Trip to Rishikesh: The Yoga Capital

A Spiritual Adventure at the World Capital of Yoga

Here are some of the reasons why we chose the town of Rishikesh
as the hub for our next spiritual adventure

A fruitful cultural change of scene

First of all, for the general culture that one finds there. One can contemplate several aspects of the yogic, Vedic, Vedantic and Hindu traditions of millennial India.

You will also be able to, among other things, observe several ceremonies such as the famous ritual of offering lamps to the Ganges which takes place every evening at sunset. You will hear very beautiful traditional songs and be able to see close to 100 young students of this vibrant tradition, dressed in their attractive ceremonial clothes, singing Vedic mantras.

India - Rishikesh - 022 - sunset over the Gangaphoto © 2007 McKay Savage | more info (via: Wylio)

One of the main centers of Hatha-yoga

One of the principal attractions of Rishikesh is that it has been named « The World Capital of Yoga ».

A great number of Yoga schools have their headquarters in Rishikesh because it is the place where a number of yogis have themselves studied and practiced this art of experimental and contemplative life.

2005.11.22 - Shiva at Rishikeshphoto © 2005 Iqbal Mohammed | more info (via: Wylio)

It is therefore a ideal place for deepening the various fundamental principles of hatha-yoga according to its manifold schools, or simply learn new techniques. All hatha-yoga (physical yoga) practitioners of all levels take a deep interest in this place.

For the uninitiated or the beginners : we offer you the possibility of taking daily hatha-yoga classes (optional) in order to experience the benefits that a regular practice of yoga can give. You can also approach the term “Yoga” in very many other aspects, some of them being quite surprising.

Our special program

Above all, we give you daily private classes, in groups, on all the different yogas of India so that you have a truly deep, practical and extremely useful vision of what yogas are and which would be most important to you. This will enable you to choose which types of yoga could be most useful to you for the rest of your life.

Spiritual shopping!

Another very interesting attraction of Rishikesh its numerous shops selling spiritual books at a very moderate price. You will find all the titles that you need in order to deepen this art of yoga, meditation and Indian spirituality. You will also find several hundreds of titles exploring other types of spirituality. Hundreds and thousands of titles which are rarely available elsewhere can be found there.

India - Rishikesh - 026 - a rainbow of necklaces for salephoto © 2007 McKay Savage | more info (via: Wylio)Even better, there are hundreds of CDs of music which are available at very good prices. Music for relaxation, for meditation or spiritual music coming from a myriad of traditions… yogic, tantric, Zen, Hindu, Sufi…

For keen and informed readers: you can save several hundreds of dollars just on books – let alone the music.  This is useful to know when planning one’s annual budget.

Should we also mention the infinite variety of colorful dresses, exotic jewelry, inspiring sculptures… that are found at each and every corner?

A paradise for Ayurveda and other health treatments

Rishikesh is also a marvelous place for learning, knowing, trying and practicing or deepening this marvelous holistic medicine which is Ayurveda. It’s a principal centre for obtaining treatments in a clear and unpolluted environment which is very rare in India.

Ela Kizhi (Pathra Potala Swedam) - ayurveda treatmentphoto © 2008 BIJI KURIAN | more info (via: Wylio)

One experiences a great feeling of relaxation and well-being when, after a good massage (or following another treatment of which the secret is known only to Ayurveda) one breathes the pure and vivifying air on the banks of the marvelous river Ganges.

Moreover, you can also get treatments of Reiki, Shiatsu, and various types of massage… the New Age movement is well-represented and alive and kicking in Rishikesh!!

A very interesting bonus: all these treatments are available at extremely advantageous prices compared with to those in America or elsewhere in the West for the same.

A clean and safe place, and ideal for cultivating a clean and safe life style.

The inconceivable power of the Dhama

There’s another reason why we have chosen Rishikesh as a destination (be ready for a monumental discovery). Well, this is a very powerful holy place where one can live an intense life which is rarely possible elsewhere.

Sunset in Rishikeshphoto © 2005 Michael Scalet | more info (via: Wylio)

In this place, thousands of yogis have meditated since time immemorial and we can immediately feel the imposing power of sanctification of the Ganges combined with the mythical and tellurian presence of the Himalayas and the peace that is brought by the meditative practice of holy yogis.

This very pure atmosphere brings with it a great opening of the heart. It makes possible all sorts of extremely special experiences, at times mystical and always interesting.

I have often observed that even materialists and atheists go through such strong and powerful experiences during their stay in the Dhamas that they relate these to their friends for the rest of their lives !

For example: the quality of dreams during sleep attains an extremely novel and enriching level for several among us. Between friends, we have several times had uplifting discussions in sharing the fact that we all had an extraordinary dream the last night!!! Often these dreams seem more alive than “normal life” as it is lived in the West, far away from the Dhama.

Of course, the dream is only the beginning. The ultimate benefit of the Dhama, the special spiritual place, is that its ambiance helps us to come to a spiritual awakening, an opening of the heart, an anchoring in eternity and in a spiritual happiness that we look for incessantly.

Sunset in Rishikeshphoto © 2005 Michael Scalet | more info (via: Wylio)

Let’s also mention the great inspiring power of a Dhama: it often gives us very high creative power. It is as useful for the writers and poets as for those amongst us who are looking for creative solutions to our problems. It is a wonderful place to re-evaluate our lives, to take decisions that are crucial, to settle inner conflicts which prevent us from living to our true potential.

Living with inner peace

Another one of the benefits of the Dhama is that one feels very, very, very at peace and easily satisfied. No need to run hither and thither, one is simply satisfied by one’s daily discoveries and the contemplation of the surroundings.

