One Day in Rishikesh Itinerary – Top things to do in Rishikesh, India

Rishikesh, the holy town in Uttrakhand. is a refreshing getaway, different in every possible way. Alive with colors and art everywhere and tucked away in the Himalayan foothills, it is the abode of ancient marvels, the swinging bridges – Laxman and Ram Jhula. The scenic landscape is mystic and the melody of the great River Ganges soothing. A favorite place for travel enthusiasts and free souls, it is world-famous for its authentic Shanti vibes and an array of adventure possibilities. Rishikesh is a great budget vacation place, but it’s also ideal for a laid-back luxury stay. Even just one day in Rishikesh will be bright, fulfilling, and exciting!

One day in Rishikesh Itinerary

Best Time to Visit Rishikesh

Any month! Winters are cold and January is the peak winter month. Winters are a good time as any to make the most of the adventure activities. And with the Himalayas towering above the city, the feeling you get is very special indeed. June is the hottest month here with temperatures going as high as 40 °C. July to September are monsoon months, and while you may not be able to raft, you get great discounts around this time of year.

View of Ganges and Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh
View of Ganges and Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh Author: Aleksandr Zykov, Source: Flickr

A Few Facts About Rishikesh

Rishikesh, named after the Lord of senses Vishnu, is a land straight out of epics and legends. Considered as one of the holiest places in India, it will soon be the first to receive the title of a twin national heritage city, along with Haridwar.

Laxman Jhula Ghats, Rishikesh
Laxman Jhula Ghats, Rishikesh Author: Aleksandr Zykov, Source: Flickr

Its ancient streets form a very respectful place. Pilgrims and locals have to adhere to the rule which states that there is No Alcohol and Non-Vegetarian food here. It’s the norm in the famed Yoga Capital and the Adventure Capital of the world!

Street of Rishikesh
Street of Rishikesh Author: Aleksandr Zykov, Source: Flickr

Rishikesh is rising as one of the most tranquil destinations in India. This great land has a lot of layers to it: yoga, meditation, Ayurveda therapy as well as a wildlife sanctuary because Rajaji National Park is home to the Bengal Tiger and Asiatic Elephants.

One Day in Rishikesh Itinerary

Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Rishikesh.

Get up early for the sunrise trek

Join in an organized trek to the Kunjapuri Temple at sunrise! Watch the sky come alive with shades of red stretching above the panoramic Himalayas. Take an early drive uphill and hike down, to capture the lifestyle of the hill people – the Pahari.

Sunset over the Ganga, Rishikesh
Sunset over the Ganga, Rishikesh Author: McKay Savage, Source: Flickr

Your walk around the local villages and farms ends with the rousing Neer Gaddu waterfall. Wash away all your stress in the chilling waters and get ready for a fun-filled afternoon.

The trek is about 5 miles and you should be back by 11 am-12 pm.

Visit the Beatles Ashram Ruins and Art Museum

The world is fast-moving, so relax with a visit to the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh. Explore the ruins and come across random rooms painted with delightful graffiti by anonymous artists.

Beatles Ashram, Rishikesh
Beatles Ashram, Rishikesh Author: Travelling Slacker, Source: Flickr

The Beatles spent time here in the 1960s, in the little huts made of pebbles to get away from drugs and practice transcendental meditation. The place is being taken over by nature, yet the harmony and the peaceful aura are intact.

Drop in and do Yoga

Learn some original Yoga. A Rishikesh special, this is a top recommendation for all. When in the Yoga Capital of the world, stretch it out a bit!

All around Rishikesh, you will find drop-in yoga classes where you can stay for an intense session if you want. These are best to learn body, mind, and soul connections through breath, yoga, and Ayurveda philosophy.

Yoga Centre, Rishikesh
Yoga Centre, Rishikesh, Author: Aleksandr Zykov, Source: Flickr

Binge on flavors and art

Reward yourself with a delicious meal or two! Give ‘eating with your hands’ a try and do obsess over Chai (Tea) at The office, a very cool hangout place.

Rishikesh Cafe
Rishikesh Cafe Author: Aleksandr Zykov, Source: Flickr

Crafty cafes line up the streets of Rishikesh amidst people, cows, tuk-tuks, and monkeys. Every cafe has a unique recipe and ambiance. People gather around do nothing except have a good time.

Little Buddha Cafe and Ganga Beach Restaurant are ideal for lunch if you’re around the Laxman Jhula. On the side of Ram Jhula Amrit Ganga Bhujonalaya is recommended to grab a flavor packed Indian Diet and Oasis Restaurant for a multi cuisine Dinner.

Lakshman Jhula bridge, Rishikesh
Lakshman Jhula bridge, Rishikesh Author: Aleksandr Zykov, Source: Flickr

Participate in Ganga Aarti

Be at Parmarth Niketan Ashram at 5 pm for the most blissful hour ever. Every evening, people from all walks of life gather to become one and sing in devotion to all they hold sacred. People wish and pray for peace and well being. Watch flower boats sail on the divine waters of the river Ganges. You can take a holy dip too.

Ganga Arati, Rishikesh
Ganga Arati, Rishikesh Author: Yogendra Joshi, Source: Flickr

You are in a different place here, it is a different experience for every individual, one that is usually beyond any words. Smile and go Namaste! The other venue for Divine Aarti is at Triveni Ghat nearer to the Lakshman Jhula.

