Rishikesh, also spelt as Hrishikesh, is a city governed by Rishikesh Municipal Corporation (since October 2017), and a tehsil in Dehradun district of the Indian state Uttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as the "Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas" and "Yoga Capital of the World". It lies 21 km (13 mi) north of the city Haridwar and 45 km (28 mi) southeast of the state capital Dehradun. Rishikesh has an approximate population of between 252,533 and 320,222, making it the seventh most populated city in the state of Uttarakhand. It is known as the pilgrimage town and regarded as one of the holiest places for Hindus. Hindu sages and saints have visited Rishikesh since ancient times to meditate in search of higher knowledge.
|• Body||Rishikesh Municipal Corporation|
|• Mayor||Anita Mamgain (BJP)|
|• Municipal Commissioner||Narendra Singh|
|• Total||11.5 km2 (4.4 sq mi)|
|Elevation||340 m (1,120 ft)|
|• Total||102,138 (Urban Agglomeration) 70,499 (City as per Census 2,011)|
|• Density||8,851/km2 (22,920/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Sex ratio (2011)||875 ♀ / 1000 ♂|
In September 2015, the Union tourism minister Mahesh Sharma announced that Rishikesh and Haridwar will be the first in India to be given the title of "twin national heritage cities". Due to the religious significance of the place, non-vegetarian food and alcohol are strictly prohibited in Rishikesh. The city has hosted the annual International Yoga Festival on the first week of March since 1989.
IAST: "Hṛṣīkeśa" (Sanskrit: हृषीकेश) is a name of Vishnu composed of hṛṣīka meaning 'senses' and īśa meaning 'lord', thus 'Lord of the Senses'. The name commemorates an apparition of Vishnu to Raibhya Rishi, as a result of his tapasya (austerities), as Lord Hrishikesha. In Skanda Purana, this area is known as Kubjāmraka (कुब्जाम्रक) as Lord Vishnu appeared under a mango tree.
Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary "Kedarkhand". Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the asura king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, using two jute ropes at the point where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' (लक्ष्मण झूला) stands today. The 'Kedarkhand' of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by a 248-foot long iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889. After it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced in 1927 by the present stronger bridge built by the United Provinces Public Works Department. This bridge connects the two districts of Tapovan, Tehri and Jonk, Pauri Garhwal. Another similar suspension bridge Ram Jhula was built in 1986 at nearby Sivananda Nagar.
In contemporary history, one finds the mention of Rishikesh in The Gazeteer of Dehra Dun, by ICS office HG Walton. It reads, " A village or town beautifully situated on the right bank of the Ganges, on a high cliff overlooking the river. The place is developing very rapidly, especially since the construction of the new bridge over the Song river, the realignment of the pilgrim road from Raiwala to Rishikesh."
The Ganges, one of the most sacred rivers to Hindus, flows through Rishikesh. Here the river leaves the Shivalik Hills in the Himalayas and flows into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient and new, are along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. Shatrughna Mandir, Bharat Mandir (Lord Vishnu's avatar), Lakshman Mandir are the ancient temples established by Adi Shankaracharya. Shatrughna Temple is near Ram Jhula and Lakshman Mandir is situated near Lakshman Jhula.
The historical records mention that some pilgrims used to stay at Rishikesh as a resting place before moving onwards to the higher mountains for the pilgrimage while a larger number used to visit Rishikesh as the original destination and visited various sites between Rishikesh and Lakshman Jhula before returning. However, Rishikesh has in recent decades shifted from a pilgrim to a tourist town. The International Yoga Festival introduced in 2000 has brought a new influx of tourists. Local markets have evolved from commercialising goods such as "local and religious handicrafts" to a more service-oriented tourist industry with "provision stores, cafes, hotels and yoga and meditation" as well as rafting.
Rishikesh is at  The town is located in the Tehri Garhwal region of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand.. It has an average elevation of 340 metres (1,120 ft).
After flowing 249 km (155.343 mi) through its narrow Himalayan valley, the Ganges emerges from the mountains at Rishikesh, then debouches onto the Gangetic Plain at the pilgrimage town of Haridwar. Despite the pollution of the Ganges, the water in Rishikesh is relatively unaffected as the major polluting points are down river in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh.
The Tehri Dam is just 86 km (53 mi) and Uttarkashi, a popular yoga destination is 170 km (110 mi) uphill on the way to Gangotri Dham. Rishikesh is the starting point for travelling to the four Chota Char Dham pilgrimage places—Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. It is also a starting point for the Himalayan tourist destinations such as Harsil, Chopta, Auli and famous summer and winter trekking destinations like Dodital, Dayara Bugyal, Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun for camping and grandeur Himalayan panoromic views.
According to Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, its climate is humid subtropical (Cwa). Average maximum temperature is 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). The average minimum temperature is 7 degrees Celsius. The wettest month is July with highest rainfall of 444mm. The driest month is November with rainfall of 10mm. Months of May, June, July and August has the highest UV index of 12 and January and December have the lowest UV index of 4.
|Climate data for Rishikesh|
|Average high °C (°F)||17
|Average low °C (°F)||5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||51
|Average rainy days||3||2||3||1||2||7||15||16||8||2||0||1||60|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||6||7||8||9||9||7||6||6||7||8||8||7||7|
Rishikesh Municipal Corporation administers the city. The urban local body was incorporated into a Municipal Corporation in 2018. The city is divided into 40 wards. When the delimitation of the wards was done at the time of the formation of the Municipal Corporation, the minimum population of each ward was 2,300 and maximum 3,000. Rishikesh belongs to the Haridwar Lok Sabha constituency. The first and the current mayor of the corporation is Anita Mamgain. The current Municipal Commissioner, commonly known as Nagar Aayukt locally, is Narendra Singh.
As per provisional data of 2011 census Rishikesh had a population of 102,138, out of which males were 54,466 (53%) and females were 47,672 (47%). The literacy rate was 86.86% compared to the national average of 74.04%.
In February 1968, the Beatles visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Rishikesh, attracted by his Transcendental Meditation. The Beatles composed numerous songs during their time at the ashram, many of which appear on the band's self-titled double album, also known as the "White Album". Many westerners followed, increasing participation in yoga, to the extent that Rishikesh has been nicknamed "Yoga Capital of the World"; it has numerous yoga centres that attract tourists. Serious yoga students come to learn and to become qualified as yoga teachers.
The city includes the district of Sivananda Nagar, the home of Sivananda Ashram and the Divine Life Society founded by Swami Sivananda, north of the town centre; the temple sections of Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula, a little further north; and assorted ashrams around Swargashram on the eastern bank. The Ganga Arti performed at dusk at the Triveni Ghat is popular with visitors. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, amidst forest 28 km (17 mi) from Rishikesh, is a popular local pilgrimage, along with Vashishtha Guha (Cave of Sage Vashishtha), 21 km (13 mi) up from the town by the Ganges.
According to environmental activists, "These camps are not only in violation of Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, but also the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, as well as the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974, as it is leading to pollution of Ganga by discharging effluent, throwing of solid waste directly and adversely affecting the ecological integrity of the river system."
Environmental activists alleged that these camps, which are established as temporary sites, do not have adequate sewage and sanitation facilities, disturb the habitat of wild animals and "affect the peace, tranquility, and serenity of the forest area."
"At the campsites, the camp owners permit employees and the visitors to have food and alcohol. They leave empty bottles, cans, unconsumed food and waste including bones and filth in and around the campsite. still there are few Other Campsites that have strict Policies against Alcohol Consumption and littering"
In a 2008 study on the beach camps between Kaudiyala and Rishikesh, experts from the Govind Ballabh Pant Himalayan Environment and Development Institute—R. K. Maikhuri, Nihal Farukhi and Tarun Budhal—found that wildlife conservation standards and norms, particularly for waste management, were routinely disregarded.
A bench headed by the National Green Tribunal chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar on 1 April 2015 heard a plea filed by the non-governmental organisation Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE). The National Green Tribunal has sought explanations from the Government of India and the Government of Uttarakhand on the "unregulated" operation of rafting camps on the banks of Ganga between Shivpuri and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. The state government has assured the tribunal that it would not grant permission to any new camp till the next hearing in May.
As the seriousness of issue "The National Green Tribunal," a bench headed by Justice U. D. Salve has rejected permission to rafting camps operating in Rishikesh and slammed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Government of Uttarakhand for not filing their replies in the case and directed them to file their response.
Effect on spiritual environmentEdit
It has been reported that large numbers of tourists visiting Rishikesh from India and the world have been consuming Cannabis (drug) and alcohol and appearing partially naked at beaches, leading to complaints that the spiritual environment of the area has been affected.
According to many Hindu yogis and sadhus, the riverside stretch is of spiritual and religious importance, as it is where the Ganges takes its form after the confluence of the rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda at Devprayag in the Garhwal Himalayas. Saints and yogis have been meditating on the banks of Ganges since antiquity. However, these banks have been polluted with liquor bottles, as well as obscene activities and behavior at the beaches.
AIIMS Rishikesh is one of the six apex healthcare institutes being established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) with the aim of correcting regional imbalances in quality tertiary level healthcare in the country and attaining self-sufficiency in graduate and postgraduate medical education and training.
First Ayush Centre (The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy of India) was opened in Rishikesh on 4 June 2015 by Shripad Yasso Naik, Minister for Yoga and Traditional Medicine. He believes Ayurveda (Indian traditional medical science), Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, and other alternative medicine systems will be researched in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh railway station is the major railway station in the city, yet the connectivity with the major towns & cities of India is inconsequential. The railway station was created in 1939, during the British era. It is connected to Haridwar JN with two reserved mail/express trains 14609/14610(Hemkunt Express) and 24887/24888 (Barmer Express); and four unreserved trains 54471/54472, 54481/54482, 54463/54464 & 54483/54486. This city is connected with the state capital Dehradun with a rail route via Raiwala JN which is 12 km from the city. A new railway line, connecting Rishikesh with Karnaprayag is under construction. However, the town is well connected with all major north Indian cities like Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida via bus. Rishikesh has air connectivity with Dehradun Airport at just 15 km from the city center. There are other Travelling Options i.e. Private and Shared Taxis.
A Hanuman temple in Rishikesh
- Singh, Kautilya (26 October 2017). "Nagar palikas of Rishikesh, Kotdwar get corporation status". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Jha, Meenketan (27 August 2018). "5 Adventure Sports You Must Try in India". Outlook Traveller. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Ghose, Aruna, ed. (2011). "Rishikesh". DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: India. DK. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-75667-026-9. ISSN 1542-1554 – via Google Books.
- "Rishikesh's identity as yoga capital to be maintained". The Tribune. 1 March 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Singh, Ranjeni A (3 April 2014). "Rishikesh: Haven for yoga and wellness enthusiasts". The Economic Times. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Sharma, Seema (19 August 2015). "Centre to declare Haridwar, Rishikesh national heritage cities". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Ramadurai, Charukesi (4 January 2018). "My Kind of Place: Rishikesh, India". The National. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Gusain, Raju (8 March 2018). "Rishikesh: Controversy-hit Parmarth Yoga fest ends". The Statesman. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "Yoga enthusiasts from across the globe flock to Rishikesh to be a part of this festival". The Times of India. 16 March 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "हृषीकेश / hṛṣīkeśa". Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "Hrishikesh: Its Historical Significance". Rishikesh City. 2007. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Glossary of terms in Hinduism#R
- "Places of Tourist Interest in Rishikesh". Dehradun District. Archived from the original on 11 July 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "District Dehradun - A General Introduction". Dehradun District Institute of Education and Training. Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "Lakshman Jhula Suspension Bridge Rishikesh - Visit Laxman Jhula Pul Rishikesh". www.euttaranchal.com. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
- Walton, H.G. (2016) . The Gazetteer of Dehra Dun. (Reprint). Natraj Publishers. p. 261. ISBN 9788185019505.
- Alter, Stephen (2001). Sacred Waters: A Pilgrimage Up the Ganges River to the Source of Hindu Culture. Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-100585-7.
