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Rishikesh is the gateway to the Himalayas in the Tehri-Garhwal region of Uttarakhand in Northern India. The natural splendour and the spectacle of the holy river Ganges rushing through the Himalayan foot hills is an awesome sight. Rishikesh is a very holy place and there are many temples and Ashrams where it is believed that yogis and sages of ancient times lived and practiced penance here. Rishikesh is located at the height of 1360 feet above sea level.

The sacred river Ganga {anglicized to Ganges} flows through Rishikesh. In fact, it is here that the river leaves the Shivalik Mountains {Himalayas} and flows out on to the plains of Northern India. There are many temples, both ancient and new, to be found along the banks of the river in Rishikesh. The city attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year, from within India as well as from other countries. The city has several Yoga and Ayurveda centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of salvation, or Mokhsha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. It is also becoming a popular destination for white water rafting enthusiasts, from both India and abroad, as it offers medium to rough rapids in the Ganges, upstream of Rishikesh.

The Laxman Jhula, a 450 feet long suspension bridge, was built in 1939 and the ‘new’ bridge at Ram Jhula in 1986. The Ganges abounds in fish and it is traditional to offer puffed rice which is sold by children along the riverbanks and on the bridges. The freshness of the Himalayan mountain air, the sound of flowing water, the scenic beauty of the region and the distant sound of prayer bells create an unforgettable experience for those who visit this ancient pilgrimage town.

Aarti Cermony
Aarti is a traditional ceremony performed at dusk in the temples or on the ghats beside the holy river. ‘Deepas’ (the oil or ghee lamps) are offered to God accompanied by prayers, mantras and chants. Aarti can be performed for a deity in the temple or on the banks of Ganges to the holy mother Ganga. The essence of the ceremony is that all day long God offers us light – the light of sun, the light of life, the light of his (her) blessings. Aarti is the time when we say “thank you” and we offer back the light of our love and the light of our devotion. We realize that the small deepa is nothing compared to the divine light, which shines on us all day.

Ganga River
The River Ganges that flows through Rishikesh has always been known as a religious icon in the world. It flows over 1557 miles passing through the holy cities of Haridwar and Varanasi as it makes its long journey to Kolkata and the Bay of Bengal. It is a very spiritual river and is relied upon by the people of India who dwell in the surroundings of its life-giving course. The holy river is used for cultivation, industry, as an energy source, for transportation; drinking and bathing as well as being the main focus for religious ceremonies, in fact it it said that over 10 million people bathe in the river daily to cleanse their soul.