Rishikesh - The yoga capital of the world
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One of our favorite destinations in India is Rishikesh. It lies at the foothills of the Himalaya’s and it is situated next to the Ganges. And o my, the Ganges is so beautiful in this town. It still has a bright ice blue color while in the rest of India it gets browner and browner (dirtier). Rishikesh is also the yoga capital in the world. It is a bit of a spiritual supermarket and not everything is genuine, but you can still find some real sincere teachers and teachings in this town. So if you are stuck in life and you would like to find a deeper meaning than this town will offer plenty of opportunities.
Rishikesh is full of Ashrams, Yoga schools, cute little restaurants and small music gatherings throughout the city. Just be aware that Rishikesh town itself is not worthwhile. The best area to stay is Tapovan or Laxman Jula which is just next to Rishikesh. From there you could walk to Laksman Jula bridge where you can find most shops and restaurants.
Our favorite restaurants in Rishikesh
Another reason to visit Rishikesh would be for the food. You can eat very cheap and delicious at local cafes which you can find everywhere. These are our favorite a bit more western and expensive restaurants:
1. We absolutely love Tavole Conte. It might be the best Italian in India. It was set up by Italians who moved away from Rishikesh but they left it in great hands. The sweet Indian staff does a great job in making the best pizza's in India.
2. Ira's kitchen & tea room is a great healthy option for breakfast. The staff is great and the food is made with love.
3. On of the places we find ourselves regularly is Green Hills. It has nice 60's music in a garden setting, lovely staff and great food.
4. Cafe 1111 has the best coffee in town. They also have amazing little cakes and snacks.
Where to practice yoga and find real spiritual teachers
Rishikesh is full of yoga and teachers and on the walls you will find flyers of spiritual events everywhere. We visited many yoga schools and Guru's and found some amazing teachers. They are not there the whole year but if you come in the best weather conditions you will have a good chance to find them. We absolutely loved the Satsangs from Om Baba and Swami Atmananda. One of our favorite places to do yoga is called Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram.
Where to stay
In Rishikesh you could sleep for 300 rupees (4 USD) per night, however if you
would like some luxury we recommend the Veda 5 Ayurveda and Yoga retreat. The property is well planned and beautifully connected to nature.
The food is really awesome and it is a great place with very nice and caring people. Veda5 is a very quiet place where you come to a complete rest. On booking.com they get an average rating of 9.0.
Best time to visit
The ‘problem’ with Rishikesh is that is has a very short season. From December until January it is cold, although in January you could be lucky. In February the weather gets pleasant, however the end of March it is already unbearably hot. Starting April many tourists start visiting the area and combined with the heat you might want to relocate a bit higher in the Indian Himalaya’s. During the European summer months it is rainy and hot. Another short season starts again from October til November. If you don’t like crowds these are the perfect months to visit.