Rishikesh, a most tranquil place in northern Uttarakhand, surrounded by hills and bisected by the wide and sluggish Ganges, is often claimed as the `Yoga Capital of the World'. Back in the 1960s Rishikesh gained instant fame as the site where The Beatles came to stay with their guru, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is an excellent place to meditate and study yoga. Rishikesh is also a good starting Laxman Jhula point for treks to Himalayan pilgrimage centres such as Badrinath, Kedarnath , Gangotri, Yamnotri.It is rightly called the gateway to the Himalayan Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. 7 Story Temple Situated 24 km upstream from Haridwar, at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and Ganga,
Rishikesh has long been a spiritual centre. It is said that the sage Raibhya Rishi did severe penance here and as a reward, God appeared to him in the form of Hrishikesh, hence the name. Rishikesh has numerous ashrams, some of which are internationally recognized as centers of philosophical studies, yoga and meditation. An international yoga week is organized here every year by Uttarakhand Tourism between 2nd and 7th of February. For the adventurous, there are opportunities for white water rafting on the Ganga. The climate here is continental type but its location in the foot hills gives it a pleasant weather throughout the year. One can visit Rishikesh any time of the year.
Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary 'Kedarkhand' (the present day Garhwal). Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The 'Kedar Khand' of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889, and after it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced by a stronger present bridge. The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh.