashrams and various yoga and meditation classes. Most cafes in Rishikesh, of which there are many, will declare themselves the epicentre of continental, Indian, Chinese, and an oddly named “Israeli” cuisine. These small food nooks’ locations are magnificent – most of them overlook the Ganga, with wooden interiors and casual floor seating. With the more happening places, live, relaxing evening music is a feature. And the eateries’ most notable feature is their use of new, organic ingredients. Here are the best cafes in Rishikesh
- Tat cafe – best view
- Ganga view cafe
- Buddha Cafe
- 60’s cafe
- Head to Pappus for great lassi.
5. Visit Beatles Ashram
Probably the biggest and most famous of the tourist attractions on the list of places to visit in Rishikesh is the Beatles Ashram. Anyone who has visited Rishikesh can easily see why the Beatles chose the location to record their “White Album” in the 1960s. An enchanting experience that can only be had once you’ve been immersed in that aura. The Beatles Ashram is located within the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. Still, this section of the reserve is not open to animals, making it safe for humans to roam. From Beatles Ashram, you can gaze out over the Ganga River and the ghats that line its banks. All I can tell is that the vibe in this place makes you work for love. Why cloud yourself in negativity when there is so much love and happiness on this planet? Go to the Beatles Ashram if you’re interested in walking down the path of a legendary band in India and witnessing a vibe that can’t be found in any other place on the planet.
6. Watch Ganga aarti at the most famous Ashram.
Heading to the Parmarth Ashram to watch the famous Ganga Aarti is one of the best things to do in Rishikesh for sunset. This one makes for one of the best tourist places in Rishikesh This is a holy Hindu fire-offering ritual that takes place on the banks of the Ganges River. It can also be found in sacred places like Varanasi and Haridwar. It captures the Rishikesh spirit while also inviting tourists to a beautiful and essential Hindu ceremony.
7. Walk on Lakshman Jhula.
The Lakshman Jhula is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions for all those who come to this part of the world, with its magnificent temples and exciting market. Needless to say, it has to be on the list of the best places to visit in Rishikesh. Walking around Lakshman Jhula enjoying the fresh air with so much stuff being sold nearby will not make you want to leave this place. Lakshman Jhula is a suspension bridge that spans the River Ganga in Rishikesh and is built in 1939. According to Hindu legend, this bridge was constructed in the same spot where Lakshmana once crossed the Ganga on a jute chain. As a result, it is an important religious site in the region. It links the Pauri and Tehri districts. You’ll undoubtedly add this to your list of things to do in Rishikesh. You might even find yourself here by accident when crossing from Tapovan to Jonk, whether on a cafe crawl near Lakshman Jhula or simply wandering around the holy city.
8. Sit by the banks of River Ganga and feel the peace in the air all around.
Even for non-religious people, a walk down to the Ganges River evokes intense and spiritual feelings. It’s always fun to sink into the Rishikesh “chill” for sunset after a long day of adrenaline-fueled adventure. Finish the day with an epic Uttarakhand sunset on the riverbanks of Ganga, hostel rooftops, or any of the hundreds of cafe near Laxman Jhula. Believe me, nothing beats the vibe of these awesome cafes a.k.a. the amazing tourist places in Rishikesh.
9. Stay at a Yoga Retreat
Rishikesh is known by more than two names. Another, but more commonly used, is the Yoga Capital of the World; in Rishikesh, there are hundreds of well-known and well-respected Ashrams that are definitely some of the best places to see in Rishikesh. It’s challenging to find a hotel or cafe that doesn’t offer yoga classes. There are also hundreds of reputable schools in Rishikesh if you’ve ever wanted to become a Yogi or Yoga teacher. Rishikesh is also one of the cheapest places to do the course due to the competition! I had a fantastic experience at Veda5. From the moment I was greeted at Veda5, I was enthralled by the personalised service. The friendliness and hospitality were exceptional. And the food was the best I had in Rishikesh. Indeed it was one of the best not so touristy yet the best tourist places in Rishikesh.
10. Go for an Ayurvedic massage.
Rishikesh is known for Ayurveda, so there are ayurvedic healing centres and massage therapists in every neighbourhood. The ayurvedic massage & the stay at Veda5 was terrific. I was so de-stressed and happy when it was time to leave that I felt I might take on the world.
11. Go river rafting and indulge in a lot of adventure sports.
Whitewater rafting is probably Rishikesh’s most popular adventure sport and not just that, the beautiful glory of the river Ganges makes these rafting spots one of the best places to see in Rishikesh too. Since Rishikesh has a vibrant rafting scene, many companies and tours offer whitewater rafting trips. You’ll also be able to select from a range of routes based on your past experience. The Ganges River’s steep banks offer some excellent cliff jumping opportunities. Often, you’ll see groups of people throwing themselves into pools of calm Ganga water from massive boulders and sharp embankments. There are several good spots, varying in size from tiny 3-meter drops to spectacular 15-meter+ jumps. If you’re new to the city, I suggest hiring a guide to show you around.
What is the best time to visit Rishikesh?
Rishikesh is best visited between February and mid-May, though the picturesque destination can be visited at any time of year. Each distinct time leaves an indelible mark, leaving something profound in its wake.
Is it safe to go to Rishikesh now?
Rishikesh is a perfectly safe place to visit. Please read the instructions that apply to your reservation. The government of Uttarakhand has opened its borders with certain mandatory guidelines to follow; please see https://www.euttaranchal.com/tourism/uttarakhand-travel-guidelines.php for more details.
Is there an ATM facility available in Rishikesh?
Rishikesh is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site that attracts visitors and pilgrims throughout the year. As a result, there are multiple ATMs located across Rishikesh to meet the financial needs of visitors and residents.
Where can you indulge in River Rafting in Rishikesh?
The rafting trips are available via a number of local travel agencies. In most cases, the package includes an overnight camp along the river’s edge, followed by a spectacular and mild morning hike through the hills. There are also rafting courses available if you have the time.
Are there any good restaurants or cafes in Rishikesh?
Of course yes, Rishikesh draws millions of visitors from all over the world every year. Tourists can choose from a variety of mouthwatering restaurants and cafes depending on their preferred cuisine.