The name Rishikesh evokes the sentiments of piousness and holistic thinking in the mind. India being a deeply religious country where the routes of Hinduism are spread along the length and width of the country. Although the entire is known as ‘Punyabhoomi’ (the land of benevolence) yet there are place where one sees the Hindu spirituality shining like a noon Sun. Rishikesh has been inhabited by the seekers of truth, divine grace, self enquiry and the nature of life. As the Hindi word ‘Rishi’ stands for saints and ‘Kesh’ stand for hair, together they reflect the different branches of Hindu Philosophy and devotion.
The natural ambience and divine atmosphere attracts the people here and the sages from all schools of Hindu philosophy resided here for meditation. The sacred Ganges leaves the difficult mountain terrain at this place enabling people to have a holy dip. When the Ganges enters around Rishikesh, it has a great depth and velocity which both attract the water sports lovers to this place. The river rafting in Rishikesh is absolutely excellent providing the best conditions for this sport. This is the place where the vedic rishi ‘Vashistha’ meditated, this is where the preacher of Indian yoga- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded his ashram on the banks of the Ganges and here is the famous ‘Geeta Bhawan’ where the great saint ‘Swami Ram Sukh Dasji’ preached and passed several years of his life. He was so committed to this place he decided to breathe his last one only at Rishikesh. At present a very soul – soothing and spirit lifting activity is taking place at ‘Parmarth Niketan’ where every evening the prayers are offered to Ganges at the time of sunset. The prayer ceremony is known as the ‘Ganga Arti’ which attracts thousands of pilgrims, devotees, tourists – native and foreigner all to this place.
The past decades have consolidated the evening prayers and a large number of foreign tourists come to this place to participate in this evening prayer ceremony. During the prayer, the inmates of the Parmarth Niketan recite the vedic mantras, shlokas and hymns in the direction of the head of the ‘Muni ji’ who is the head of Parmarth Niketan. Certain things have a divine impact on the personality and the evening Ganges prayers is one such occasion. Questions like how it is and what it is can be answered only when you are present there. Come to Rishikesh to taste this feeling!