If there’s a better place in the world to practice yoga than India’s Rishikesh, we’d like to see it.
Set at the foothills of the Himalayas 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 the Beatles’ John and Paul put down their guitars and spread out their mats here in the late 1960s.
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 looking to improve your techniques under expert tutelage, this is the place to get bent into shape.
Where to go to perfect your downward dog and sun salutation? There’s plenty of ashrams to choose from. Parmarth Niketan is the largest in Rishikesh, Sivananda Ashram has free yoga and meditation classes daily, Omkarananda Ganga Sadan specialise in Iyengar yoga, and Phool Chatti was founded in the 1800s so has stood the test of time.
For those who have overstretched, tweaked a muscle or are just looking for a traditional medicine to heal their ailment, Rishikesh is also home to several Ayurvedic treatment centres. Ask at your ashram for recommendations.
If yoga doesn’t balance your chakras, Rishikesh is also great for adventure sports enthusiasts, with activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing all on offer. Plus, it’s the starting point for treks several pilgrimage centres.