Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas. Rishikesh is surrounded by three other districts namely Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal and Haridwar. It is located approximately 25 km north of the city Haridwar and 43 km south west of the state capital Dehradun.
Rishikesh is becoming a popular spot for white water rafting enthusiasts, both from India and abroad, as the Ganges offers medium to rough rapids rated class 3 and class 4. It is also a center for hiking and backpacking. In previous years bungee jumping was also introduced in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed “the world capital of Yoga”, has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. Rafting season starts from the month of March and ends in September.
Rishikesh is also home to the 133 year old Kailash Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham, an institution dedicated to preserve and promote the traditional Vedantic Studies. Prominent personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Shivananda have studied in this institution.
The Beatles composed nearly 48 songs during their time at the Maharishi’s ashram, many of which appear on the White Album. Several other artists, including Mike Love, The Beach Boys, Donovan and Gyp Mills visited the site to contemplate and meditate. Former royal palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal at near by Narendra Nagar, now houses the Ananda–In the Himalayas destination spa and yoga retreat, estb. 2000.