The week-long yoga festival held at the iconic Parmarth Niketan ashram is ten days away. Have you registered yet?
Rishikesh is the birthplace of yoga and every seeker that comes to India is drawn to India’s mystical Himalayas. All their journeys start at Rishikesh. The ancient temple town inspired the Beatles to create some of their best music when they spent time there, but the best thing about Rishikesh is that it’s situated on the banks of the holy Ganges. The entire town worships her and devotees from across India and the world gather at the Parmarth Niketan ashram every evening for their spectacular Ganga aarti.
Parmarth Niketan’s annual Rishikesh International Yoga Festival will begin on 1st March, and listed below is everything you need to know about where to stay, what to eat, and the festival’s must-sees and must-dos.
How To Register
You can register for the festival through the Parmarth Niketan website. There are several options to choose from. The Top Tier Full-Week Residential pass will give you complete access to the entire festival and includes accommodation and food at the ashram. If you’re on a budget, choose the Courtyard Room Residential Pass that includes accommodation and food, but the room is more basic than the top tier pass. There are also group discounts and day passes available, so there are multiple options for every budget.
For more information on how to register, passes and availability, visit Parmarth Niketan.
Where to Stay
Parmarth Niketan is the largest ashram in Rishikesh and it’s situated on the banks of the Ganges. It’s your best option if you want to stay close to and participate in the festival for the entire week. The ashram rooms are clean, airy and surrounded by lush gardens. If you’re only attending a part of the festival or have a day pass and want to stay elsewhere, try the Sri Sant Sewa Ashram or Bunk Stay for on-budget rooms. If hostels are not your jam, Ganga Kinare and Aloha on the Ganges are exquisite boutique hotels with spectacular views of the river and the majestic Himalayas. If you want to avoid the Ram and Laxman Jhula chaos and desire a high-on-luxe retreat, Ananda in the Himalayas is your go-to.
Where to Eat
Rishikesh is vegetarian by law and you’re not allowed to drink alcohol either. What you can enjoy is an abundance of vegetarian and vegan fare. We highly recommend the apple samosa that’s served at The Office. It’s one of Rishikesh’s oldest eateries and the crispy samosas are filled with a gooey stuffing of apple flavoured with mild spices. The original German Bakery is another Rishikesh landmark and dishes out treats like pasta with yak’s cheese and pea soup with coriander. Head to the Beatles Cafe for a Holy Crepe (basil and rosemary scented rice flour crepes with grilled tomato, spinach and cheddar) and wash it down with a Green Revolution (a smoothie with banana, spinach, almond butter, apple, soy milk and chocolate). For true-blue Indian flavours, indulge your palate at The Madras Cafe: they serve the best dosas in town.
The Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh is now part of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve but its ruins are an ode to what the ashram once was. It’s where the Beatles spent time when they were learning transcendental meditation and it’s also where they produced the White Album. If you’re lucky, you might spot an elephant roaming the grounds.
Take a dip in the Ganges, and try all the adventure sports that are available in the vicinity.
How to Get There
The closest airport to Rishikesh is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. From there, you can take a taxi or bus to Rishikesh. If you’re travelling by train, the nearest station is Haridwar and you’ll have to take a taxi or bus from Haridwar to Rishikesh.
Here are glimpses into last year’s festival:
For further information on the Rishikesh International Yoga Festival, visit Parmarth Niketan.