Enjoy the sunset jam

Rent a bike and zig-zag your way across this happy town. The banks of the River Ganges have their separate fan base. Sadhus and Yogi meditate. Travelers gather round to sing and dance and celebrate life.

Worshiping the River Ganges in Rishikesh
Worshiping the River Ganges in Rishikesh Author: Daniel Tobias, Source: Flickr

Afford yourself an Ayurvedic miracle massage

India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, so why not nourish your body and soul while in Rishikesh. After all the entertainment and activity, calm your senses with a healing Ayurvedic massage. Ayurveda Bhavan, Ananda in the Himalayas, and Braham Yoga and Healing are great options for a soothing massage, among others.

Lord Krishna, Rishikesh
Lord Krishna, Rishikesh Author: Isabelle Kirsch, Source: Flickr

Listen to a classic concert

There are many music schools in Rishikesh and students put on the most beautiful performances. Watch Indian Traditional instruments like sitar and tabla in action and immerse yourself in their soulful melody. A great way to end the your one day in Rishikesh.

Some famous treks from Rishikesh

Rishikesh is the gateway to many awesome Himalayan treks. Gear up and hike on. The most famous treks in Rishikesh are best suited for all nature lovers.

  • Nag Tibba trek
  • Chopta Chandrashila trek
  • Valley of Flowers trek
  • Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla trek
  • Rupin Pass trek
  • Har Ki Dun trek

These trails take you to the high points in the Himalayas and abodes of some rare Himalayan flora and fauna. Don’t miss out on them if you’d like to challenge yourself and add more to your travel experience. Along with that, there are many other adventures you can enjoy like: Rappelling, rock climbing, fly foxing, cliff jumping, parasailing, body surfing, and kayaking.

Where to Stay in Rishikesh, India

Ashramas, Zostels, bunk stays, great hotels, and resorts – Rishikesh has a bunch of stay options. Get great discounts in the low tourist season (monsoon period/winters). Some places to stay in Rishikesh:

Bunk Stay Rishikesh, Rishikesh

Bunk Stay Rishikesh

Neelkanth Road, Laxman Jhula, Distt. Pauri Garhwal, 249302 Rishīkesh, India 

Best view, budget stay, prime location.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

GANGA KINARE- A Riverside Boutique Hotel, Rishikesh

Ganga Kinare – A Riverside Boutique Hotel, Rishikesh

237 Virbhadra Road, 249201 Rishīkesh, India 

The only hotel resort in Rishikesh built right on the banks of the Ganges, overlooks the Rajaji National Park!

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Aloha On The Ganges by Leisure Hotels, Rishikesh

Aloha On The Ganges by Leisure Hotels

Tapovan, 249192 Rishīkesh, India

Great location, good views, best food, excellent staff.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Divine Resort & Spa, Rishikesh

Divine Resort & Spa

Laxman Jhula Road, Village Tapovan , 249292 Rishīkesh, India

Great place to stay with minimal prices.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Day trips from Rishikesh

Haridwar

Half an hour away from Rishikesh and is like Rishikesh in essence and spirit. It is of utmost religious value to Hindus, and you can visit Haridwar if you’d fancy visiting the most revered temples in India.

Tehri Lake

2-3 hours’ drive from Rishikesh, the Tehri Dam is a man-made reservoir, and this day trip from Rishikesh is best spent boating and enjoying peace and nature’s splendor.

Shivpuri

A half-hour drive from Laxman Jhula gets you to some beautiful beaches and the most loved place for river rafting. Apart from that, Shivpuri Uttarakhand provides adventure sports like rock climbing, cliff jumping and rappelling.

Rajaji Tiger Reserve

Another short drive from Rishikesh (19km away), Rajaji Tiger Reserve boasts tigers, elephants, leopards. An obligatory day trip from Rishikesh for wildlife enthusiasts.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

One of the most famous temples in Rishikesh (32 km away), Neelkanth Mahadev Temple worships the great Lord Shiva. Many pilgrims consider their journey to be incomplete without a visit to this quaint blue shrine.

Mussoorie

For an Unforgettable Uttarakhand Tour, you can add the famous romantic hill station Mussoorie to your itinerary. A 3-hour drive will get you to this heavenly land bound by snow-capped peaks.

Extra Tips For Rishikesh

  • Visit Rishikesh even if you do not plan to do yoga.
  • Make most of the thrilling opportunities.
  • Dress Code: Colorful and comfortable. To blend into the atmosphere, carry or shop for loose, flowy, and bright clothes.
  • Do wear comfortable footwear and carry sturdy hiking shoes if you plan to go on a trek.
  • Please adhere to the pure vegetarian and no alcohol rule.
  • Monsoon months are best avoided due to plenty of rains and no river rafting.
  • If you plan for a visit in winters, pack light and heavy woolens.
  • Want to experience yoga or get teacher training? Don’t pre-book! Explore your options once you get there.
  • Beware of the monkeys! Please do not carry your stuff in polythene bags, instead, keep it inside your backpack.
  • Above all, do new things. And as you absorb the cultural differences, don’t forget to be grateful for this great life.

Logistical Tips and Tricks

Organize your trip in five easy steps!

BOOK A FLIGHT!

Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!

BOOK A ROOM!

To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.

GET A CAR!

If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.

INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!

Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.

FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!

Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.

Divya

Divya, a student of Philosophy is a Content Writer with Indian Travel Store, A Travel Management Company. She travels every chance she gets. The challenge to express the pure wonder and beauty of the world we live in, spire her to write.

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