Rishkesh

the city of yogis

Rishikesh

ऋषिकेश / हृषीकेश

Yoganagari (योगनगरी)

County

View of Rishkesh across the Lakshman Jhula Bridge over the Ganges

Uttarakhand state

Dehradun District

Altitude 372 m

- Official Hindi Languages
Sanskrit

Rishikesh ( Hindi : ऋषिकेश; Sanskrit : हृषीकेश) is a town, municipal council and a taluca in the district of Dehradun in the Indian state of Uttarakhand . Situated at the foot of the Himalayas in northern India , it is known as the gateway to the Garhwal region [1] and 'Yoga Capital of the World'. [2] It is approximately 25 km north of Haridwar and 43 km southeast of the state capital, Dehradun . Rishkesh is known as a place of pilgrimage and recognized as one of the holiest places for Hindus . Hindu saints and sages have visited Rishikesh since antiquity in search of higher knowledge. [3]

In September 2015 India's Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma announced that Rishikesh and Haridwar would be given the title of "national heritage twin cities". [4] Due to the religious importance of the place, non-vegetarian food and alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited in Rishikesh. [5]

Etymology

IAST : "Hṛṣīkeśa" ( Sanskrit : हृषीकेश) is a Vishnu name composed of hṛṣīka meaning 'senses' and īśa meaning 'Lord', thus yielding 'Lord of the Senses'. [6] [7] The name celebrates an apparition of Vishnu to Raibhya Rishi as a result of his tapasya (austerities) as Hrishikesha. [8] In the Purana Escada, this area is known as Kubjāmraka (कुब्जाम्रक) after Vishnu appeared under a mango tree . [7] Another legend says that a fierce fire destroyed everything there. Shiva became angry with Agni and cursed him. So Agni prayed there for the atonement of his sins, which gave the place another name: 'Agni Tīrtha' (अग्नि तीर्थ) — the holy place to do the penance of Agni, the fiery deity. [9]

History

View of Rishikesh from the beach.

Rishikesh is part of the legendary 'Kedarkhand' (the division of Garhwal). [10] Legends state that Rama was repentant for killing Ravana , the asura king of Lanka, and Lakshmana , his younger brother, crossed the Ganges at a certain point, now known as Lakshman Jhula (लक्ष्मण झूला), where he is currently located. the bridge, making a crossing with jute rigging. [11]

The sacred River Ganges flows through Rishikesh. Here the river leaves the Shivalik mountain range in the Himalayas and heads for the plains of northern India. Several Hindu temples, both old and new, stand on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. As with Haridwar , Rishikesh is considered by Hindus to be a holy city, vegetarian by law. Meat and alcohol are not served in the city. [12]