Cheap flights to Rishikesh originate in several major cities - just be prepared to land outside of Rishikesh and make your way in via ground transportation. Rishikesh flights will land in Dehradun, a nearby urban centre. Rishikesh is well connected to the rest of India by air, trains, buses and road. From Dehradun, one can catch a bus or taxi to Rishikesh, located barely an hour away. The Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun is serviced by daily cheap flights from New Delhi and Mumbai and lies 20 kilometres from Rishikesh. Taxis can be arranged for Rishikesh right at the Dehradun airport itself. Taxis to Rishikesh can also be booked at the New Delhi airport, or at one of the many travel agencies dotting Delhi. Train travel is another alternative with daily trains running from Delhi to Dehradun, including the convenient Dehradun Express. But the most preferred option among seasoned travellers remains bus, with regular bus service from Kashmere Gate at New Delhi to Rishikesh. Bus journeys typically take between 5 to 7 hours and range from affordable public buses to expensive, luxurious private operators.
Within the city of Rishikesh, auto-rickshaws and taxis are the main methods of transportation. For cheaper alternatives, one can hitch a ride on shared autos or local buses. The city itself is quite small and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan foothills. Consequently, walking/trekking is a very popular option among tourists. Also, since Rishikesh is located on the Ganges river where it comes down from the Himalayas, many excursions by raft, kayak and canoe are also available for the adventurous few. Tourists staying for longer periods can even rent motorcycles for local use. Renting/purchasing bicycles is another popular alternative for local travel.
Rishikesh is one of the holy centres of Hindu religion, and Rishikesh flights attract pilgrims by the thousands each year. Various temples and pilgrim sites, including the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Kunjapuri Devi Temple and Lakshman Jhula dot the city. Rishikesh is also known as the "World Capital of Yoga". The city is filled with meditation, yoga and holistic health centres. One prominent example of these institutions is Himalayan Yoga Academy. It offers room and board, yoga classes, and various extracurricular trekking options.
In addition to yoga, the other main attractions in Rishikesh are its beautiful location and adventure sports. Rishikesh is called the "Gateway to the Himalayas," and there are numerous wilderness trekking opportunities available for travellers. These include white-water rafting, rock-climbing, cliff-jumping, camping and kayaking. Spring and fall are the prime seasons for rafting, and rapids range from Level 1 through level 4. Local agencies offer different rafting trip packages, which often include white-water classes, overnight camping on the riverbanks, and side treks into the wild Himalayan forests.
Rishikesh is a major Hindu pilgrim centre with thousands taking cheap flights everyday to reach the city. Consequently, sale of alcohol and non-vegetarian food is banned in the city, although plenty of eateries serving meat can be found just on the outskirts of Rishikesh in a village called Raiwala. Within Rishkiesh, dining options are largely Indian, vegetarian, and aggressively priced. Chotiwala is a popular option serving authentic Indian 'thali' style meals. Travellers also prefer Ramana's Garden and Oasis that serve fresh, organic international food.
Nightlife in the city is likely to consist of going with thousands of locals to bathe in the Ganges at the Triveni Ghat (bathing place), enjoying cool Himalayan breezes, and observing the sacred evening rituals at the bank of the Ganges.
As a pilgrim site, Rishikesh's primary commodities are religious in nature. These include religion themed handicrafts such as wood statues of Shiva, beads and jewellery. Prices tend to be high and travellers must be prepared to bargain aggressively.