Rishikesh is a city and a municipal board in Dehradun district now in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as The Gateway to the Himalayas. Rishikesh is surrounded by three other districts namely Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal and Haridwar. It is located approximately 20 km north of the holy city Haridwar. Rishikesh has a permanent population of around 75,000. Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary 'Kedarkhand' (the present day Garhwal).Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, 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. The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the 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 Rishikesh. As with Haridwar about an hour south, Rishikesh is considered by Hindus to be a holy city and is vegetarian by law.
Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed "the World capital of Yoga", has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. Rishikesh is world famous for Rafting and Adventure. Rafting season starts from the month of March and ends in September. Rishikesh 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.
Rishikesh is becoming a popular spot for white water rafting enthusiasts, both from India and abroad, as the Ganges offers medium to rough rapids rated class 3 and class 4. It is also a center for hiking and backpacking. Recently, bungee jumping has also been introduced in Rishikesh, the first and only bungee jumping camp in India.