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) (2015). "Investigating risk and resilience in Rishikesh". NTNU. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
- "Uttarakhand topographic map, elevation, relief". topographic-map.com. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
- Ganga, a scientific study. Krishna Murti, C. R., Gaṅgā Pariyojanā Nideśālaya., India. Environment Research Committee. New Delhi: Northern Book Centre. 1991. ISBN 81-7211-021-9. OCLC 30703175.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Ganges River | History, Location, Map, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- Patel, Pranav (11 December 2014). "Invigorating Rishikesh". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Climate and average monthly weather in Rishīkesh (Uttarakhand), India". World Weather & Climate Information. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- "Rishikesh Climate and Weather Averages, India". Weather2Travel. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Nagar Nigam of Kotdwar and Rishikesh" (PDF). Urban Development Directorate, Government of Uttarakhand. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- "Rishikesh Nagar Nigam Mein Honge 40 Wards". Amar Ujala. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- "Harish Rawat gets Hardwar ticket". 31 March 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- 20 Nov, TNN |; 2018; Ist, 23:50. "BJP wins Rishikesh, Rudrapur mayor seats, likely to clinch Doon | Dehradun News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 January 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "नाले के ऊपर अतिक्रमण, नौ दुकानदारों का काटा चालान". Amar Ujala. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
- "Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Census of India. 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Johanson, Mark (16 January 2019). "A river ride to Rishikesh: India's new adventure capital". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Richard A Bustraan (13 February 2014). The Jesus People Movement: A Story of Spiritual Revolution Among the Hippies. Wipf and Stock. p. 28. ISBN 9781620324646.
- Goldberg, Philip (2010). American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation – How Indian Spirituality Changed the West. New York: Harmony Books. pp. 7, 152. ISBN 978-0-385-52134-5.
- Maddox, Callie Batts (2014). "Studying at the source: Ashtanga yoga tourism and the search for authenticity in Mysore, India". Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change. 13 (4): 330–343. doi:10.1080/14766825.2014.972410. ISSN 1476-6825.
- Watts, Meera (7 July 2018). "Rishikesh: The Full Experience Beyond Yoga". siddhiyoga.com. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Duttagupta, Samonway (4 March 2019). "Maha Shivratri special: visit these temples to get acquainted with the lesser-known legends of Lord Shiva". Times Travel. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Pillai, Sudha (17 June 2018). "Finding bliss at Vashishta Guha". The Asian Age. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "Rafting in Rishikesh: Green Tribunal asks Centre to respond". Business Standard. Press Trust of India. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Rafting in Rishikesh: Explanation of the center". Navbharat Times (in Hindi). 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "ऋषिकेश में राफ्टिंग : राष्ट्रीय हरित प्राधिकरण ने केंद्र से माँगा जवाब मांगा" [Rafting in Rishikesh: Green Tribunal seeks answers from Center]. Samaylive.com (in Hindi). 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Goswami, Urmi (3 April 2015). "NGT pulls up Centre, Uttarakhand over unregulated rafting camps on Ganga banks". The Economic Times. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Green tribunal notice over rafting camps in Uttarakhand". Business Standard. Indo-Asian News Service. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Sharma, Seema (3 April 2015). "Despite U'khand assurance to NGT, licences being issued for camping, rafting". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "National Green Tribunal denies permission to Rishikesh rafting camps". The Times of India. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "Is This The End of River Rafting in Rishikesh? NGT's Latest Verdict Surely Makes It Seem So". India Times. 2 August 2015. Archived from the original on 5 August 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "PICS: ये है ऋषिकेश के गोवा बीच का नज़ारा, विदेशियों की बेशर्मी से आहत हो रही आस्था" [PICS: This is the view of Rishikesh's Goa beach, the belief that the foreigners are shocked by the shamelessness of the foreigners]. Samaylive. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Where Rishikesh Meets Goa". The New Indian Express. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Jaiswal, Sheo S. (27 May 2015). "Rafting in Ganga promotes obscene activities, VHP says, wants it banned". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Adventure tours @ Rishikesh end up in rave parties". Andhra Headlines.com. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Dutta, Nirmalya (27 May 2015). "WTF – now the VHP wants to ban river rafting in Rishikesh!". India.com. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "VHP demands ban on Rishikesh rafting". News18. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "River Rafting Promotes Obscenity: VHP Seeks ban in Rishikesh". The Quint. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "VHP demands ban on river rafting in Ganga". The Tribune. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Welcome to AIIMS Rishikesh". All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "AIIMS Rishikesh to get 100-bed hospital within three months". News18. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "एम्स ऋषिकेश में देश का पहला आयुष सेंटर खुला" [India First Ayush Center Open in Rishikesh]. Jagran.com (in Hindi). 4 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "Train Timings from Rishikesh Railway Station - Rishikesh Railway Station Northern Railway". www.euttaranchal.com. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
- Singh, Kautilya (9 January 2015). "Speed up rail extension in state: Cong MP". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
- Jaiswal, Sheo S. (18 October 2016). "Work on Rishikesh-Karnaprayag railway line to begin in December". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Rishikesh.|