21 September 2010

Rishikesh – The Yoga Capital of India

At the foothills of the Himalayas along the banks of the sacred river Ganga, lies the town of Rishikesh. The first town this holy river reaches on its descent from the mountains, Rishikesh, is a town of many Ashrams and Hermitages and most major Ashrams including Vivekananda Ashram, Sivananda, Osho, Bihar School of Yoga, having their Yoga centers. Popularly adored for its scenic beauty dotted besides the holy Ganga, Rishikesh is traditionally known as the spiritual capital of the globe. Most of the temples and ashrams are on the banks of the Ganga at Rishikesh.
From the music legends like “The Beatles” to new age celebrities – everyone wants to come down to this city of Yogis and temples. During the mid-1960s, The Beatles visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram (now closed) and several other artists, including Mike Love of The Beach Boys, Donovan and Gyp Mills, visited the site to contemplate and meditate. It seems modern Rishikesh experiences little shortage of people traveling from all over the globe in pursuit of enlightenment and spiritual bliss.
The city attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year, from all parts of India as well as from around the world. It is also becoming a hot spot for white water rafting enthusiasts, both from India and foreign tourists, as it offers medium to rough rapids in the course of River Ganga.
Rishikesh represents the gateway to the Himalayas in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The Char Dham Yatra (Four Shrines Sacred Journey) ideally begins from Rishikesh. Located at a height of 1360 feet above the sea level, it is believed that through the ages, the yogis and sages lived and practices penance here and it represents the site where Vishnu vanquished the demon Madhu Kaitav.
This holy town is 228 Km Northeast of  Delhi and 24 Km north of Haridwar and spreads on the right bank of holy river Ganga, at its confluence with the Chandrabhaga stream. The name Rishikesh is loosely applied to an association of five distinct sections encompassing not only the town but also hmlets and settlements on both sides of the river. These include Rishikesh itself, the commercial and communication hub; the sprawling suburban Muni-ki-reti or the “sands of the sages”; Shivananda Nagar, north of Rishikesh; the temple section of Lakshman Jhoola; and the assorted ashrams around Swarg Ashram on the east bank. You can reach the famous Neelkanth Maha Deva Temple from here.

The Yoga Capital

Rishikesh is internationally termed as Capital of Meditation and Yoga. The town is famous for its yoga sessions that are taught here by many yoga experts. The city has several yoga centers that attract domestic as well as foreign tourists. It is believed that meditation at the bank of river Ganga in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of salvation, or moksha, as it does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. 
The ancient art of Indian Yoga is very special, physical, breathing and spiritual exercises to get a perfect balance between the physical, psychological and spiritual health.
An annual international Yoga Week Festival is organized in Rishikesh, usually during the months of march . Leading spiritual leaders, yoga teachers, meditation teachers, naturopath doctors and thousands of devotees participate in the festival.


Some of the major ashrams and yoga learning centers at Rishikesh are:

Paramarth Niketan
Sivananda Ashram
Omkarananda Ashram
Vanprastha Ashram
Ve Niketan Dayanand
Vedanta Ashram
Vanmali Gita Yogashram


Winters last from November to march here, when temperatures fall below 5-6°C. The monsoons are generally experienced in the month of July and August. With introduction of river rafting on Ganges, adventure tours and increasing interest of people in traditional Indian activities like yoga, meditation and Ayurveda has made Rishikesh the preferred destination round the year.


3 comments:

Travel Corporation India said...

India is a religious land. Ever since the dawn of civilization, India has been the birthplace of many religions. Being so, the country boasts of a lot of pilgrim destinations within its precincts. Rich in mythology, it has a number of temples, mosques, monasteries, churches and gurdwaras, which attract lakhs of devotees every year. Pilgrimage tour India

Sandy Shaw said...

Nice Article! Thanks for sharing with us.
River Rafting at Rishikeshh

reshma M said...

Rishikesh is specially for yoga, it is famous...
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