Rishikesh is a city and a municipal board in the Dehradun district in Uttarakhand. It is a famous holy city of pilgrimage for the Hindus. Rishikesh is also known as the gateway to the Himalayas. It is located about 25 kms. from Haridwar, which is another holy city. Rishikesh is also the starting point for traveling to the Char Dham pilgrimage, namely; Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Rishikesh derives its name from 'Hrsikesa', which is a name of Vishnu. It means the Lord of Senses. It is a holy city located in the foothills of the Himalayas. The place gets its name from Lord Vishnu, who appeared to Raibhya Rishi as a result of the tapasya, as Lord Hrishikesh. The River Ganga also flows through Rishikesh. It is at Rishikesh that the Ganga leaves the mountain ranges in Shivalik and flows onto the plains in northern India.
One can also find many ancient as well as new temples along the banks of the River Ganga. Every year, thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit the holy city of Rishikesh, from India as well as abroad. It has also got many Yoga centres, because of which it is also known as the world capital of Yoga. It is a strong belief that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attaining moksha, as does a holy dip in the holy River Ganga that flows through it. Not only for pilgrimage, it has also become a famous place for river rafting, as it offers medium to rough rapids in the river Ganga.
The 120 year old Kalas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham which is an institution dedicated to preserve and promote the traditional Vedantic Studies, is also located at Rishikesh. Famous personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Shivananda have all studied here. Rishikesh is also famous as during the mid 1960s, the pop band 'Beatles' visited the place and even recorded a song here, which was titled 'The Happy Rishikesh Song'. This place has been of interest to many celebrities, including Hollywood star Kate Winslet.