Rishikesh India’s northern state is a city in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. Because of it’s location in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, and, as it is bisected by the wide and sluggish Ganges, it is known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas and Yoga Capital. Rishikesh, the name of Vishnu means “Lord of Senses”. It is about 25 km north of Haridwar and 43 km south-east of Dehradun.
Rishikesh is famous as "Dev Bhoomi" – which means - the abode of Gods. The name of the city is Rishikesh as the city has a large number of Ashrams and temples. Thousands of nature loving tourists come to visit Rishikesh because of its scenic beauty. Rishikesh is surrounded by Shivalik range of the Himalayas. Ganges the serene, mystical river running through Himalayas provides a superb panoramic memory for the visitors. The river Ganges which flows through Rishikesh is considered holy, and the city is renowned as a centre for studying yoga and meditation. As with Haridwar about an hour south, Rishikesh as considered by Hindus is a holy city and is vegetarian by law. Rishikesh is meat and Alcohol free city due to its Spiritual and mystical environment.
Rishikesh , a spiritual centre is situated 24 km upstream from Haridwar, at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and Ganga. There was a sage named Raibhya Rishi who in Rishikesh did severe penance and as a reward, God in the form of Hrishikesh appeared to him, hence the name Rishikesh. There are numerous ashrams in Rishikesh, some of which are known for yoga and meditation and philosophical studies, worldwide.
It is the gateway to the upper Garhwal region and the starting point for pilgrim routes to the four dhams of Uttarakhand -- Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The Ganga which flows through the town is worshipped here. After this it descends to the plains at Haridwar. The whole place is regarded as holy and sacred as the place has a belief that through meditation salvation is attained. There are various temples along the river Ganges. Some of them are new and some are old. One can see the ashrams of Sadhus and sages along the river side.
Rishikesh, also known as the "Yoga Capital of the World", has numerous yoga centres which no doubt contributes in attracting tourists. It is the faith and belief of the people that moksha can be attained through mediation and by having a dip in the holy river that flows through it. These specialities of Rishikesh has made it a must visit place
International yoga week was organized every year between 2nd and 7th of February by U.P. Tourism when Uttarakhand state was not formed. After formation of Uttarkhand International yoga festival was organized by Uttarakhand State Tourism Department in Rishikesh from March 1 to 7. Those who are adventurous, for them there is white water rafting on the Ganga. Rishikesh has a continental type climate but because of its location in the foot hills, throughout the year it has a very pleasant weather. Rishikesh is a place which is open to all throughout the year.
The serenity and the choppy tides in the Holy River Ganges encourages spiritual seekers, fun and adventure lovers all over the world to visit Rishikesh. Rishikesh is a heaven for those who are adventurous. It’s rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, trekking are wonderful and full of fun and dare.
Apart from the above one can also enjoy the beauty of several holy shrines, flower-strewn meadows, countless mountain treks, rivers, valleys and mist-covered trails of the Himalayan region.
If you are a wildlife lover then Uttarakhand is paradise for wildlife. As far as other places in India are concerned the state has the highest forest cover. 65% of its geographic range is covered by forest.