Table of Contents
Rishikesh is popularly known for Ram Jhula, Laxman Jhula, Beatles Ashram, the boho shopping streets and of course Adventure sports. But have you ever wondered what are some unusual places the ‘City of Sagas’ has to offer you? This article explores the immense possibilities the mountains surrounding Rishikesh have for an off-beat tourism experience. So, if you are seeking a quieter alternative to Rishikesh’s most popular tourist hubs, follow on for more!
Astha Path (Marine Drive)
Experience the calm beauty of the Ganga River with a leisurely stroll along the lesser-known Astha Path in Rishikesh. It’s a serene escape from the bustling tourist areas. Along this path, you’ll find several ashrams, some of which open directly onto it. To the south, you can explore a route leading to the Art of Living ashram, while to the north, you have a choice between lower-level steps to Lakshman Jhula or an elevated walkway that offers picturesque views of the town. Don’t miss this unforgettable experience on Rishikesh’s Marine Drive!
Forest Checkpost (Nature Trail)
If you notice moving upstream Ganga, Rishikesh has developed majorly to the left of the river. This nature trail, starting at the Forest Checkpost to the right of Ganga Barrage, connects various religious centers such as Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Badrinath Mandir, and Mahadev Mandir. It’s a scenic 10 KM hike that offers a quieter way to experience spirituality along the route. You might even come across Sadhus on their pilgrimages. Eventually, this trail merges into the Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir trek, which we’ll cover in more detail shortly.
Rishikesh View Point
Seeking blessings from Neelkanth Mahadev is an essential part of any Rishikesh pilgrimage. Follow this trekking route to the temple, where Lord Shiva saved the Earth by swallowing Kalikut poison during Samudra Manthan, meditating here for 60,000 years. During this 14 KM journey to reach the temple, you can explore hidden gems near Rishikesh like the Rishikesh Viewpoint and River Viewpoint. If time is limited, opt for the longer route from Ram Jhula with your choice of vehicle to enjoy a serene view and the peaceful sounds of the Ganga along your journey while still reaching the temple.
Goa Beach, Shivpuri
Believe it or not, there are more Goa-like beaches in Rishikesh than in Goa itself. Most of these peaceful riverside spots are located upstream from Rishikesh, and one of the closest options is in Shivpuri. Drive along NH 7, and you’ll find various spots to choose from.
We recommend selecting spots closer to cottages and retreat houses; they are not only safe but also offer the chance to observe forest animals across the river. What makes these beaches special? They’re hardly ever crowded, making them perfect for rock collectors. You can sit on the boulders and dip your feet in the clear waters of the Ganga. The best time to visit these beaches is in the evening when the cool breeze washes away your stress.
For a road trip into the mountains, drive further into the Shivpuri range to reach Kaudiyala village via NH 7. This small village, about 40 km from Rishikesh on the Badrinath road, is famous for its scenic location along the Ganga River. It’s a hotspot for white water rafting and also provides a beautiful camping site. Adventure enthusiasts from far and wide come here to experience the thrill of offbeat rafting in the challenging stretch from Kaudiyala to Shivpuri. It’s an excellent alternative to rafting options in Rishikesh. Plan your trip around Kaudiyala to enjoy leisure tourism along with rafting.
Kunjapuri Mata Temple Trek
In an earlier section, we discussed the trek to Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir and its scenic spots. Similarly, the road to Kunjapuri Mata Mandir offers tranquillity and can be reached by car or two-wheelers. It is the perfect example of offbeat places in Rishikesh. This temple honours Goddess Sati, provides panoramic mountain views, including Rishikesh, and is one of Tehri District’s three shaktipeethas founded by Jagadguru Shankaracharya. The trek from Tapovan in Rishikesh, spanning about 10 kilometres, unveils captivating scenery, with vistas of Rishikesh, the Doon Valley, and Rajaji National Park, as you ascend to the temple.
Smart Village Ouni
Lastly, 7th entry to offbeat places near Rishikesh is Ouni (Aoni Gaon). Lying southeast of Kunjapuri Mountain has undergone a remarkable transformation, thanks to a significant investment following a recent G-20 meeting in Narendra Nagar, Uttarakhand. This once-traditional village now boasts integrated farming, improved infrastructure, and charming pathways. A stroll through Ouni reveals traditional Aipan art, making it a worthwhile visit.
Exploring Rishikesh’s offbeat hidden gems beyond the famous attractions is equally important. From tranquil walks on the Astha Path to nature trails from the Forest Checkpost, moving on to pilgrimages to Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir, each offers a unique experience. Discover Goa Beach in Shivpuri, take a road trip to Kaudiyala village, visit Kunjapuri Mata Mandir, or explore the smart village of Ouni. So, use this Google Earth link to plan your itinerary. In addition to this, we recommend you to check out Char Dham Yatra & Uttarakhand Travel Guide for more about Uttarakhand tourism.