[Please note date change. See latest news for more information]
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the sacred Ganga River, Rishikesh has been the center of spiritual and religious activities since ancient times.
Rishi, meaning "seer," was a name given to monks living in caves in the surrounding hills, the holy men to whom the Vedas (Hindu scriptures) were originally revealed. Today, Rishikesh is known as the world capital of yoga. It is home to many internationally renowned ashrams and countless meditation, yoga and spiritual courses.
A valid visa is required to enter India. You will need to contact the Embassy (or High Commission) of India in your own country to obtain your visa before your departure dates. Be aware that some European nationalities are only granted 3-month visas. Take this into consideration when planning your trip.
Important: Be aware that a visa is valid from the date it is generated at the Embassy and not from the date of entry.
A useful link that provides general information is www.visatoindia.com, but you can also find information on Indian visas specifically for your country, through your travel agent or by visiting the Indian Embassy website for your country.
Read more here about a new visa regulation: Visa on Arrival, available for passport holders of a limited number of countries. Note that this visa is only valid for 30 days and read the instructions on the website.
It is recommended to arrange for vaccinations or homeopathic vaccinations before your travel.
Check with your doctor or health clinic which vaccinations are required for visiting India.
Please note: If you are travelling from South America or Africa please be aware that you are expected to show proof of vaccination for Yellow Fever.
The country currency is Indian Rupees. There are ATM cash machines at the airport.
We recommend not to change your money at Delhi airport, as the exchange rate here is rather high.
You can change your currency to Indian Rupees at the banks or Internet cafes in Rishikesh.
They will accept both cash and travellers cheques. Major currencies such as US dollars, British pounds and Euros are easy to change.
Remember, you must present your passport whenever you change currency or travellers cheques.
There are also ATM cash machines in Rishikesh where one can withdraw cash using a credit card or a bankcard.
Check the exchange rate for your currency on a web site such as www.xe.com.
The Government of India has demonetised currency notes of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 which were in circulation until 8th November 2016. From 10th November, 2016, new notes of ₹ 500 and ₹ 2,000 have been issued by the government. To familiarise yourself with the new currency notes click here. Please do not accept old currency notes of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 from any vendor/shop. Old currency notes of ₹100 and less, and coins remain valid.
We have created a group in Facebook Open Satsang with Sri Mooji in Rishikesh, 2017 to offer the possibility to connect with fellow travellers who are going to Rishikesh for Satsang with Sri Mooji. This page gives, for example, the opportunity to share a ride to Rishikesh.
The closest international airport to fly to is New Delhi (New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport).
The easiest way to get from the airport into town is by taxi or metro. For taxi’s we recommend you buy a prepaid ticket at the official taxi counters inside the airport. Look for the signs that say "Prepaid Taxi" at the storefront, just outside of baggage claim, but still inside the airport.
The Airport Link metro line runs from 4:45 am to 11:15 pm and should take around 25 minutes to New Delhi Metro Station. It costs 100 rupees (Mon-Sat) and 60 rupees (Sun) for a single journey. This line only has a few stops and terminates at New Delhi Metro station, which is convenient for onward rail travel. Airport Metro is a most convenient way to reach? New Delhi Railway station.
It is possible to take a domestic flight to Dehradun, the airport is approximately 21 km (13 miles) from Rishikesh. A good website to find domestic flights is www.cleartrip.com.
From Delhi you can travel by train to Haridwar Junction Railway Station, from where you can take a taxi to Rishikesh. Train tickets can be bought at the International Tourist Bureau (First Floor, Station Building) at New Delhi Railway Station (Pahar Ganj side), which remains open round the clock. There is a separate foreign tourist quota in all classes and almost all the trains for the facility of the tourists. Reservation from this quota is made at the bureau.
You are encouraged to book your train tickets ahead of time. This can be done if, for example, you are staying in Delhi before you plan to take the train. Ask the hotel to book a train ticket and hold it for you. Alternatively, you can book a train or bus ticket in one of the big tourist agencies in Delhi. You pay a little bit more and free yourself from queuing in the International Tourist Bureau at the train station.
It is good to be aware that there are con men around the train station who often 'offer help' by taking people
to a different place than the official tourist quota office.
Don't be one of the trusting people who gets conned!
When travelling by public transport, you should never accept any drinks or eatables from any unknown persons except from a vendor directly. Sometimes, tourists are given poison laced food/drink to make them unconscious and then to loot their belongings, cash, and electronic gadgets. Luggage should never be left unattended. Someone may just walk away with your valuables even if you are just taking a nap.
