Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, is a popular place to come and meditate, do yoga, and learn about other aspects of Hinduism. It’s situated on the banks of the Ganges River, surrounded by hills on three sides, not far from Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Rishikesh lures those seeking knowledge and peace with its numerous ashrams and yoga institutes. It's particularly popular with spiritual seeking foreigners, while Haridwar holds more significance for Hindu pilgrims.
As Rishikesh is located at the Himalyan foothills, it provides a cool escape during the hotter months. Therefore, the best time to visit is between March and April, and September to October. May starts to get quite hot there. Rishikesh is best avoided during the monsoon months from July to August, as it receives heavy rain. Rafting is also closed during this time. Winters, from November until February, are cold but pleasant, so bring woolens. Many people consider the couple of months just after the monsoon to be the best time to visit, as the landscape is alive, green, and soothing.
Rishikesh is a delightful place to wander around and explore on foot. Cross either of the two suspension bridges and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the town and river. Venture down to the ghats fronting the river and relax for a while amidst the daily goings-on. You can also take a boat across the river near Ram Jhula as an alternative to walking. Every evening, people gather at Parmarth Niketan ashram (in the Swag Ashram area), to experience the Ganga Aarti (worship with fire). Adventure lovers also have two good reasons to visit the town -- the excellent trekking and rafting opportunities in the area.