The city of Rishikesh resonates far and wide beyond the borders of India and into the hearts and minds of every Yoga and Adventure Sports follower of the world. It is also a holy city with numerous Ashrams and is also considered to be the Yoga Capital of the World. The city holds a one-week-long International Yoga Festival in the month of March every year. Rishikesh is also the starting point for the Char Dham Pilgrimage – a Hindu pilgrimage that covers the hilly towns of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
Rishikesh is situated at an average elevation of about 372 meters above sea level in the foothills of the Himalayan range of mountains. The city enjoys largely pleasant weather throughout the year. Since it is situated amidst the hills, temperatures in Rishikesh do not tend to reach the extremes. Due to its continental weather, temperatures in the city are at an average of 35 degrees Celsius in the summer while the temperature range in the winter is from 22 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius.
The Climate in Rishikesh
The city of Rishikesh experiences a pleasing climate in the whole year with temperatures in a range of 6 degrees Celsius – the lowest in Winter – and 39 degrees Celsius – the highest in Summer. The average range of temperatures is between 29 degrees and 16 degrees Celsius for the year in Rishikesh. The following are the details of temperature ranges in the town throughout the year:
- January: Average high and low of 17 degrees and 6 degrees Celsius respectively
- February: Average high and low of 22 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius respectively
- March: Average high and low of 29 degrees and 14 degrees Celsius respectively
- April: Average high and low of 35 degrees and 18 degrees Celsius respectively
- May: Average high and low of 39 degrees and 23 degrees Celsius respectively
- June: Average high and low of 38 degrees and 25 degrees Celsius respectively
- July: Average high and low of 33 degrees and 25 degrees Celsius respectively
- August: Average high and low of 32 degrees and 24 degrees Celsius respectively
- September: Average high and low of 32 degrees and 23 degrees Celsius respectively
- October: Average high and low of 30 degrees and 15 degrees Celsius respectively
- November: Average high and low of 25 degrees and 9 degrees Celsius respectively
- December: Average high and low of 20 degrees and 6 degrees Celsius respectively
The Seasons in Rishikesh
Seasons in Rishikesh are divided into 3 parts, with Summer, Monsoon and Winter seasons.
Summer begins in the month of March and ends late in the month of June. Average high and low temperatures in this time are 35 degrees Celsius and 20 degrees Celsius. Summers are hot in the day while turning pleasing in the evenings.
Monsoon starts in the month of July and ends in the month of September. Rishikesh experiences moderate to heavy rains during this time and temperature can range from 32 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius.
October marks the beginning of Winter in the town of Rishikesh and it extends until the end of February every year. The temperatures in winter tend to stay in the range of 19 degrees Celsius to 6 degrees Celsius. However, during winter nights, temperatures can drop much lower to sub-zero levels during the peak time of mid-December to the end of January.
What You Can do in Rishikesh during Summer
In the summer months of March, April, May, and June, visitors to Rishikesh can enjoy activities like:
- Parasailing – Parasailing is best enjoyed in Rishikesh due to a favorable terrain, weather, affordable rates and the chance to kiss the sky along with a thrilling experience. This adventure can be tried throughout the year except in the monsoon as it is cloudy during this time.
- Beach Camping along with a Bonfire – Summer is the time for a camping experience along the banks of the river Ganga and a bonfire to complement the setup. Just as you set the mood and hum that tune while playing the guitar, you realize that life is nothing but a sweet song indeed. The best time to hum that tune while camping is during the summer and winter months, with rains playing spoilsport during Monsoon.
In Summer, the prices of everything in Rishikesh are lower as compared to the peak season of winter when there is more rush of tourists and prices are higher due to a spurt in demand.
During this time, a night’s stay in a cottage or resort will cost an average of rupees 2000, if you opt for a budget category place. For higher-end resorts, be prepared to shell out over 4000 rupees for a night. Likewise, the cost of a meal is also between 300-500 rupees for two persons.
