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Rishikesh - City of India

Hi is a name of Vishnu that means 'lord of the senses'.Hrishikesh is a holy city for Hindus located in the foothills of the Himalaya in northern India. The place gets its name after Lord Vishnu who appeared to 'Raibhya Rishi', as a result of his tapasya (austerities), as Lord Hrishikesh. In Skanda Purana, this area is known as 'Kubjamrak' as Lord Vishnu appeared, under a mango tree.

Historically, Hrishikesh, has been a part of the legendary 'Kedarkhand' (the present day Garhwal), the abode of Shiva. Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganga, at a point, where the present 'Lakshman Jhula'bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The 'Kedar Khand' of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889, and after it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced by a stronger present bridge. Even today, the western bank of the bridge has a Lakshmana temple, and across it lies a temple dedicated to Lord Rama; also present near by is a temple of his other brother, Bharata, which also finds mention in the 'Kedar Khand'.

Ram Jhula Bridge across Ganga, built in 1980s.The sacred river Ganga flows through Hrishikesh. In fact, it is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains Himalayas, and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Hrishikesh. The city attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year, from within India, as well as from other countries. Hrishikesh, sometimes nicknamed "the world-capital of Yoga", has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Hrishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. It is also becoming a popular spot for white water rafting enthusiasts, both from India and abroad, as it offers medium to rough rapids in the course of river Ganges.

A Hindu temple in HishikeshThe name Hishikesh 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 Ganges. These include Hrishikesh itself, the commercial and communication hub; the sprawling suburb Muni-ki-Reti or the "sands of the sages"; Shivananda Nagar the home of Sivananda Ashram and the Divine Life Society founded by Swami Sivananda, north of Hrishikesh; the temple section of Lakshman Jhula, a little further north; and the assorted Ashrams around Swarg Ashram on the east bank. One can reach the famous Neelakanta Maha Deva Temple from here. The Ganga Arati performed at dusk at the Triveni Ghat is popular with visitors. 'Neelkanth Mahadev Temple', situated 12 km from Hrishikesh, amidst forest is also a popular local pilgrimage, along with 'Vasishtha Gufa', (Cave of sage Vasishtha), 21 km up from the town by the Ganges.

Hrishikesh is also home to the 120-year old Kailas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham, an institution dedicated to preserve and promote the traditional Vedantic Studies. Prominent personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Shivananda have studied in this institution. During the mid-1960s, The Beatles visited, the now closed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Hrishikesh, John Lennon, even recorded a song here, titled, 'The Happy Hrishikesh Song'. The Beatles composed nearly 48 songs during their time at the Maharishi's ashram, many of which appear on the White Album. Several other artists, including Mike Love of The Beach Boys, Donovan and Gyp Mills, visited the site to contemplate and meditate. More recently, the place has been of interest to celebrities including Hollywood star Kate Winslet. The Tehri dam is just 80 km uphill on way to Gangotri.
Hrishikesh is located at 3007N 7819E / ?30.12, 78.32. It has an average elevation of 532 metres (1,745 feet).
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