Rishikesh is an incredible place to visit. As so many people have been coming to the area for spiritual pursuits and pilgrimages, there are also a lot of other things popping up. For example, there are incredible restaurants and cafes. Plenty of healthy vegan options and things to do that will fill your soul up. Here are some of the suggested places to eat and things to do while you’re visiting Rishikesh.
Where to Eat in Rishikesh
There are a lot of food options here. You can go with local cuisine or enjoy the cheap eats at Mango Tree Garden. There is European food and pizza made in brick ovens. Many of the places have a wonderful view of the Ganges and you can enjoy a patio setting to take in the stunning beauty. Here are some of the top favorite places.
The Sitting Elephant
Firstly, the Sitting Elephant is in a beautiful setting. You have a view of the hills and you can watch the holy Ganga flow on by. The restaurant has an open rooftop and the décor is designed with attributes of an elephant. There are many different kinds of cuisine here. The food is moderately priced and it has a great atmosphere.
This organic café is also an activity center. It’s a coffee shop that offers vegetarian/vegan food. If you’re looking for some good vibes along with good food, this is a great place to come. You might feel like you want to spend the whole afternoon here just chilling out.
Free Spirit Café
The prices here are reasonable and people rave about the Yogi tea and coffee. It has wonderful views and warm staff. It has a relaxed feel to it and people particularly enjoy the homemade pita bread with falafel and hummus. The Indian dishes are also said to be out of this world.
Jal and Jalebi
Jal and Jalebi is your more high end restaurant in Rishikesh. The location is incredible and you’ll enjoy the garden that surrounds the whole restaurant. It’s recommended that you sample many dishes as they’re all unique and incredible. The staff is friendly and attentive. An out-of-this-world cuisine experience that shouldn’t be missed.
A Tavola Con Te Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
Two Italians founded this restaurant and pizza is highly authentic. They also have authentic pastas that are out of this world. They have a wood fired oven that they make the pizza in. A truly incredible menu and you won’t believe you’re in India when you try the food.
If you’re looking for a truly unique and authentic dining experience, visit Ayurpak. It’s an Ayurveda based restaurant in a home stay. They serve food for the yoga centers in the area and are well-known in the area. It’s family run and when you come here, you’ll feel like family too. The food is traditional and healthy based on Ayurvedic concepts. The food is cooked in ghee and they grow their own herbs. There is no prepackaged food here or artificial flavors. They cook the food in front of you too so you can see the magic happen.
What to do in Rishikesh
There are many things to do for the adventurer and spiritual crowd. Make sure you take a walking tour around Rishikesh to take it all in. If you get a private guide, you’ll learn a lot more about the significance of certain sites. They will take you to the markets, ashrams, and temples.
Visit Sacred Spots
There are some incredible places here that have great historical value. Here are some of the recommended spots:
The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram – This is where the Beatles spent their time when they came to Rishikesh in the 1960’s. Today, it’s slightly run down but still a secluded, peaceful place to spend some time and meditate.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple – This temple sits on top of 1330 meter high hill. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, a must see.
‘aarti’ – This isn’t a sacred spot per se but it’s something to see. This devotional fire ritual is in honor of the goddess Ganga. These ceremonies, which include singing and dancing are done near the river and devotees will release lanterns onto the water.
Experience Adrenaline-Based Activities
On the other end of the spectrum, people will often come to Rishikesh for the adventure activities.
Shivpuri – White water rafting area with beautiful beaches.
Bungy Jumping, Flying Fox, Canyon Swings – the company ‘Jumpin Heights’ offers you a bunch of adrenaline-filled adventures. You can do just one or you can purchase a package and do it all.
Yoga and Meditation
In Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, there are many different options for where you can do yoga or meditate. Many have come here to do their yoga teacher training. The lessons you learn here will certainly deepen your practice. There is no other place like it if you’re looking to do meditation and yoga. Just one example is the famous Parmeth Niketan which is one of the top yoga centers in India. It is a massive ashram that has 1,000 rooms on it’s eight-acre campus.
Both yoga and meditation tend to come together here in terms of ashrams. Also, any yoga classes you attend are sure to incorporate meditation as it’s an essential part of the practice. There is Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa, and a variety of mixtures. You can also go to meditation retreats at ashrams. When you get here, you can bounce around and see what feels right for you. Alternatively, if there’s a yoga teacher school that has caught your interest, book in advance.
Rishikesh has many wonderful things to offer. The food is excellent, and many restaurants cater to those on the yogic path. It is natural and beautiful with mountains that surround it with the sacred Ganges River running through. You can lounge in a restaurant and stare out at the river all day. Watch rafters go by or even be on the raft watching people in the restaurants. You can just take your time and explore the wonder, beauty, and historical significance.