A return ticket from Delhi to Rishikesh will cost you about 800 to 1100 rupees depending on whether you travel by train or bus. Trains stop at Haridwar from Delhi, which means that you need to catch a taxi or a local bus to cover the 23 km distance between Haridwar and Rishikesh.
What You Can do in Rishikesh during Monsoon
Many activities in Rishikesh are not open to the public in the Monsoon months of July, August, and September. Activities which can be done in these months include:
- Wildlife Sighting – Rajaji National Park near Rishikesh is the home of Bengal Tigers and Asiatic Elephants with the Monsoon season making the place quite beautiful and full of greenery. You can book a guided jeep tour in this park and enjoy the experience of sighting these animals in the wilderness.
- Tree Jumaring – Tree Jumaring is an activity of climbing trees using a rope via Jumars which are clamps attached to a free-moving handle. It is a unique adventure to do in Rishikesh and its effect is compounded by the lush greenery of the town during Monsoon.
However, activities like parasailing, trekking, mountain biking, river rafting, and camping with bonfire cannot be enjoyed at this time of the year in Rishikesh due to rains playing spoilsport and cloud cover over the city.
Prices of everything in the city during the Monsoon season is lower as compared to that in the peak season of winter when hordes of tourists from India and abroad descend to the city. If you are traveling in a group, you might as well strike a bargain due to the lesser number of visitors and partial closure of tourist attractions.
What You Can do in Rishikesh during Winter
Rishikesh in Winter is a traveler’s paradise with most visitors preferring the cooler months of October, November, December, and January to plan their activities in the city.
Since winter is the peak time for tourists to arrive in Rishikesh, all activities in the city function in full swing to engross visitors in their quest for adventure, relaxation, thrill, and devotion. These include:
- Mountain Biking – If you are a mountain biking junkie, then there are numerous terrains and tour operators that offer great bikes to play this adventure sport. Mountain biking can be tried at all times of the year except Monsoon
- Trekking – Be it a waterfall trek or a nature trek amidst Jungles, Rishikesh is home to a number of treks. This is great for hiking enthusiasts as well as nature lovers but is best to be avoided during the Monsoon season
Rishikesh can be enjoyed to the fullest at this time of the year. Prices in the city increase to their yearly highs due to the high influx of tourists and demand for adventure sports and services. Expect to pay up to 50% more as compared to prices in the Summer, be it food, accommodation or adventure sports and activities
What You Can do in Rishikesh Anytime of the Year
Many activities in Rishikesh are available at all times of the year. These include:
- A Visit to the Lakshman Jhula – Lakshman Jhula is known as one of the most iconic places in Rishikesh and connects one side of the town with the other across the river Ganga. Shopping at local markets near this area is also popular among tourists.
- Bunjee Jumping – Bunjee jumping is one of the most thrilling experiences that can be enjoyed with a group of friends. The heart-pounding adrenaline rush that you feel as you lose yourself in the air from an over 80-meter height is indescribable.
- Cliff Jumping – Rishikesh, being part of the Shivalik range of hills and mountains, boasts of numerous cliffs with varying heights and along the river Ganga. Touted as one of the most adventurous activities in Rishikesh, Cliff jumping can be done by beginners and experts alike.
- Rock Climbing – Rappelling and Rock Climbing test your will power and strength to the maximum but can be easily performed by beginners as well as enthusiasts.
- Kayaking – The Shivpuri region in Rishikesh is famous for kayaking and also boasts of Kayaking training schools for beginners. Anyone with a knack for thrill along with a flair for a lesser adrenaline pumping activity can opt for a kayaking session
- Ayurvedic Massages – When it comes to the best practices of Ayurveda, Rishikesh is the holy grail among all places. If you are keen to explore out-of-the-world serenity and relaxation, then Ayurvedic Massages in Rishikesh is your best bet at any time of the year. These are offered at Ayurveda Bhavan, Ananda in the Himalayas, Hemadri Ayurveda Centre, and Braham yoga and healing center.
- Meditation Sessions – Meditation and Yoga are considered to be the soul of Rishikesh and the holy city is therefore called the Yoga Capital of the World. Meditation in Rishikesh is one of the best ways to rejuvenate your body and soul. Sivananda Ashram, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, and Shree Mahesh Heritage School are among the best places to experience the journey of meditation.
- Yoga Retreats and Teacher Training- Rishikesh is well-known for its Yoga Retreats and Yoga Teacher Training Courses, which are attended by visitors from across the globe. If you devour Yoga and swear by its effectiveness to enhance your body and soul, then Yoga Retreat sessions and 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh are the places to visit.
- Hot Air Balloon – Riding a hot air balloon is among the best activities to enjoy the cool breeze above the incredible city of Rishikesh. This activity can be enjoyed with family as there are no pre-conditions of age and fitness.
- A Visit to the Ganga Aarti – If you want to taste the vibrant Hindu customs and culture in the holy city of Rishikesh, then a visit to the Gange Aarti is a must on your list. Visit Triveni Ghat in from 6 pm to 7 pm in the evening to be a part of Ganga Aarti which is characterized by thousands of incensed lamps lit along the bank of the river Ganga.
- A Visit to the Beatles Ashram – One of the offbeat things to do in Rishikesh is a visit to the Beatles Ashram. This ashram has gained popularity due to the members of the Beatles Band who learned transcendental meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh
What is the Peak Season in Rishikesh?
The peak season in Rishikesh starts from mid-October and goes on till the end of February each year. This is the time when a large number of revelers come to the town in search for thrills, adventure, peace, relaxation and also for some soul-searching activities.
In this time of the year, tourists can enjoy Rishikesh to the hilt due to the favorable climate and multitude of available activities. Prices are higher than the usual but is still not expected to hurt your pocket by a large amount. Overall, the holy city of Rishikesh is at its Yogic, Meditative and Adventurous best during the peak winter season of the year.
Which Time is the Cheapest and Best to Enjoy?
The cheapest and best time to enjoy Rishikesh is around the time of Monsoon and towards the end of Summer as you can skip the high heat of the peak summer season while also enjoying the rains in Monsoon. However, if you are a River Rafting enthusiast, then Monsoon is the time when this activity is not open for the public. Other activities and living expenses during monsoon are available at a much cheaper rate – the cheapest in the year – in Rishikesh due to lack of demand as river rafters stay away from the city.
Overall if you are looking for a cheap vacation to Rishikesh and done mind skipping the rafting activity, then Monsoon is the best time to enjoy the other attractions Rishikesh has to offer.
What is the Best Time to Do Yoga Retreat in Rishikesh?
Yoga Retreat in Rishikesh is famous all over the world for its soul lifting experience and the ability to enlighten your inner self. The city comprises of hundreds of Ashrams and Yoga Retreats that offer different Yoga styles that can completely alter your attitude to living, in general. However, the scorching heat of the peak summer season, as well as the extreme chill of the winter season are best to be avoided when it comes to traveling to Rishikesh for a Yoga Retreat as most accommodations do not have heating facilities.
The best time to do Yoga Retreat in Rishikesh is in the months of September/October/November or the months of February/March/April. These months provide an opportune buffer between the high heat and cold winter of the city and represent an ideal climate suitable to the Yogic routine. During this time, you can opt for umpteen places that offer courses ranging from 2 to 8 days, offering meditation, purification and learning practices along with a discourse on Ayurveda, diet, philosophy, and pranayama. If you are planning to come between May to August OR December/January, make sure school/ashram has AC or Heater options available. May and June are quite hot in Rishikesh and alternatively, you can also do your yoga retreat in Dharamsala during these months.
Rishikesh as a destination offers a perfect blend of leisure, relaxation, adventurous and spiritual activities due to its multifaceted nature and popularity.
Be it a yoga retreat, bungee jumping, learning music, meditation, cooking or astrology, this spiritual town has no dearth of activities you can do while enjoying every bit of the experience. It is not for nothing that Rishikesh is called the Spiritual and Yoga Capital of the World.
Do let us know which month you liked the most to visit Rishikesh in the comment section below.