Rishikesh, situated in the foothills of Himalayas on the banks of River Ganga in Northern India, is undoubtedly one of the best places to find quick relaxation from the mundane life. Located about 43 km away from Dehradun, Rishikesh is a hub of Yoga, meditation and spirituality. The place is frequented by many international travellers and pilgrims. Rishikesh has also become a popular destination for white water rafting, attracting tourists from both India and abroad. It is also a center for hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking and bungee jumping. No doubt, it has become one stop destination for everyone seeking peace, fun and enjoyment. Besides these, there are 5 things about Rishikesh that you never knew.
Rishikhesh is the home to many lesser-known waterfalls and the beauty of these hidden treasures is that one has to take a trek of few Kilometres to reach the falls. If you wish to spend some quality time with your family and friends amidst nature-rich environs, you can definitely plan a waterfall trekking in Rishikesh. The trekking to Neergadh Waterfall starts 3 km away from Laxman Jhula on the Badrinath Highway. It is one of the most frequented waterfalls as it is easiest to access. Visit Neergarh Waterfall just after monsoon season and you will witness water cascading thousands of feet from the mountain top. There are small pools along the hike where a hiker can sit and enjoy the serenity of falls, while soaking the tired feet. You can also consider taking a dip into the pool of fresh water. Trekking through Neergarh waterfall and passing by shallow pool will give you a feel and touch of what the state of Uttarakhand is all about. The best thing about this adventure activity is that it does not require any special skill to trek, owning to easy path and can be undertaken by people from all age group. Vendors are also available here to sell the beverages, which will cost slightly higher but a cup of tea in hand will be a good idea to enjoy the surreal beauty of the place.
Neelkanth temple is one of the most sacred places of worship for Hindus. It is situated on a hill above Swargashram and located at a distance of 32 km from Rishikhesh. Neelkanth temple is considered to be an apt example of complete natural hill heaven that lies adjacent to mountain ranges of Nar-Narayan. Owing to its raw beauty & religious significance, both the devotees and nature lovers visit the place round the year. The way to the temple is quite exhilarating. There are steep & narrow roads taking above the hill, which will add the extra spice of adventure amidst the beauty. There is river flowing on one side and mountain terrain is on the other side. Road is very curvy and narrow with steep slopes.
Trekking is all about reconnecting yourself with nature and exploring the wonders of the Himalayas. For adventure enthusiasts, it is a much sought after option to escape the daily mundane life to find themselves in the lap of nature. Walking through verdant landscape, lush greenery and waterfall, and breathing in fresh air really prove to be a refreshing experience. Located in the lap of the Shivalik Himalayas, the picturesque town of Rishikhesh offers a host of scenic locales for trekkers. It gives the trekker a chance to witness the outstanding scenery of flowery green meadows, dense forests, fascinating local communities and astounding landscape of the eastern part of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges. There are all sorts of treks available near Rishikhesh, which can be categorised into easy, moderate and hard treks. Small treks can be done in the adjoining villages and waterfalls while longer treks can be taken in near-by mountains. Few famous treks which can be taken near Rishikhesh are Neer Garh waterfall trek, Kunjapuri trek, Neelkanth Temple Trek, and Jhilmil Gufa Trek. Longer treks which serve route from Rishikhesh are Gomukh (Gaumukh) Trek, Valley of flower Trek, Tungnath-Chandrasheela Trek, Deoria Taal Trek, Hemkund sahib trek, Kuari Pass Trek and Roop Kund Trek.
In Sanskrit, prayag means ‘confluence’ and Devprayag stands for ‘holy confluence’. Devprayag is the confluence of two holy rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi to form Ganga. According to religious scriptures, Devprayag is one of the five important holy confluences. Rivers like Bhagirathi, Alaknanda & the mythological river Saraswati (flowing underground) meet to from the River Ganga. River Bhagirathi originates from Gangotri and Alaknanda originates from Badrinath, both of which are considered sacred destinations for Hindus across the world. Devprayag is the last prayag of River Alaknanda. Religiously, the site is very sacred and holds immense significance among the Hindu followers. It is believed that Lord Rama and the King Dushratha did penance here. There is an ancient temple of Raghunathji built above the confluence with massive rocks. It is believed that the temple was built more than ten thousand years ago. There is a small water spring called Baitalshila, which is believed to have powers to cure leprosy. Devprayag is also hugely blessed with divine natural beauty and showers tourists with its serenity. The place is accessible throughout the year and can be visited anytime. Try avoiding Devprayag during monsoons, when the water level rises and there are chances of roads getting blocked due to landslides. Devprayag is a small town situated in Tehri Garhwal district in the state of Uttarakhand, located on the Rishikhesh-Badrinath highway.
RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK
Rajaji National Park is known for its pristine scenic beauty and rich bio-diversity. A paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, Rajaji National Park or Chilla Park is just 25 km away from Rishikhesh. A normal safari by jeep usually takes 3 to 4 hours to complete the 36 km stretch of safari range and costs around Rs. 1200-1500 per person. It is carried out twice in a day; at 7 am in the morning and around 2 pm in the afternoon. Rajaji National Park is home to Asian elephants, deers, birds, tigers (only few), and antelopes such as the Nilgai, langoors etc. This park is the first staging ground for the migratory birds when they cross Himalayas to enter India. The Himalayan pied kingfisher, fire tailed sunbird & great pied hornbill can be spotted here. The safari in the park is organised throughout the year, adding its touch of special essence every season. Don’t miss out on an early morning drive along the river stream which connects to Power House in Chilla. In addition there are many hotels and tourist complexes available around Rajaji National Park at Haridwar and Rishikhesh, which makes it even more convenient to visit the park.