The human adventure expresses itself in ever-more diverse ways, with all kinds of boundaries that separate people dissolving all the time. More people travel now than ever before. It is a 'rite of passage' for many; it has become a way of life for some. People carry with them their ideas, their experiences, their culture. A great deal of sharing happens "on the road", and that is part of the point. So many travelers nowadays have a special talent or knowledge- some carry music instruments and look for chances to play with or for others. Others draw, paint, take pictures, write, or do something else very well. Some quiet types play the passive observer, 'the witness', as it were. But everyone has their own viewpoint and therefore something valid to share, and conversation is the main medium of exchange.
We wish to connect people through their various experiences of this special place, here online and through our magazine which has been published in its first edition for 2014. You are invited to take part as you like- by sharing with us any information you feel can be included on this site - a volunteer program, event, teaching, or whatnot -, by contributing something you have written, or by attending some event you have heard about here and giving us feedback on it.
Rishikesh is a small and friendly city in Uttarakhand, just 25 kilometers north of Haridwar in the foothills of the Himalayas of northern India. The main attraction here is the River Ganges, known in India as the Ganga. It is a holy city for Hindus (as is Haridwar) every year receiving many thousands of pilgrims. Rishikesh is the historical starting point for traveling to the four sites that form the Char Dham pilgrimage — Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri, and so it is known as the "Gateway to the Himalayas." Rishikesh has been on the hippy backpacker circuit since the late 1960s when the Beetles famously visited and made it known around the world. Today it is considered to be one of the best places in North India for backpackers to hang out, with many staying much longer than they had intended, especially in the Spring and Autumn 'high seasons' when the weather is good.
Rishikesh has become a meeting point for all types of people from all countries of the world. Many come here to study something, and there are many things here to study, or to attend Satsangs, but some come just to hang out and enjoy the peaceful vibrations. The vibe on the street is ultra-relaxed and friendly. Rishikesh has always been a spiritual centre, a crossroads for encounters on a higher level than the mundane, and perhaps because of this legacy a certain clarity of thought may still be perceived here today. For a little more historical background info, click here to read an article from our magazine.
The best time to visit Rishikesh is after mid-February when the routes to the north open up and a trek is possible to the upper reaches of the Himalayas, until November when it starts to get cold. But be aware of the very hot weather that comes starting mid-April or so, and the monsoon which runs from July to September. If you don't mind a little rain, the monsoon can be a good time to visit, and experience the place as it is without all the tourists. For white-water rafting, the main seasons are from September to middle of December and from mid-February till April, when the weather is generally more mild. The scenery around Rishikesh is quite beautiful, and many good walks can be easily made. The hills are green, and vegetation is lush. One can walk on the sandy beaches and experience the beauty of the river and the mountains. The air is crisp and devoid of the pollution that permeates India's larger cities.