~ meditation ~photo © 2008 Cornelia Kopp | more info (via: Wylio)

Let us also mention that the meditation practices which seem very difficult during our daily lives in our artificial and polluted cities, become easy, natural and very powerful…in a holy place like Rishikesh Dhama.

The Ganges… majestic

A great deal of the magic of Rishikesh comes from the stimulating presence of the Ganges. A river extremely holy for hundreds of millions of yogis, erudite saints and Hindus in general… since millennia.

Upper Ganges River, Snow Leopard camp, near Rishikesh, India, 1995photo © 2008 R Barraez D´Lucca | more info (via: Wylio)

This marvelous river, which is born a few hundreds of kilometers above, in the glaciers of the Himalaya, throwing itself into the ocean 4500 kilometers farther, possesses a power of sanctification that we can all feel at this place.

India - Rishikesh - 018 - evening on the ghatsphoto © 2007 McKay Savage | more info (via: Wylio)

We will explain the numerous symbolic and spiritual implications of this river perceived by many as being the holiest of all. It is one of the duties of our guides to explain to you, on the spot, at length and in breadth, the importance of holy places and rivers such as the Ganges, as well as the way in which you can derive an eternal benefit from it. One of the first principles of our spiritual adventures consists in bringing you to the heart of the experience of the sacred. We give you much more than mere theoretical knowledge and allow you to acquire experimental knowledge, that can be lived to the fullest and which will benefit your all your life and beyond!

Vegetarian gastronomy

Another aspect of Rishikesh (yes, another!) is that one finds here several vegetarian restaurants of high repute which are recognized as such throughout India.

See above two photos of the shop front of the very popular Chotiwala restaurant. Note the fellow who takes his food with his hair standing on its ends – this capillary effect represents the ecstasy of taste coming from this extraordinary food.

Thus, Rishikesh is full of numerous restaurants which try to compete with each other in finesse, in prices… in order to offer you a great variety of refined culinary experiences.

03 Bombay Thali - Tamil Nadu Bhavanphoto © 2009 Jason Lam | more info (via: Wylio)

These restaurants prove themselves to be very good places, on the banks of the Ganges, for chatting and discussing with friends. One can often find here spiritualists from all countries and develop deep friendships with captivating people who often have spiritual interests similar to ours. One can establish durable friendships… and perhaps also find soul mate!

These friendly chats are often one of the most pleasant and cherished activities in Rishikesh.

Discovery of ashrams

6H2ashram-arch-lizphoto © 2005 Liz Highleyman | more info (via: Wylio)

Another beautiful experience that one can have in Rishikesh if desired, is to visit ashrams which are hostels dedicated to a life of spiritual practice. You will get a chance to see what goes on there, observe those who follow a simplified life regimen focused on the practice of yoga and on the openness to the sacred.

Rishikesh is full of ashrams. Some have a grandiose atmosphere; some are very simple and very pure. The observation of these different types of ashrams will surely inspire you to fashion your own spiritual atmosphere at home.

India - Rishikesh - 003 - Sri Trayanbakshwar Temple and Lakshman Jhulaphoto © 2007 McKay Savage | more info (via: Wylio)

Meeting with remarkable people

Rishikesh is also full of holy men (sadhus) of diverse traditions. Those who are dressed in saffron belong to the tradition of people who have renounced the world in order to dedicate themselves totally to spiritual practice.

One can also find here yogis of all levels and types: from the most outrageous and questionable to the most erudite, pure and holy (it is often difficult to distinguish one from the other). It is always an experience to meet them even if only to exchange eye contact with them!

Inde religion RISHIKESH Indiaphoto © 2004 etrenard | more info (via: Wylio)

With our encyclopaedic knowledge about the diverse spiritual traditions of India, we will inform you of the subtleties of all these traditions… for an incredibly enriching experience!

We also consider it our duty to help you meet people of great erudition and to give you the chance of having these privileged encounters and in-depth exchanges with some of these holy men who have dedicated all their lives, often more than 30 to 50 years, to spiritual practices.

The essence of most of these higher practices of yogas is to be able to meet, if only for a few moments, people who have a high level of consciousness. They are the ones who are most apt to elevate us to this high level of consciousness.

A supernatural nature

At Rishikesh, nature is wonderful. One can go on several small excursions on foot along the shores of the Ganges or towards the mountains, as well as long treks. At each turn of the way, you will discover several absolutely wonderful and mysterious temples.
Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, Indiaphoto © 2009 Dan Searle | more info (via: Wylio)

Also, excursions on inflatable boats on the Ganges are cherished by those who want a direct and prolonged immersion (3 to 4 hours) in the holy river. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions. One feels totally surrounded by the beautiful maternal energy and the sacred dimension of the Ganges.

The exquisite natural beauty in Rishikesh makes it an ideal place to discover and experiment with all the aspects of the spiritual culture of yoga which is based on the harmony of body, mind and soul.

A warm invitation

These are some of the reasons for which we invite you to have this unforgettable experience at this most holy and saintly places in India. The quality of this place can transport you through a fruitful and inspiring adventure in a healthy and comfortable environment while having access to the essence of yoga, the essence of the spiritual traditions of India.

Our unique asset is that not only do our guides have a long experience of life in India, they have lived for over 25 or 30 years according to the principles of yoga. They are fully and uniquely competent to give you the maximum benefit and insights through comprehension of the environment, enhancing the pleasures of visiting new sites and participating in each one of the excursions of this tour. They lead you, step by step, into the heart of one of the oldest living spiritual cultures in the world.

We give you the tools to make this spiritual adventure!!!

Voir aussi: Quelques-images-de-rishikesh