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Get your yoga on in RishikeshRishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

If there's a better place...a more relevant destination in the world to practice yoga than India's Rishikesh, I'd like to see it.

Nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas along the revered Ganges river in the state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is not only one of the most sacred cities in northern India, it's also the birthplace of yoga. Rishikesh has seen a steady stream of devotees since Beatles' John and Paul put down their guitars and laid their mats down here in the late 60s'.

Often referred to as the yoga capital of the world, the tranquil forested slopes in Rishikesh are dotted with ashrams, temples and luxurious spa resorts. Whether you're a novice or wish to improve your techniques under expert tutelage, Rishikesh is your place. When should you go? February to March is International Yoga Week and it gets pretty busy with visiting dignitaries and yoga enthusiasts from all around the globe. Don't visit in May because it's oppressively hot. April to August is hot and rainy and October to March is optimal with temperatures averaging around 32-33°.

And where to go to perfect your downward dog and sun salutation? There's plenty of  ashrams to choose from - Parmarth Niketan (largest in Rishikesh), Sivananda Ashram (free yoga and meditation classes are offered daily), Omkarananda Ganga Sadan (Iyengar yoga classes are the specialty), Yoga Niketan (founded in 1964 by Swami Yogeshwaranand Paramahansa), Sadhana Mandir and Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram (founded in 1966 by Swami Rama, author of Living with the Himalayan Masters), and Phool Chatti (founded in the 1800s).

For those who have overstretched, tweaked a muscle, or are just looking for a traditional medicine to heal their ailment, Rishikesh is also noted for Ayurveda, (considered to be the oldest healing science) and is home to several well know treatment centres and institutions. Ask at your ashram for recommendations.

Yoga doesn't float your boat? Rishikesh is a fascinating place to people watch and is a hive of activity and sights; from sages, yoga practitioners, touts, tourists and pilgrims. Outside the numerous ashrams, Rishikesh is a mecca for adventure sports enthusiasts, offering activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, mountain biking, and rock climbing.

Rishikesh is also the starting point of treks to several Himalayan pilgrimage centers such as Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.


Incredible India 
incredibleindia.org

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Tags: ashrams india, india, rishikesh, Uttarakhand, yoga rishikesh

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