Styled as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World,' Rishikesh is adorned with eternity and spiritualism. Perched at the foothills of the Himalayan Shivaliks in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, it serves as the year-round magnet to all the spiritual seekers across the globe. The exquisite setting of the main town, the magnificence of the fast-flowing Ganges, the mysticism of forested hills, the crowd of the downtown area and the breathtaking escapades, define this holy city at its best. Rightly referred as the ‘Gateway to Garhwal Himalayas,' Rishikesh enchants the visitors with its innate piety and natural bliss. It is the corridor to the ultimate pilgrimage of the Hindus, the Char Dham Yatra; Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. Dotted with innumerable spiritual ashrams, Rishikesh catapulted to the Western fame, when Beatles visited the place and immersed themselves into the yogic retreats of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram. The place offers a contrasting possibility of peaceful holiness and adventurous engagements. Plan a trip to Rishikesh and decide your own preference.
Surrounded by the majestic Shivalik Hills on one side and the mighty Ganges River on the other, Haridwar exudes a mysterious charm that goes further than its reputation as a renowned pilgrimage center. This holy city in Uttarakhand attracts millions of tourists and pilgrims every year. The chaotic streets and the crowded banks of the river, with throngs of people taking a dip to wash away their sins, radiate a certain energy that is hard to miss. For Hindus, Haridwar is one of the most sacred cities, home to several temples such as Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Maya Devi Temple and many more. The sacred Ghat of Har Ki Pauri is the site where the evening prayers and the much anticipated Kumbh Mela is held. The presence of thousands of diyas floating in the river, is a sight to behold. On the other hand, the city is developing at a fast rate parallel to its religious importance, with the establishment of a number of educational and scientific institutions. Numerous yoga ashrams uphold and promote the spiritual and physical discipline of yoga.
Known as the world’s oldest and continually inhabited city, Varanasi is a time-honoured city of spiritual bliss and historic remnants. The city is marked with a labyrinth of narrow alleyways lined with houses, myriad of shops, innumerable holy Ghats, crowded streets, heritage monuments and age-revered temples. Varanasi offers a spiritual charm along with the essence of a simple and ritualistic lifestyle. It is a unique example of ‘Unity in diversity’ from the religious point of view; the multi-religious aspect of the place will astonish you. The ethereal blaze of the evening aarti along the banks of River Ganges is a mesmerizing sight. Behold the glory of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Annapurna Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat, Benares Hindu University, Ramnagar Fort and Museum and many more heritage sites. Soak in the holistic eternity that this old city adorns. Discover the spiritual activities and erstwhile grandeur of the city. If you are planning for a city tour, do keep Varanasi on your to-visit list, and unfold the mystical resplendence of the city.