Rishikesh, a city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, is set in the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas and beside the holy Ganga river. The city is famous for studying Yoga and meditation. A lot of foreign tourists flock here every year. The peak season to visit Rishikesh is between March to May. You can find the detailed guide on the best time to visit Rishikesh here. This blog will focus on how to reach Rishikesh from major Indian cities via flight, train, bus and car. A guide for Indian as well as foreign tourists.
I might not be able to compile each and every big city here in this guide. I will focus on some of the major cities here. Even if I don’t mention your city specifically, this guide will work for you as you’ll see.
Rishikesh is a travel hub for trekkers as it is a perfect location to reach all of the base camps for treks in that area. But it is also a tourist destination for people looking for yoga, meditation and to have a spiritual experience.
How to reach Rishikesh by flight?
The best way is to fly to Jolly Grant Airport.
Taking a flight to rishikesh is the fastest, quickest and the most hassle free way to reach rishikesh. It might not be the cheapest way, but it certainly is the fastest option.
But here is a thing, you might say jolly grant airport is in dehradun, I still need to travel to rishikesh. But a pro tip here, the jolly grant airport is closer to Rishikesh than it is to Dehradun. Yes Seriously, it’s 11 KM closer.
Best way to reach Rishikesh from Jolly Grant Airport.
Dehradun airport is very inconvenient when it comes to connectivity to both rishikesh and dehradun. There are buses that ply between rishikesh to dehradun via the airport, but they run once every hour. And sometimes that every hour turns out to be every 2 hour.
There are plenty of taxis at the airport. Look for a prepaid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at arrivals. You can also get taxis outside the airport (you’ll have to bargain). But airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge between 800 to 1000 INR to rishikesh, that will be around 11EUR or say 13 USD.
Usually travelers take a cab, what you can do is share the cab with fellow co-passengers who are also going to rishikesh.
If you really want to save money then catch Autos outside the airport complex, they are not allowed inside. They come there to drop off the passengers to the airport. They charge around 300 INR to Rishikesh (3.4 EUR or 4 USD).
How to reach Rishikesh by Train
Directly to Rishikesh via train
Reaching Rishikesh via train will become easier now as the Yog Nagri Rishikesh railway station is now ready. Previously there was no station in rishikesh, travelers had to get down at haridwar and get to rishikesh by road from there.
As of writing this article I cannot confirm on the availability of trains to Rishikesh, there is one weekly train which has been virtually made available 22659 Kcvl Ynrk Exp running from Mumbai to Rishikesh but in reality not running. This might change in coming months (I will update this part accordingly then)
Rishikesh via Haridwar
The most reliable option in hand is to get to Haridwar by train. If you are coming from Mumbai or any other city then reach Delhi in the first half of the day and take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express (Train no. 12055/12056) from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 3.20 pm) to arrive at Haridwar by 8.00 pm.
You can make an overnight halt in Haridwar, enjoy the city the next day and carry onwards to Rishikesh by local bus or by Auto rickshaws. Check the bus timetable beforehand, bus fare is very cheap. Auto’s are also there, but negotiate properly they will charge exorbitantly.
How to reach Rishikesh by Bus
Reaching Delhi first
To reach Rishikesh by bus, first you have to reach Delhi. You can reach Delhi via many ways from all of the cities in India. You can get a Bus, Train or a flight. The options are your personal choice depending on your budget and time of travel.
Take a bus for Rishikesh from Kashmere Gate, ISBT
You can get a lot of buses heading towards Rishikesh from Kashmere Gate, ISBT. There are regular Volvo AC buses and also Non AC buses. AC buses cost around 700 INR i.e. around 8 EUR or 9 USD.
I would suggest getting the government UPSRTC or Uttarakhand Parivahan Nigam buses. And avoid local private buses. Local private buses try to pick up passengers on the way and make stops at unnecessary places and take very long to reach their destination. So stick to government buses.
Buses are frequent and run every half hour so mostly they are not very crowded. It takes around 8 hours for a bus to reach Rishikesh from Delhi.
How to reach Rishikesh by Car
This is a costly option looking at the fuel prices, the tolls and the distance, but this is completely your personal choice. If you love long drives then enjoy the drive.
If you are driving there it’s a pretty straight forward drive through Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Roorkee and Haridwar. Most of the journey is on the NH334. Getting out of Delhi might take a lot of time so plan an early morning exit from Delhi.
Most importantly Drive safely and take proper breaks. Avoid driving if you are feeling sleepy or tired, drive safe.