On A Spiritual Trail In Rishikesh

Spirituality is as evident here as the flow of the mighty Ganga. Rishikesh has historically been a haven for ascetics and serves as the gateway to the revered Garhwal mountains
The town with the Ganges river flowing through it
The town with the Ganges river flowing through itDan Baciu/Shutterstock

Nestled in the Himalayas, Rishikesh is globally renowned for its multi-faceted identity. It is known as a sacred temple town and has established itself as an international center for yoga. The most defining feature of Rishikesh is the majestic Ganga River. In the backdrop of bustling lanes, and the presence of ascetics, backpackers, and spiritual tourists, the river bestows a deep sense of tranquility to the town. Spirituality is as evident here as the flow of the mighty Ganga. Rishikesh has historically been a haven for ascetics and serves as the gateway to the revered Garhwal mountains. The region is home to significant sites such as the source of the Ganga, the shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath, and many other sacred destinations. Here is a guide to a spiritual trail in Rishikesh.

Triveni Ghat

The Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh is the most sacred bathing spot and a top tourist attraction. It's named Triveni because it's where the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers converge. Taking a holy dip here is believed to cleanse one's sins and purify the soul.

The maha-aarti, held every morning and night, is a highlight of a visit to Triveni Ghat. The sound of bells and hymns, along with the glow of the many lamps floating in the waters, creates a mesmerising sight. The Rishikesh Ganga Aarti is popular among locals and tourists, as it's believed to have special significance for attendees. People can also offer milk, food for fish, and oil lamps in the water. Even those without a religious inclination can appreciate the tranquillity and serenity of the ghat.


Morning aarti: 5:45 am to 6:30 pm

Evening aarti: 6 pm to 7 pm

Lakshman Jhula

Lakshman Jhula, the famous 450-foot-long suspension bridge, was built in 1939. It is said that Lord Rama's brother, Lakshmana, crossed the Ganga on a jute rope from here. The Lakshman and Raghunath temples are located in this area, which is better known for its busy bazaars and cafes. The 13-storey Trimbakeshwar Mandir near the Lakshman Jhula has many shrines, chambers that house religious and Vedic texts, and jewelry and gem shops. Nearby is the Swarg Niwas Mandir, a 12-storey temple with various idols of Hindu gods and goddesses on all its floors.

Ram Jhula

An European tourist at Ram Jhula Bridge
An European tourist at Ram Jhula Bridge Paulo Henrique Pigozzi/Shutterstock

Just 2 km downstream from Lakshman Jhula, at Muni-ki-Reti, is another suspension bridge built after Lakshman Jhula's construction. This is Ram Jhula (or Shivanand Jhula), surrounded by a cluster of ashrams on both sides. It connects Sivananda Ashram on the east bank to Swargashram on the west. The latter is a bustling spiritual hub with many ashrams, temples, bazaars, and ghats.

Bharat Mandir

Located in the bustling heart of Rishikesh, this ancient temple holds a special place in the town's history. It is not dedicated to Rama's youngest brother, Bharat, but instead to Vishnu, who is referred to as Bharat in Kalyug. As you wander through the temple, you will discover a fascinating collection of excavated artifacts, each with its own story, dating back from the 2nd to 15th centuries CE. Check out their website for more info.

Address: Shri Bharat Mandir, Jhanda Chowk, Main Bazar, Rishikesh - 249201

Ganga Aarti

The Ganga aarti
The Ganga aarti Vivek BR/Shutterstock

In Rishikesh, it has been a centuries-old tradition to worship the river in the morning and evening in small private ceremonies. But the Parmarth Niketan Ashram has converted the evening aarti ritual to a spectacular show. Experience the mesmerising evening aarti ritual at the ashram. Witness the serene sight of diyas floating on the Ganga in the dark. While some consider it touristy, it's a tradition that's truly awe-inspiring.

Aarti Timings

Summer: 6.00–7.00pm

Winter: 5.30–6.30pm

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Ashram

At the The Beatles Ashram, Rishikesh
At the The Beatles Ashram, RishikeshMDSABBIR/Shutterstock

World-renowned Rock Band The Beatles has a huge fanbase in India. One of the places that reconnect Indians with their favourite band is the Beatles Ashram (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Ashram) in Uttarakhand's Rishikesh, where the group stayed in 1968 as part of their spiritual retreat. This iconic place is now all set for a makeover to offer travellers worldwide an enhanced experience of this heritage-rich place. Also known as Chaurasi Kutiya (84 huts), the Beatles Ashram will be renovated by the Uttarakhand Tourism Department in collaboration with the Department of Forests. The project aims to transform it into a modern heritage destination encompassing wellness, hospitality, arts, and culture.

Address: 4876+4V3, Swarg Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand 249304

Jhilmil Cave

Located just 25 kilometres outside Rishikesh, Jhilmil Cave, also called Jhilmil Gufa, is a living cave formed thousands of years ago in the Manikoot Parvat region. Legend has it that the cave gets its name from a sage called Jhilmila Sadhu, who is believed to have meditated and attained Samadhi in this cave. The cave temple is named after a sage named Jhilmila Sadhu, who meditated in the cave and is believed to have attained Samadhi. Read more about it here.

Getting There

The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun (18 km/45 mins). The nearest railheads are Rishikesh Station and Haridwar Junction. Rishikesh is connected to Delhi by NH58 via Modinagar, Meerut, Khatauli, Muzaffarnagar, Manglaur, Roorkee, and Haridwar.

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