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Rishikesh is a city in Dehradun district of the Indian state Uttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas. Rishikesh is surrounded by three other districts namely Tehri Garhwal,Pauri Garhwal and Haridwar. It is located approximately 25 km north of the city Haridwar and 43 km south west of the state capital Dehradun. The place gets its name after Lord Vishnu. As with Haridwar about an hour south, Rishikesh is considered by Hindus to be a holy city. Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed "the world capital of Yoga", has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. Rafting season starts from the month of March and ends in September.
The Bharat Mandir is one of the major reasons behind the success of Rishikesh as a holy town in India. The temple was established way back in the 8 century by Adiguru Shankaracharya on the banks of the River Ganges. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Rabya Rishi did "Tapasya" at this sight for several days.
The Geeta Bhavan is another prominent temple complex in Rishikesh. It also happens to be one of the oldest temples in the region. The pillars of the temples are very unique as they are engraved with scenes and writings from the popular epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Lakshman Jhula is one of the most important tourist attractions in Rishikesh. The Lakshman Jhula is a hanging bridge that was built in the year 1929. According to mythology Lakshman the younger brother of Lord Ram had crossed the River Ganga on this site. It also acts as a connector to the many temples situated around the region.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is situated on the outskirts of Rishikesh, around 12 km away, is a revered temple, known as ‘Nilkanth Mahadeo’. Perched on top of a hill, at a height of around 1675 m, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Legends say that the venom that oozed out while the ‘Samudra Manthan’ was ingested by Lord Shiva at the place which is now known as the Nilkanth Mahadeo.
Ram Jhula is situated 3 Km north of Rishikesh, Is an iron suspension bridge. It is made over river Ganges to cross the river and is a landmark of Rishikesh. Ram Jhula has been added recentlyconstructed between Shivananda Ashram and Sawargashram. The fresh air and sound of flowing water, the scenic beauty of the region can be seen from the bridge.
Rishikund is a holy tank in Rishikesh located near Triveni Ghat . It is of the most noteworthy tourist attractions in the town. According to popular belief this tank was filled with holy water by Goddess Yamuna. The temple also bears resemblance to the temple of Ragunath, dedicated to Ram and Sita.
Trayambakeshwar Temple, On the east bank of the Ganges at Lakshman Jhula Bridge, is 13 stories high, with different deities throughout.
A dip in the Triveni Ghat is an absolute must for all the visitors to Rishikesh. As the name says Triveni Ghat is a Place where pilgrims take a holy dip in Rishikesh. A dip in the Ghat promises to wash away your sins and purify your soul. There is also a massive Ganga Arti that takes place every evening and pilgrims flock to the place to be a part of the big Puja's held here.