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A Review of the Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand, India

Ravi is a traveler and foodie who loves to visit off-the-beaten-track places and understand the culture, history and customs behind them.



A Special Place for a Special Occasion

The American journalist Emily Yoffe has rightly said,

“When you have a life milestone happen, it’s good to step back and reassess the things you thought you knew about yourself.”

And one of the best ways to step back and reassess is to celebrate the success of your milestone(s). Yes, living life to the fullest is not only about achieving milestones but also celebrating.

Coming back to me, October has been a perfect month for me so far. I reached three critical milestones this month,

  • I crossed my 75th travel destination. Yes, I am an incurable, obsessive and compulsive traveler who loves to explore the unknown.
  • I reached the 15th anniversary of our marriage with my soul transforming better half. Yes, I must give her credit for changing me for the better!!
  • Lastly, I went live with yet another global AI-based supply chain software implementation on the work front, adding the 25th feather to my cap. It was a proud moment for me, especially for someone with no formal computer education.

So, to cut a long story short, we decided to celebrate in style so that the vacation memories would forever remain imprinted in our minds. After a lot of brainstorming, arguments, counter-arguments, and numerous U-turns, we finally decided that our dream destination should have the following three characteristics,

  • It should be far, far away from the maddening crowd.
  • It should have magnificent hills crisscrossed by a tranquil river.
  • It should have lip-smacking food to satisfy our unquenchable foodie souls.

We zeroed in on the town of Rishikesh in the Uttarakhand state of India. The Shivalik range of the Himalayas surrounds Rishikesh on three sides, and the mighty river Ganges flows between the mountains. Rishikesh offers a deep spiritual and cultural connection to all visitors seeking calmness.

And within Rishikesh, we chose to stay in the Taj Rishikesh Resort. This off-the-beaten-path resort is a perfect place for the adventure traveler and others seeking tranquil relaxation and spiritual salvation.

Rishikesh Town

Rishikesh Town

The History of Rishikesh

Rishikesh, the "place of the sages," is a famed spiritual town situated on the banks of the Ganges River, one of the holiest rivers in India. It is also the starting place for the "4 Dham yatra" in Hinduism, traveled by thousands of pilgrims to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath to seek spiritual salvation.

The town "Rishikesh" was initially known as "‘Hṛṣīkeśa’ “which is derived from two words—“hṛṣīk” which means senses, and “īśa” which means master. Thus, it is the ideal destination for those tourists who want to master their senses through spirituality and yoga.

The deep mountains and the flowing Ganges rover make it a perfect destination for yoga and adventure sports like white-river rafting, rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, local village visits, and hiking. Rishikesh is also called the "yoga capital of the world."

The town has a rich mythological history behind it and played an important role in the “Ramayana," the sacred epic of Hinduism. It is said that it was in this holy town Lord Ram along with his brother Lakshmana offered penance after defeating Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. The points where the two brothers meditated have temples visited by thousands of devotees during the Diwali season.

Currently, Rishikesh has assumed the importance of a booming tourist town specializing in yogic activities. The Yoga festival celebrated in Rishikesh every year is very popular in India and abroad. Ganga Arti, a religious ceremony celebrated in Rishikesh every morning and evening, is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions.

The Taj Rishikesh Resort and Spa

The resort is located about 20 miles from Rishikesh town. It is spread over 12 acres of gardens with the river Ganges flowing just below the resort. The hotel is constructed in the rustic chalet-type architecture prevalent in the local Garhwal region, with sloping roofs, tiri stone dressing, and wooden eaves blending seamlessly with the breathtaking natural scenery.

The hotel has 79 rooms ranging from standard rooms to individual villas, overlooking the river Ganges and nested within the Shivalik mountain range. We chose a deluxe room with floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors that opened onto a little balcony offering a stunning view of the Ganges River with mesmerizing sunsets and sunrises through the thick canopy of the surrounding Singthali forest.

Dining Options

There are three restaurants at the resort, each having its delectable signature dishes.

  • The Pebble beach: This is an open-air pizza bar that serves a fantastic range of pizzas in a wood-fired oven. It also offers other classic Italian dishes and some innovative mocktail and cocktail options.
  • The Rock Flour: This is a multicuisine restaurant that offers scintillating views of the river and mountains from the terrace. Located at the top of the resort for stunning views, this restaurant offers a sumptuous spread of intercontinental, Indian, and Local dishes. While you are here, it is worth trying the buttery “egg ala crème” and” Pahadi Chole Bathure (deep-fried bread with chickpeas), which is offered as part of the breakfast buffet.
  • The Riverside: If you are in the mood for something adventurous and unique, you need to try this restaurant that offers authentic Himalayan cuisine and local classics of the Garhwal region. While here, do not miss to sample the “Himalayan Lentil soup” and the “Gahat Dal stuffed bread”. They are simply out of this world.
  • Panorama Bar: The bar offers a good collection of wines and drinks for a chilly evening among the mountains. Styled like a cozy, warm country cottage living room, the bar is a great place to unwind after a strenuous trek in the hills.

Wellness Options

Jiva Spa is a wellness spa within the resort that is inherently rooted in the age-old Indian ancient approach to wellness. The different spa treatments offered are drawn from the fabled lifestyle and culture of the Indian royalty, with the healing therapies based on yogic spirituality to provide ultimate calmness of mind and body.

The hotel also provides daily meditation and yoga classes. Moreover, you can also attend the Ganga Aarti, a ceremony that honors the holy Ganges River every day at sunset. I participated in this aarti during my stay, and believe me, there are no words to describe the amazing feeling of serenity that washed over me by the side of the Ganges.

A Bit of Caution

While you are here, it is best to take some minor precautions to have a memorable stay.

  • Do not venture to the Ganges beach on your own. The current is quite strong, and the rocks are slippery.
  • There are monkeys everywhere, so it is best to keep the balcony of your room closed when you are not around.
  • The local people are simple and warm and take pride in their local culture and traditions. So it would be better to respect their beliefs than venture out strong opinions.

Travel Details

Here's a bit about accessing Rishikesh and the best times I would recommend for you to visit.

How to Reach Rishikesh

You can reach Rishikesh easily by air, road, or rail.

  • By Air: Jolly Grant airport, Dehradun, is the nearest airport to Rishikesh. It is located about 35 km from the city and has flight services from all major cities in India. The Taj resort is about 30 miles from the airport and takes about 2 hours to reach there.
  • By Rail: The nearest railway station is Haridwar railway station which is 25km away from Rishikesh. You can take a cab to Rishikesh, which takes a little more than an hour.
  • By Road: Cab and bus services are available from Dehradun, Delhi, Haridwar, Mathura, and Mussoorie.

Best Time to Visit Rishikesh

The weather in Rishikesh Uttarakhand is pleasant all year round. However, you must book the flights and hotels in advance (preferably in the off-peak season) to get the best rates. October to February (Winter) is the best time to travel, with the temperatures hovering around a pleasant range of 8°C and 25°C.

Ram Jhoola Rishikesh

Ram Jhoola Rishikesh

The Best Places to Visit in Rishikesh

From religious to the cultural and adventurous extravaganza, Rishikesh has something for everyone. Here are some of the places you can visit in and around Rishikesh.

  • Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula
  • Triveni Ghat
  • The Beatles Ashram
  • Rishikund hot water springs
  • Neer Garh Waterfall
  • Kunjapuri Temple
  • Himalayan Yog Ashram
  • Garud Chatti Waterfall
  • Shivpuri
  • Rajaji National Park


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ravi Rajan