With three days in Rishikesh, you’ll have plenty of time to hit up the highlights, from the temples and ashrams along the banks of the Ganges River to the jungles on the outskirts of town. You’ll even have time to get active, whether it’s practicing yoga, white-water rafting, or learning to cook Indian fare. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: City of Seekers
Spend your first day exploring the spiritual side of Rishikesh. Start your day with a yoga class, then visit the former ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, known locally as the Beatles Ashram as the Fab Four once stayed here. Now open to the public, the ashram can easily be visited independently or as part of a tour (going with a guide is a good idea if you want to learn more about the space, as there’s not much in terms of signposting). Next, book a taxi or tour to Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, on the outskirts of town, then return to Rishikesh before sunset to attend the evening aarti (prayer) ceremonies on the banks of the Ganges River.
Day 2: Water Adventures
Spend your second day enjoying the outdoors in Rishikesh: go ziplining, plan a multi-day trek, or do what the area is best-known for: white-water rafting on the Ganges River. Other area highlights include Neer Waterfalls, in the forest just outside of the city. A short trek will get you right to the falls, which have a pool popular for wading and cooling off. In the evening, head back to town for dinner; choose one of the many restaurants in town, or join a food walk to immerse yourself in the local culinary scene.
Day 3: Welcome to the Jungle
Not far from Rishikesh is Rajaji National Park, a quiet, well-maintained park that's home to boars, deer, peacocks (India's national bird), and elephants, though it's best-known as one of the few places in the state of Uttarakhand where you might spot a tiger in the wild. On your final day, grab your camera and take a jungle safari with a local guide who can help you spot wildlife. Back in Rishikesh, finish your day with a bit more yoga, some souvenir shopping, or, for a particularly memorable experience, a cooking class, where you'll get the chance to make (and eat) vegetarian Indian mainstays.