Rishikesh – A Beautiful Pilgrimage Town
Located in the district of Dehradun in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India, Rishikesh is a beautiful pilgrimage town, often referred to as the “Gateway to the Garhwal Hialayas,” more so since it is situated on the foothills of the Himalayan Ranges of the country.
Lying at a distance of approximately 24 KM from the holy city of Haridwar, known for its multidimensional religious significance, Rishikesh is known to be one of the most vital Hindu pilgrimage sites, and such is its popularity that many renowned saints and spiritual entities have often visited the city of Rishikesh in order to perform rigorous meditation in the picturesque and tranquil ambiance, in a search to attain higher knowledge and have better understanding of life and afterlife.
Enveloped in the embrace of three significant districts, namely, the Tehri Garhwal, the Pauri Garhwal, and the Haridwar district, Rishikesh is commonly referred to as the “yoga capital of the world.”
Literally, the word Rishikesh is linked with popular Hindu deity Lord Vishnu, whose name Hrishikesha means the lord of the senses. While the city shares close ties with the likes Lord Vishnu according to Hindu mythology, it also has a story linked to the god of fire—Lord Agni.
According to this story, long ago, a huge fire broke out in this place, which vexed Lord Shiva to the extreme. As a result, he admonished the Fire God—Lord Agni. Post that, Lord Agni performed his penance here to rid him off his sins and since then the place also came to be known as the “Agni Teertha.”
Other than a list of Hindu temples and the holy ghats of the sacred rivers, Hrishikesh is also famous when it comes to environmental aspects and adventure sports. Enthusiasts of both take keen interest in going for rock climbing, trekking, backpacking, river rafting and lots more in the area.
Due to its spiritual and religious associations, Hrishikesh is completely free of alcohol and meat, making it a dry city in the country. In fact, very recently, the tourism minister of India had announced that the cities of Rishikesh and Haridwar will be the first ones to bag the title of “twin national heritage cities” in the country.