Our private jet was a very important part of our trip. Most of the legs were less than 30 minutes, compared to six to 10 hours if we traveled by road. Overall, we had a fantastic trip to a new country for us. Remote Lands never fails!
A little town in the northern state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh overlooks the Ganges as it flows down from the Himalayas. Sporting beautiful, sweeping views of the curving, winding river, Rishikesh is surrounded on all sides by a series of jagged mountains and lush, verdant forest. Due to its location, Rishikesh is known as the gateway to the Himalayas, and is a starting point for a number of sacred pilgrimages. One such pilgrimage was famously undertaken by the Beatles, who arrived in Rishikesh in 1968 to meditate, study, and gain inspiration for their work - in the process, forever altering Western perceptions of Indian spirituality.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
Attend the Ganga Aarti, a daily evening ritual performed at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, situated on the banks of the Ganges. This 1.5-hour ritual starts with a holy fire ceremony called a yagna, which involves offering a mixture of different herbs with clarified butter (ghee) to the fire while chanting mantras in order to purify the surrounding environment. The guru, or Master, sings prayers and lights small lamps in welcoming and thanking the Ganges for being the source of life and prosperity for this region.
Tather than a single ashram, or religious complex, Swarg is a series of ashrams, guesthouses, temples, shops and bathing ghats. Situated at he foot of the Himalayas, it is considered the spiritual “ground zero” of Rishikesh.
The 13-story high Trayambakeshwar Temple is a large, colorful structure which recalls Himalayan architectural styles in its tiled roofs, flapping, multicolored flags, and tall spires. A temple of the Hindu faith, Trayambakeshwar is filled with murtis, or intricate, detailed images of Hindu gods and goddesses, usually carved from wood or cast in various metals.
Outdoor activities in Rishikesh include kayaking, hiking, trekking, rappelling, camping, white-water rafting and rock climbing.
Perhaps because of its scenic location and peaceful ambience, Rishikesh is home to a high concentration of yoga schools and academies; it is the self-proclaimed "Yoga Capital of the World." As such, visitors can choose from a huge range of instruction in various settings, from large, live-in schools with hundreds of students to smaller centers with more personalized instruction. One yoga school and ashram (now defunct) in Rishikesh once hosted the Beatles.
Ananda Spa and Resort
Of the numerous ashrams and yoga schools in Rishikesh, Ananda Spa and Resort is perhaps the finest, blending ancient Indian sciences and modern Western treatments. The staff at Ananda will match your individual needs in a variety of disciplines, from Rishikesh yoga and Vedanta, or ancient Hindu philosophies governing life and well-being, to Ayurvedic, or traditional Indian, medicine. In addition, Ananda features 24 treatment rooms and a team of qualified nutrionists, yoga instructors, western and Ayurvedic physicians, and spa therapists. You can also meet with a resident nutritionist and learn about how you can improve your overall wellbeing through minor changes to your diet.
Make your way from New Delhi to the foothills of the majestic Himalayas on this exciting 10-day luxury tour, taking you to Shimla where you’ll check out interesting architecture and stay at the beautiful Wildflower Hall, and on to Rishikesh for its great outdoors and holistic experiences.
Take a private jet through the world’s highest peaks - the Himalayas - on this incredible 11-day luxury India tour. You’ll jet into New Delhi, over to Shimla to stay in its stunning Wildflower Hall, onto Rishikesh for yoga and meditation at a luxury spa resort, ending in Darjeeling for an exclusive tea tasting.
Ananda in the Himalayas
Rishikesh is the yoga capital of the world, and the best of its myriad schools and ashrams is undoubtedly Ananda. Once a maharajah’s palace, today it is a luxurious, seventy-five room spa and resort overlooking the Ganges Valley. Each of its rooms and suites feature wireless internet, televisions, walk-in closets, safes, climate control, and terraces with commanding views of the Ganges Valley. Ananda’s signature restaurant offers a rotating menu of light meals from Indian, Asian, and Western cuisines; a tree-top deck where guests can savor views of the nearby river; and a quiet, comfortable tea lounge that evokes the genteel, nostalgic days of the British Raj. Amenities include a gym and spa, and, of course, individual and group yoga sessions – available in a number of indoor and outdoor locations. Located in the countryside outside the town, Ananda is a short, half-hour drive from Rishikesh.
Please note that children under the age of 14 are not allowed at Ananda Spa and Resort.