Rishikesh’s most-coveted area, Swargashram sits right on the Ganges and is packed with spiritual and yoga ashrams. It’s the best place to stay if you wouldn’t mind filling your free time with long lazy walks along the river. Lined up on the river bank, the area’s three most well-known ashrams are Swargashram, Geeta Bhawan, and Vanaprastha ashram. The famous evening Ganga prayers (Ganga Aarti) on the river, are offered here at the Parmarth Niketan ashram. You must also at some point pay a visit to the world-renowned Beatles Ashram, a short walk away from Parmarth Niketan. The small dome-shaped cottages here were once occupied by the world-famous band, who visited Rishikesh in 1968 to attend a meditation course.
You’ll find plenty of cafes here with western food menus and quiet places to work, but if you like mango samosas, the best place to go is The Office, which also serves health muesli bowls on a small balcony overlooking the river. The usually quiet cafe is run by a father-daughter duo and has some desks where one can work peacefully. You could also visit one of the many Ayurvedic massage centers here, the best being “Kalptaru Ayurvedshala”, where the masseuse Geeta customizes massage as per your body. Just behind Swargashram street is Jonk Village, where there is an unconventional vibe. Mostly foreigners live here long-term as the village offers lots of budget guesthouses, cafes that serve home-cooked Indian meals, and yoga ashrams.
Cheena Kapoor is a Delhi-based independent journalist and photographer focusing on a broad range of topics, including travel.
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