The Garhwal region of north India is speckled with some of the holiest of Hindu pilgrimage sites and Rishikesh is one such major attractions. Crowded with sadhus with long matted hair and pilgrims from all over the globe, Rishikesh is the birthplace of yoga. It attracts thousands of tourists every year, who come to seek mental peace in the midst of the humdrum of modern life. The various ghats and temples assist the human spirit in its endeavor to be one with the ultimate source of all creations. It is also an attraction for the ones in search of adventure and passion.
Rishikesh is located in the northern part of Uttar Pradesh. It is 238 km northeast of Delhi and 24 km north of Haridwar and spreads on the right banks of the Ganges, at its confluence with the Chandrabhaga stream.It is surrounded by hills on three sides and is perched at an altitude of 356 meters above sea level. The name Rishikesh is loosely applied to an association of five distinct sections encompassing not only the town but also hamlets and settlements on both sides of the river. These include Rishikesh itself, the commercial and communication hub; the sprawling suburban Muni-ki-Reti or the "sands of the sages"; Shivananda Nagar, north of Rishikesh; the temple section of Lakshmanjhula, a little further north; and the assorted ashrams around Swarg Ashram on the east bank. In Rishikesh, the winters last from November to March, when temperatures fall below 0°C. The monsoons are generally experienced in the months of July and August.
Legend has it that the sage Raibhya Rishi did severe penance and, as a reward, God appeared to him in the form of Hrishikesh. Rishikesh also represents the site where Lord Vishnu vanquished the demon Madhu. The place is known as the Tapo Bhumi or the place for meditation of the Gods. Tapovan, on the other bank of the Ganges, houses a temple to Lakshmana. It is believed that Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama, carried out penances here. The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is believed to be the site where Lord Shiva had drunk the venom that came out during the churning of the ocean. In the 1960s, the place came into limelight as the place where the pop group Beatles met their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.