If you’re going on a yoga pilgrimage, Rishikesh is a good place to start. Dubbed the “birthplace of yoga,” this spiritual town is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains along the sacred Ganges River in Northern India. Legend has it that a famous saint came to the river to give penance and was acknowledged by Hindu God Vishnu. Rishikesh is replete with ashrams and temples that pay homage to various gods and goddesses, as well as a plethora of yoga classes and workshops.
Stay at the garden-set Phool Chatti Ashram (from $190 for a 7-day program with vegetarian meals) known for the silent components of its retreats. Or get spoiled at Ananda in the Himalayas (from $510/night), which sits on a 100-acre Maharaja Palace Estate. The luxury spa resort is famed for its Ayurvedic spa and wellness treatments, yoga and meditation classes (check out their new Dhyana Self-Realization program), and organic cuisine. Intrepid Travel’s 13-Day Mountains & Mystics itinerary (from $1,095) includes visiting ancient temples in Old Delhi and the Dalai Lama’s tranquil Dharmasala, before completing the trip by setting up camp along the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh.
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