Rishikesh is considered to be one of the most sacred cities in India, next only to Haridwar. Nestled amidst the beautiful Himalayas and piously intercepted by the mystic Ganges, this place is considered to be the sacred spot where one can attain salvation. This holy city also serves as the centre of several ancient Hindu temples and many other sacred shrines. Some of the places in Rishikesh worth visiting are Bharat Temple, Neelkanth Mahadev, Laxman Temple, Laxman Jhula, Ram Jhula and Swarga-Ashram.
Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary ‘Kedarkhand’ (the present day Garhwal).Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present ‘Lakshman Jhula’ (लक्ष्मण झूला) bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The ‘Kedar Khand’ of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889, and after it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced by a stronger present bridge.
The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is also getting attention as a centre for rafting and trekking.