Rishikesh is a city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River. The river is considered holy, and the city is renowned as a center for studying yoga and meditation. Temples and ashrams line the eastern bank around Swarg Ashram, a traffic-free, alcohol-free and vegetarian enclave upstream from Rishikesh town.
At the confluence of three rivers, the Triveni Ghat is regarded as a sacred bathing spot for spiritual cleansing. A fire ritual known as Ganga aarti is performed there nightly, where oil lamps are floated downstream. Upstream, the pedestrian-only iron suspension bridges, Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula, join the banks of the river around Swarg Ashram. The elaborate, 13-story Trayambakeshwar temple stands by the Lakshman Jhula bridge. Numerous ashrams offer yoga courses, and local companies arrange trekking tours into the mountains, kayaking, and white-water rafting trips.