History of Rishikesh
Often referred as the ‘Abode of Gods’, Rishikesh is among the most ancient pilgrimage centers of India. The history of this town is rich with numerous legends and mythical stories. The name of the town itself is after one of the names of Hindu God, Lord Vishnu. According to legends, the great Hindu saint Raibhya Rishi performed prolonged penance on the banks of Holy River Ganges at this place. As a reward to saint’s strong penance, Lord Vishnu appeared to him in his incarnation of Lord Hrishikesh. Thus the place got its name.
Since ancient times, Rishikesh has been an important pilgrimage spot for the saints and Hindu devotees. However, it is during the initial medieval period in India that the place started to gain more popularity. During 8th century Adi Shankaracharya, one of most renowned and revered sages from India, built several temples and ashrams in the region. Unfortunately, most of the temples and ashrams were destroyed because of several earthquakes and floods that have affected the region over the centuries; however, some temples still stand tall and are reminiscent of the rich cultural heritage of the place.
One cannot simply talk about the history of Rishikesh, without mentioning the Lakshman Jhula. In fact, a very interesting legend is associated with Lakshman Jhula. According to the legend, Lakshman - brother of Hindu God Lord Rama - crossed the river Ganges on a bridge he built with jute ropes. At the same site, today stands the present Lakshman Jhula. Till 1924, Lakshman Jhula was still made of jute ropes, but during a great flood that occurred in October of the same year, the bridge was destroyed. During 1930s the bridge was rebuilt with iron and steel and was opened for public in 1939.
According to another legend, another brother of Lord Rama, Lord Bharat performed penance where the Bharat Temple stands today in Rishikesh. The Bharat Temple is among the remaining temples built by Adi Shankaracharya during 8th century.
Rishikesh has a rich religious history that makes it an important place among Indians, but the event that really put Rishikesh on world’s map was the visit by famous English rock band, The Beatles in 1968. The band arrived in India in the search of answers to life’s larger questions. During their stay of several weeks, at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, they learnt transcendental meditation to understand the deeper meaning behind human existence. It is in Rishikesh, that they wrote most of the songs of their most famous album, The White Album. Since their visit, millions of people from across the globe have thronged the place, either to seek answers to their own questions or to witness the remains of that historic event.
Every year, thousands of people from every corner of the world come to experience the sanctity and beauty of Rishikesh.
Ganga Ghats are spread across all the towns and cities that share the banks of the holy river.
Yoga ashrams are places of yoga sanctity. Almost all ashrams in and around Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a ‘must visit’ place on every rafters map, and rightly so. Plunging from the Himalayan
The Hindu saint, Adi Shankaracharya, built many temples in Rishikesh.
Spring season is ideal for exploring the locales, and are perfect for adventures activities.
Lakshman Jhula, a 450 ft long hanging bridge across the river Ganga at a height of 70 ft.
The best way to reach Rishikesh is to first reach the national capital – New Delhi.
Rishikesh offers a wide range of accommodation options for typical hitchhikers.
Rishikesh is the center from where all excursions – spiritual or adventurous - begin.