Rishikesh, known as the “Gateway to the Himalayas” and more recently as the Yoga Capital of the World is where the ancient sages and saints traveled from far and wide to meditate upon the banks of the river Ganga, which is the lifeblood of this sacred town. To this day it has been sought after by those who are in search of a higher knowledge, these seekers make Rishikesh their place to begin the journey within.
In February 1968, the Beatles visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram A.K.A Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh, attracted by his Transcendental Meditation. The Beatles composed numerous songs during their time at the ashram, many of which appear on the band’s self-titled double album, also known as the “White Album”. Since then numerous travelers have journeyed to Rishikesh as Yoga spread around the globe.
Rishikesh touts many sacred temples like Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, which is dedicated to lord Shiva (also called Neelkanth), along with Vashishtha Gufa (the ancient cave of Sage Vashishtha) and Kunjapuri Temple which is another a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Parvati (Consort to lord Shiva).
Rishikesh is well known for the daily worship of the river Ganges known as Ganga Arati which takes place every evening on the banks of the river at ghats (designated bathing areas) such as the Triveni ghat and Parmarti Niketan. As the sun begins to set, these ghats are filled by local people and travelers alike to join in the chanting of mantras, meditating and offering flowers and lamps into the flowing river with prayers for protection, guidance and grace.
Located within the Greater Himalayan Range in the state of Uttarakhand, is the holy town of Gangotri, a popular place of pilgrimage forming part of the Char Dham Yatra. Gangotri is known as the abode of the goddess Ganga, who manifests as the sacred river Ganges which nurtures the entire Northern India. According to Hindu legend, it was here that Goddess Ganga descended to the Earth when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair. The river flowing from the glacial source (Gomukh) is called Bhagirathi and is an important tributary of Ganga. Bhagirathi river acquires the name Ganga once it passes Devprayag at its confluence with the Alaknanda river.
Gomukh, also known as “Gaumukh” is the snout of the Gangotri Glacier and the source of the river Ganges. Situated at a height of 13,200 ft (4,023 m) 18 km from Gangotri town is a two day trekking destination. The trek offers a beautiful 360 degree panorama.
Bhojbasa is the only base camp on this trek, situated approximately 4-5 km before the Gomukh glacier. Trekkers usually stay there for two nights on the way up and on the way back down from the glacier.