Note: It is very difficult for foreigners to make Indian Railway Ticket reservations online, due to a verification procedure that requires an Indian mobile phone number. However, foreigners can now make railway ticket reservations using online travel portals such as cleartrip.com/trains.
To arrange a taxi from Delhi, Haridwar Junction Railway Station, or Dehradun airport, you can contact Jaideva in Rishikesh at email@example.com or +91 - 9760822352. Please contact him at least a week before your scheduled arrival.
Once in Rishikesh, auto-rickshaws are a reasonable means of transportation and they are often passing the main road near the Ashram
where the satsangs will take place. They provide very cheap transportation whether you choose a private one, or join a so-called 'Tempo',
which transports many passenger.
It is important to know that rickshaws usually run until 9pm at night. If you plan to stay out late, make sure you arrange a vehicle in advance.
|Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula or vice-versa||Rs. 5 per passenger on a shared auto-rickshaw|
|Lakshman Jhula to Rishikesh town or vice-versa||Rs. 10 per passenger on a shared auto-rickshaw|
|Lakshman Jhula auto-stand to Swatantranand Ashram or Swatantranand to Lakshman Jhula auto-stand||Rs. 20 per passenger on a shared auto-rickshaw|
|Ram Jhula to Swatantranand Ashram or Swatantranand to Ram Jhula||Rs. 20 per passenger on a shared auto-rickshaw (surprisingly the rate is same as for Lakshman Jhula)|
|From Lakshman Jhula (area other than auto-stand) to Swatantranand Ashram or vice-versa||Rs. 200|
|From Lakshman Jhula (auto-stand) to Swatantranand Ashram or vice-versa||Rs. 150|
|From Ram Jhula to Swatantranand Ashram or vice-versa||Rs. 100|
|From Swatantranand Ashram to Rishikesh town or vice-versa||Rs. 100|
There are various shops (mainly Internet cafes and general stores) which offer bicycles and scooters / motorbikes for rent. You can check the various shops around Lakshman Jhula for rental information.
Rishikesh is a lovely place to discover by foot. Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula are at walking distance from each other. It’s a beautiful walk along the banks of the Ganga. Woman are strongly advised not to walk alone after sunset. In the evening it is generally better to move as a group with male companionship.
it is important to book your accommodation in advance or arrive early.
It tends to get busy in Rishikesh during the months of February and March in which Sri Mooji’s satsangs are taking place.
We suggest you look for a place to stay using the Wikitravel or Tripadvisor websites. They can be helpful to begin your search for accommodation in Rishikesh.
There is a large variety of accommodation available in both Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula. The Jonk area behind Swarg Ashram in Ram Jhula is a peaceful area offering many guesthouses.
Also another place to consider in a more quiet setting is the High Banks above Lakshman Jhula.
People coming to India may experience some kind of sickness during their stay. Often this can happen during the beginning days of arriving in India. Common symptoms are diarrhea, tiredness, nausea, or fever. It is advised to take precaution regarding what you eat and the water you drink during your stay in India.
There is a wealth of travel health advice on the internet.
Centre of Disease Control and Prevention provides complete travel health recommendations for every country.
Also Lonely Planet is another good source of information.
It is best to check with your local health advisor or GP regarding the medication you should take to India.
If you become ill, it is important to see a allopathic doctor.
Do not drink any water from taps unless you know it has been filtered with a very good water filter
as one can become very ill from drinking contaminated water.
You can buy sealed bottled water in the supermarkets or general stores; ensure to check the seal on the bottle cap.
Rishikesh is a holy town, so generally don't expect to find any meat, fish or egg here. There are plenty of good restaurants in Rishikesh with a variety of foods for both Western oriented minds, as well for those who like to eat local Indian food.
If your health insurance doesn't cover your medical expenses abroad, consider getting extra (health) insurance. In India, treatments are generally paid for in cash. If you do have to make a claim to your insurance company afterwards, ensure to keep all relevant documentation.
Culturally in India it is essential to dress modestly, especially in an Ashram and when visiting a Holy City such as Rishikesh.
Important: We ask all those attending Satsang to respect this tradition and to make an effort to dress and behave in such a way that is in harmony with the local way of life.
Guidelines from the organisation: Shoulders, chest, buttocks and knees should be covered. Clothing should be loose and not transparent.