Rishikesh, as a Traveler

Besides rafting or kayaking or SUP (of course) — what else is there to do in Rishikesh?

If you’re not interested in just being a tourist, but being a bit more of a traveler, we’ve highlighted our favourite things about the town, off the beaten path. As much as we can, we’ve focused on eateries that nourish the community - either with organic, local food, or by supporting good causes. Add your own favorites in the comments below!

What To Do

Take yourself on a street art tour.

Thanks to the Rishikesh Street Art Festival (2015), the town is sprinkled with street art on massive walls but also in the nooks and crannies. Check out the RSAF Facebook Page and then discover all the art around town.

Rent a motorcycle and drive to Kunjapuri Temple.

About an hour away on sweet curvy roads, this destination will get you into the mountains, with a view of big Himalaya mountains (if you’re lucky). Or arrange a ride up and walk back to Rishikesh. It’s great to catch the sunrise there!

Visit the Beatles Ashram.

Yes, this is a tourist destination. But with a bit of historical background on The Beatles in India, this site will come alive for you.


Want to do something good? Connect with the fine folks at Clean Himalaya for a waste pick-up. You’ll meet new people, learn about trash, and give back (in a small but significant way) to the community.

Drive to Neelkanth Temple.

Still have that motorcycle rental? Drive to Neelkanth Temple. According to Hindu mythology (thanks, Wikipedia), this is where Lord Shiva consumed the poison that originated from the sea when the Gods and Demons churned the ocean in order to obtain the nectar of immorality. This poison made his throat blue in color, which is the literal meaning of “Neelkanth”: The Blue Throated One.

Go bungy jumping or try the Flying Fox.

Again, touristy. But if this is way out of your comfort zone, then you’ve got to try it. Designed by the late David Allardice, Jumpin Heights is now run by a group of really nice, professional, and well-trained Kiwis.

Volunteer with Rishikesh Animal Care Center.

If you have a heart of gold and like looking after animals that need help, visit the inspiring folks at Rishikesh Animal Care Center. Assistance or donations welcome. 

Where To Eat

LA-SO-VA Fresh Kitchen

Topping our list of eateries in Rishikesh is LA-S0-VA Fresh Kitchen, as it’s local, seasonal, vegetarian and oh-so-delicious. Plus the seating arrangement just invites you to meet new people and the view is superb. Best kept secret in Rishikesh.


Scrumptiously fresh food prepared with love plus opportunities to meet new friends. We like it. (Pic credit: LA-SO-VA Facebook page.)


Pure Soul

The restaurant of Dewa Retreat, we think Pure Soul’s website says it much better than we can. Be prepared to pay a little more, but it’s worth it.

Pappu Lassi

Best lassis in Rishikesh, hands down. And Pappu has been in business for over 20 years, making him a mainstay. It’s worth the trip into town.

Ramana’s Garden Cafe

This seasonal café has operated since 2006 and 100% of the profits go back into the Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home in Rishikesh. You can enjoy organic meals made with fresh organic produce and feel good about where your money is going.

Pundir General Store and Tattv Restaurant

Pick up organic snacks and other goodies (sometimes including fresh baked, vegan goods) at Pundir’s, located in Tapovan. Walk through the store and up the staircase to the yummy Tattv restaurant, with good portions and a stunning view of the Ganga.

Other favorites include:

A Tavola Con Te (Tapovan): Great Italian food, including tiramisu and Lavazza coffee. 

VJ’s by the Ganges (Tapovan): If you are in need of a proper wood-oven pizza with an amazing view over the Ganga, served to you with a genuine smile, VJ's is where you need to go.

Bistro Nirvana (Tapovan) : High end food in a comfortable atmosphere tucked away in the high bank, hard to beat.

Swiss Garden (Tapovan) : Homey and beautiful atmosphere, best place to sit outside and enjoy a fresh meal between the trees. Best banoffee pie in Rishikesh.

Divine Café (Laxman Jhula): For cakes and desserts.

Please share your favourite Rishikesh places in the comments below and tell us WHY they’re so good. We’ll check them out…and maybe see you there?