Rishikesh, also known as Hrishikesh, is a city, municipal corporation and a Tehsil in Dehradun district of the Indian state, Uttarakhand. Nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’ and ‘Yoga Capital of the World. It is one of the sacred places in India and the starting point of ‘Chardham Yatra’ ( Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri & Yamunotri) and Hemkunt Sahib.
It is approximately 25km (16 mi) north of the city Haridwar and 43 km (27 mi) southeast of the state capital Dehradun. According to Census of India 2011, Rishikesh had a population of 102,138 making it the seventh most populated city in the state of Uttarakhand. It is known as the pilgrimage town and regarded as one of the holiest places of Hindus. Hindu sages and saints have visited Rishikesh since ancient times to meditate in search of higher knowledge.
In September 2015, the Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma announced that Rishikesh and Haridwar will be the first in India to be given the title of Twin National Heritage Cities. The city hosts the Annual International Yoga Festival.
Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary ‘Kedarkhand’ (the present Garhwal). Legend states that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the asura king of Lanka and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present ‘Lakshman Jhula’ stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The ‘Kedarkhand’ of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889. After it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was again restored by the present stronger bridge. Another similar suspension bridge ‘Ram Jhula’ was built in 1986 near Sivananda Ashram.
Rishikesh abounds in natural splendour & the spectacle of river Ganga running through the middle of the city is a feast to the eyes. Here the river leaves the Shivalik Hills in the Himalayas and flows into the plains of northern India. Rishikesh is a bustling temple destination and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. Several temples, ancient and new, are built along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. Shatrughna Mandir, Bharat Mandir, Lakshman Mandir are the ancient temples established by Adi Shankaracharya. Shatrughna Temple is near Ram Jhula and Lakshman Mandir is near Lakshman Jhula.
Rishikesh is at 30.1033680N 78.294754oE. It has an average elevation of 372 metres (1,220 ft) and the Tehri Dam is just 80 Km (50 mi) uphill on the way to Gangotri. Many Ayurvedic centres also run here where classes are given by ayurvedic doctors. According to Koppen-Geiger climate classification system, its climate is humid subtropical (Cwa). It is in the heart of this spectacular city Nirmal Ashram flourishes with all its philanthropic institutions. With the blessings of the Guru, it has carved a niche for itself in Rishikesh. Anyone, who comes to this city for the holy purpose or for spiritual upliftment, a visit to the Ashram & doing selfless sewa here, will be a treat for that individual.