I Visited Rishikesh India Where Yoga Was Birthed — Here’s Why You Should Go

Why you should visit Rishikesh India

I’m not a big yogi. In fact, I rarely travel to places to specifically downward dog. However, after a few stressful months, I checked into a retreat in the Himalayas (Ananda Spa) for holistic realignment and meditating for a week, where yoga was included. The retreat was truly a transformative experience, and Ananda — in Rishikesh, India where yoga was born — is unforgettable (even Oprah approves.)

But the awakening didn’t stop at Ananda, which is perched on the hills of the Himalayas. I felt even more magic when I explored the village of Rishikesh, right at the foot of the hills.

Now, if you’re going to India, invest in a durable travel duffle. I got Gonex because it’s affordable and fashionable, but you can see other types and styles on Amazon.

The village of Rishikesh is nestled along the Ganges River, considered one of the most sacred rivers in India. The small, intimate village of Rishikesh has long been a place to unwind, relax and, most specifically, tap into your spiritual side. Allegedly, yoga was birthed here, and through the dawn of time, Rishikesh has since become a soulful, holistic-minded place where travelers the world over come to retune themselves.

The beautiful colors of Rishikesh, where yoga was born.
The beautiful colors of Rishikesh, where yoga was born.

The Beatles famously came to Rishikesh in the late sixties to meditate, which put Rishikesh on the map on a global scale— and also influenced the band’s later albums. Everyone knows The Beatles’ music went from fun rock to a more meditated, deep sound that revolved around peace and love and spiritual, hippie flare, so I’m not surprised they chose to come here. Rishikesh is somewhat secluded, and it thrives on great energy and healing. On a typical visit, travelers can tap into their inner *everything* in an effortless way.

Ananda in the Himalayas, looking over Rishikesh.
Ananda in the Himalayas, looking over Rishikesh.

So why should you visit Rishikesh India?

While Rishikesh is a little crazy in that way you find other parts of India, it’s not as congested. In fact, it’s an authentic village town where the skies are clear, the good energy is felt everywhere and it’s far from the maddening crowds. People who come here come to escape, so it feels special.

Even before The Beatles made it famous, yogic-minded Indians would become yogis or meditation masters in Rishikesh, and it’s a stomping ground for those who have a good amount of spirituality in their lives.

The Beatles in Rishikesh.
The Beatles in Rishikesh.

Rishikesh sees a steady stream of travelers, but I was told there was much more foot traffic because the world has been so insane the past few months (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, 45), which has brought negative energy and raised stress levels around the globe. People are visiting Rishikesh to get back to a good place spiritually and mentally, and it’s why I came after months of stress.

Most travelers attend yoga and meditation retreats (which Rishikesh is famous for, and a good reason why you should visit Rishikesh India), which is highly recommended all things considered. If you’re just passing through, you have to make a point to stay for sunset.

Ganga Aarti Rishikesh India
Ganga Aarti Rishikesh India

Every night along the river, there’s Ganga Aarti, which is a gathering of locals and travelers alike, who sing and celebrate life at sunset. I’ve never experienced so much joy in my life as hundreds of people congregated to feel the love and put good energy out into the world.

The whole experience was uplifting, and I believe I left feeling inspired, seeing the good in life, and also realizing life is too short to be stressed all the time.

I’m sure the more often people have these gatherings and put good energy out there across the world, the energy levels will reach a good state in an enormous way. I’ve always believed this, but Ganga Aarti definitely reminded me how possible it is. You should visit Rishikesh India (and even Ananda) if you’re definitely looking to feel inspired again!

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Why you should visit Rishikesh India.
At Ananda outside Rishikesh India.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed at over 600 hotels and clocked millions of air miles. He currently lives in New York City.

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