Ever since the Beatles visited the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late ’60s, Rishikesh has been a magnet for spiritual seekers. Today it styles itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, with masses of ashrams and all kinds of yoga and meditation classes. The action is mostly north of the main town, where the exquisite setting on the fast-flowing Ganges River, surrounded by forested hills, is conducive to meditation and mind expansion. Rishikesh is not all spirituality and contorted limbs, it’s also a popular white-water rafting center, backpacker hang-out and Himalayan-trekking gateway.
Perched on a ridge 2km high, the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ vies with Nainital as Uttarakhand’s favorite holiday destination. When the mist clears, views of the green Doon Valley and the distant white-capped Himalayan peaks are superb, and in the hot months the cooler temperatures and fresh mountain air make a welcome break from the plains below.
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