Ahhhhh Rishikesh, a little gem nestled at the base of the Himalayas of Northern India along the sacred Ganges river (I've heard it pronounced Gung-guh, Gone-jeez, and Gan-jeez.)
It's the home-away-from-home for so many yogis and spiritual seekers around the world. And for good reason. I fell in love with Rishikesh immediately. You just might too.
1. It's #safeish to rent a motor scooter to get around. Safe, because its streets are not crowded with large, fast moving vehicles. Safeish because there are really no traffic laws in India other than "just go!" Always be careful when renting and riding motorbikes though.
2. Just a short walk (or ride) out of town and you're submerged in beautiful nature. The Ganga river runs through this sweet little town and there's tons of places to sun bathe, take a soak, or read a book. Go. Explore.
3. Yoga. Everywhere. E V E R Y W H E R E ! Seriously, there are so many yoga studios with classes at all times of the day. Yoga workshops, spiritual teachers giving Satsang, and cafes filled with yogis. It's yoga paradise.
4. The locals aren't trying to hassle or cheat the tourists. There's something different about Rishikesh than other Indians towns that attract tourists. You won't be chased down the street or harassed by vendors, and yet, the quality of the vendors is top notch. Another +1 for Rishikesh!
5. Good options for chill-out restaurants to lounge in overlooking the river. We found so many awesome chill spots to grab a mango lassi, cup of chai, or full meal of veg and naan.
6. Beautiful mantras playing all over the place. Walk down any of the streets in Rishikesh and be treated to beautiful Indian mantras playing from the shops. It's divine.
READ MORE: Visiting India: Rishikesh vs. Varanasi
7. Crisp, breathable air. Coming from Delhi, any traveller can appreciate this! Take a deep breath and say Om.
8. Hotels and restaurants are mainly geared toward budget travel. Tons of cheap accommodation makes this an ideal destination to come and settle into for a few weeks (or months).
9. Cows. So many cows. But surprisingly there's not an overwhelming about of cow shit all over the place like some places (Varanasi, we're looking at you). Maybe the locals are more quick to clean it up, or maybe the cows have discovered some place other than the streets to do their business. I don't know.
10. Sandy beaches to lounge or swim in the Ganges. Get in the water, take a dip, soak in the sun, meditate, journal, enjoy.
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11. Cheap river rafting. Seriously, it's priced so affordably that you have no excuse not to. It's a perfect destination for a newbie, as the rapids aren't huge. It's a fun way to spend the afternoon.
12. Great shopping. Did I mention that there are vendors galore, and they don't harass? At least they didn't when we were there for 10 days. I found several earrings that are to die for, a beautifully adorned fanny pack, and a ring that gets compliments every.single.damn.time. I wear it.
13. Crossing the two suspension bridges (Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula) is fun, unless you're driving a motor bike. Then it's frustrating. But never mind that. Walk off to the side, savor the views, and saunter across the sacred river. A highlight of any trip to Rishikesh.
Have you been to Rishikesh? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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