Outdoor activities in Rishikesh include kayaking, hiking, trekking, rappelling, camping, white-water rafting and rock climbing.
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.
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.
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.