OT Travel Itinerary: Your 2-Day Offbeat Guide To Rishikesh

From the lesser known temples to obscure art villages, find your perfect 2-day itinerary to a Rishikesh that’s never been seen before
Beautiful Ram Jhula Bridge and Ganga River taken in Rishikesh, India
Beautiful Ram Jhula Bridge and Ganga River taken in Rishikesh, IndiaShutterstock

Nestled in the verdant Himalayas along the River Ganga, Rishikesh is a place that has gained much popularity over the years for spiritual tourism, pilgrimage sites, yoga, tranquillity, and much more. It attracts sages and pilgrims for its sacred sites like the Triveni Ghat and the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. In addition to these, the place boasts major attractions like Laxman Jhula, the serene Beatles Ashram, and adventure sports like river rafting and trekking. However, Rishikesh still hides places and sites in its pious fold, which are still unnoticed by the average traveller. Keeping that in mind, we have curated a 2-day itinerary allowing you to absorb most of the unexplored Rishikesh. Take a look at the agenda and plan with your friends to visit a Rishikesh that's never been seen before.

Day 1: Spiritual and Natural Wonders


A view of the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
A view of the Neelkanth Mahadev TempleShutterstock

Start your unconventional adventure in Rishikesh by visiting the lesser-known Neelkanth Mahadev Temple early in the morning. Located in the dense forest of the Nar-Narayan mountain range, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and provides a peaceful atmosphere away from the usual tourist crowds. The journey to the temple, whether by trekking or driving through the forest, is a captivating experience. Arrive by dawn to witness the serene morning rituals and consider participating in the morning aarti. Following this spiritual start, make your way to the Phool Chatti Ashram, situated a few kilometres upstream along the Ganges River. Unlike the more commercialised ones, this ashram offers an authentic life experience. Engage in a guided meditation session and, if time allows, join a traditional yoga class.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple's address: 38JR+C6G, Kotdwar - Pauri Rd, Kotdwar, Uttarakhand 246149

Timings: 5 am to 6 pm

Phool Chatti Ashram's address: 498G+9GG Neellkanth temple road 5 km from Laxman Jhula Near Phool Chatti Bathing Ghat, Paliyal Gaon, Uttarakhand 249304

Timings: 9 am to 9 pm


The Patna Waterfall of Rishikesh
The Patna Waterfall of RishikeshShutterstock

Later in the day, head out to Bistro Nirvana near Laxman Jhula for lunch. This charming eatery is renowned for its healthy and delicious vegetarian cuisine and lovely view of the river. Be sure to try their popular hummus platter and refreshing smoothies. After enjoying your meal, head to Patna Waterfall, a hidden gem not far from the city. A brief trek through the forest will take you to this peaceful waterfall. The trek itself is a delight, offering lush greenery and occasional wildlife sightings. Take some time to appreciate the natural beauty here, and remember to bring your camera for some breathtaking photos.

Bistro Nirvana's address: Swami Omkarananda Saraswati Rd, Near Green Valley Cottage, Tapovan, Rishikesh, Jonk, Uttarakhand 249192

Timings: 8:30 am to 10:30 pm


The iconic Beatles Ashram
The iconic Beatles AshramShutterstock

As the day turns to evening, make sure to visit the iconic yet often overlooked Beatles Ashram (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram). Take your time to explore the graffiti-splattered walls and the meditation cells where the Beatles once stayed. The ashram offers a unique blend of spirituality, art, and history. Don't miss climbing up to one of the higher structures to catch a mesmerising sunset over the Ganges. For dinner, pop in at Chotiwala Restaurant in the Swarg Ashram area. It's a local favourite known for its traditional Indian thalis. You'll enjoy a wholesome meal that includes an array of Indian dishes served in a traditional manner.

Beatles Ashram's address: 4876+4V3, Swarg Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand 249304

Timings: 10 am to 4 pm

Chotiwala Restaurant's address: Swarg Ashram Swargashram, Rishikesh 249304 India

Timings: 7 am to 10 pm

Day 2: Local Culture and Adventure


A scenic view of Marine Drive, Rishikesh
A scenic view of Marine Drive, RishikeshShutterstock

On your second day, start with a guided tour of Ghugtyani Talli Village. Engage with the locals, learn about their way of life, and visit the organic farms. Some tours also offer the opportunity to participate in farming activities, giving you a taste of rural life. After the village experience, it’s time for some adventure. Head to the less crowded Marine Drive Beach for some thrilling kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on the Ganges. This spot is ideal for water sports and offers a more peaceful experience compared to the more popular spots.


Don't forget to check out The Arches Cafe & Bakery near Laxman Jhula for lunch. Experience the perfect blend of great ambience, delectable dishes and good vibes — it's a feast for the senses you won't want to miss. After lunch, take a trip to Vashishta Cave, located just outside Rishikesh, for a serene atmosphere and a great place for meditation. If the timing works out, make sure to visit the Rishikesh Art & Craft Festival, which showcases local handicrafts, paintings, and traditional art forms. You can engage with artisans and consider purchasing some unique souvenirs.

The Arches Cafe & Bakery's address: Lakshman Jhula, chowk, Tapovan, Rishikesh, Jonk, Uttarakhand 249192

Timings: 8 am to 10:30 pm


Aarti at Triveni Ghat
Aarti at Triveni GhatShutterstock

In the evening, head to Triveni Ghat for the Ganga Aarti. Unlike the more famous Parmarth Niketan Aarti, the one at Triveni Ghat is less crowded and offers a more intimate experience. Here, you can witness the priests performing the aarti with rhythmic chanting and the floating of diyas on the river, creating a mesmerising spectacle. Afterwards, enjoy a peaceful dinner at Little Buddha Café, located near the river. The café offers a serene dining experience with a variety of vegetarian dishes. Their rooftop seating area is perfect for a quiet, reflective end to your adventurous day.

Little Buddha Café's address: Laxman Jhula Rd, near Little Buddha Cafe, Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh, Jonk, Uttarakhand 249302

Timings: 8 am to 11 pm

Getting There

Air: Fly to Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport which is the nearest to Rishikesh. There are daily flights from Delhi and other cities by airlines such as Air India, Spice Jet, and IndiGo.

Rail: To reach Rishikesh by train, go to Haridwar, which is 25 km away and well-connected to major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Lucknow.

Road: Buses connect Rishikesh to Delhi and other pilgrimage sites, like Haridwar. Morning and late evening buses from the Kashmiri Gate ISBT depart daily to Rishikesh.

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