Rishikesh - the capital of yoga in India

Rishikesh (literally "master of the senses") is one of the names of the god Shiva, so here is the place where he managed to achieve nirvana. A small city that is considered the "gateway" to the Himalayas. It is considered the starting point to the ancient mountain pilgrimage settlements of Gangotri, Yamunotri , Badrinath. This city is the real world capital of yoga and Hinduism. It seems to consist of ashrams and Hindu temples. The great yoga masters Swami Omkarananda and Swami Sivananda lived their lives here.

The main attractions in the city are ashrams, religious centers for the study of yoga and Hindu philosophy. In the Ramzhul area, you can see the Parmat Niketan Ashram with magnificent gardens. It has a separate descent to the Ganges, and a snow-white statue of Shiva is also installed here. In the evenings, colorful ceremonies are held here. Nearby is one of the largest ashrams in the city - Ved Niketan, where you can spend the night for 200 rupees, take yoga courses and even get a teacher's diploma.

On the west coast there are two more large ashrams - Yoga Niketan and Sivananda Ashram. Especially popular is the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, where the Beatles used to be. Unfortunately, it is now abandoned.

Rishikesh - the capital of yoga in India

Here, world-famous musicians found what John Lennon called "blissful Butlins" (Butlins is a chain of resort campsites in the UK). One of the most successful and popular groups of the 20th century visited Rishikesh to study transcendental meditation at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram. The band's visit was widely covered in the media, and their stay at the Maharishi's ashram became one of the most prolific periods in the Beatles' work, causing a surge of interest in the study of transcendental meditation around the world. John Lennon wrote the song "Happy Songs of Rishikesh" here, which, in particular, sang:

"Everything you need is here" - Everything is here
"And everything that's not here is not there" - And what's not here, not anywhere

The Rishikesh International Yoga Festival is one of the largest meditation gatherings in the world. The festival first began in 1999, when about 50 meditation enthusiasts gathered. The annual festival in Rishikesh attracts the most recognized yoga masters from all over the world, practicing on the banks of the Ganges River its main styles: hatha, raja, karma, bhakti, mantra, laya and jnana. Beginning at 4:00 AM and continuing until sunset, guests learn proper breathing, posture, singing and nutrition from recognized yoga experts.

Every evening, guests of the city gather near the ashram of Parmart Niketan to see firsthand arati - a religious ritual with lit fires and offerings. The ceremony begins with the singing of bhajans (religious chants), the recitation of prayers, followed by havan - a sacred purification ritual that takes place around the fire with donations to Agni, the god of fire. Fruit, honey, wooden objects are placed in the sacrificial fire. Flowers and lighted candles in a bowl of leaves are sent along the fast flow of the Ganges River with the pronunciation of a prayer. It is believed that such donations will bring health, prosperity and good luck. Anyone can take part in arati.

Sadhus are often found in Rishikesh. Sadhus in India are called monks who left their wives and children, renounced the world and material wealth in order to search for their true destiny. In cities popular with pilgrims, many beggars pretend to be sadhus and earn a living in this way. Rishikesh in our case is no exception. Often, beggars do not disdain taking drugs.

Rishikesh is located in a place where the forested Garhwal Himalayas rise steeply from a low valley, and the Ganges River descends into the plains. At the head of the river, in the midst of green hills, the city is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. But the city itself can hardly be called beautiful. Cows, jumping monkeys, and even donkeys roam its streets.

Alcohol, fish, meat and eggs are prohibited in the city. Dishes here are exclusively vegetarian. The most popular place in the city is the Chotivala restaurant . It has a good menu and reasonable prices. Also noteworthy is the restaurant "Madras" , located on board the ship, in the northern part of the city.


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