Ever since the Beatles budged up at the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late ‘1960s, Rishikesh has been a loadstone for spiritual finders. Today it called itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, with masses of ashrams and all kinds of yoga, meditation, and spiritual classes. Most of this action is north of the main town, where the delicate setting on the fast-flowing Ganges, surrounded by forest and hills, is favorable to meditation and mind elaboration. In the evening, an almost supernatural breeze shed down the valley, setting temple bells ringing as sadhus (‘holy’ men), pilgrims and tourists prepare for the nightly Ganga aarti (river worship ceremony). You can learn to play the sitar or tabla; try Hasya yoga (laughter therapy), practice meditation or take a punt on crystal healing.
The Himalayas holds deep spiritual and cultural value for local Hindus. Mountains and sacred rivers set the scene for yoga and reflective hikes, and rafting here is an absolute must.
Rishikesh Photo Gallery: