Rishikesh, the World Capital of Yoga, has been one of India’s holiest and most spiritual centres for thousands of years. Rishikesh is a magical city on the blue banks of the holy Ganges river and nestled under the gaze of the mystical Himalayas. Filled with temples and surrounded by emerald jungles, hidden waterfalls, and pristine nature, Rishikesh is a jewel of an entry into the deep Himalayas and a gateway for those seeking to go deep into their spiritual practice.
Rishikesh is the most ancient pilgrimage location in India. It is known as Tapo Bhumi, meaning the place for yoga and meditation of the Gods. Rishikesh is a peaceful temple town where the Ganges River flows clear and full of spiritual energy. Rishikesh is a holy pace that acts as the beginning of the path leading to the sacred places deep in the Himalayas. It is the perfect place for the spiritually inclined and for those who seek meaning. Spiritual people will find total peace and will be completely at home in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh translates to “city of saints”. Legend has it that the sage Rishi Raibhya sat on the banks of the Ganges and performed severe penance in the form of austerity and extreme yoga practices. Mythology tells us that he was rewarded when Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Rishikesh, thus giving the place its name. Over the ages saints have meditated and done saddhana at this peaceful spot beneath the soaring mountains and beside the flowing Ganges.
One of the most prominent religious leaders in modern times, Adi Shankaracharya, traversed this land in the 9th century. His pilgrimage to Rishikesh was later codified into a great pilgrimage circuit and thus gave a heightened sense of sacredness to this land of the gods. Ever since, Rishikesh has been a stepping stone and the first destination on lists of holy shrines and sites stretching across the lofty Himalayan Range.
Rishikesh came into the world limelight during the 1960’s when the famous British pop band, the Beatles, met and studied with their guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here. Since then Rishikesh has become popularised in the west as a destination for spiritual practice and study, attracting millions of tourists, wanderers, and spiritual seekers.
Though more on the beaten trail, the power and sacredness of Rishikesh still rises from its deeply woven roots and is prevalent even today. The city remains peaceful, with friendly cows, happy dogs, smiling babas, and women with bushels of hay balanced on their heads roaming through its shop, chai stand, and cafe dotted streets. The famous “Beatles Ashram”, located in Ram Jula, is a fun place to go explore where the Beatles lived and began their spiritual studies.
There are innumerable yoga centres in Rishikesh where people come from all over the world to study in this sacred place. As such, Rishikesh has become known as the Yoga Capital of the World. An annual International Yoga Festival is held by the Utrakhaand Tourism Board from March 1 through March 7. World renown teachers and hundreds of practitioners from over 40 different cuountries converge in Rishikesh to celebrate the universal spirit of yoga.
People come from all over the world to practice yoga, meditate, rejuvenate, and to find peace. Many people come as a part of their spiritual path. Whatever the purpose be in visiting Rishikesh, whether to wash away karma in the Ganga, to offer pujas, or to watch the fire ceremonies performed on the banks of the Ganges, Rishikesh touches the heart and souls of all who come. And all who leave feel somehow magically changed, always for the better.
Swarg Ashram, meaning Heavily Abode, is situated, as the name suggests, in picturesque surroundings at the foothills of the Himalayas and on the bank of the Ganges river. Located between Rishikesh and Laxmanjula in the midsts of many ashrams and temples, Swarg Ashram is in the most spiritually concentrated area of Rishikesh. This area is known for its healthy and sattvic living environment, which is idea for finding peace, spiritual growth, and practice. For thousands of years the famous Yogis and Rishis of yore have been preforming Tapasya and Saddhana in this sacred place. There are numerous mentions of this spot on the Ganges in the holy scripture Puranas.
Swami Atma Prakash was the first modern yogi to come to the area. He established the Swarg Ashram Trust, whose aim is to provide all the facilities for the spiritual development of all spiritually inclined people looking to follow the path of renunciation and devotion. Many of the lodgings and businesses in the area, including Tattvaa Yoga Shala, are leasers and participants in the activities of the Swarg Ashram Trust.
Below is a list of the community activities and resources provided by Swarg Ashram Trust and contributed to by its affiliates, including Tattvaa Yoga Shala.