Rishikesh is a vibrant and bustling small city in North India. It lies in a valley at the foothills of the Himalyas and offers refreshing clean mountain air and surrounding green hills, a turquoise colored Ganga (when it hasn’t been raining!) and a relaxed pace. Rishikesh is one of the spiritual hubs of the world (due to the Ganga which is one of the holiest rivers in the world) and attracts equal amounts of sadhus, saints, travelers and tourists. The influx of diverse people adds to the unique character of the city, supporting spiritual seekers, musicians and artists and many long term travelers who are looking for a more peaceful and integrated experience within Northern India. The emphasis on holistic health — satsangs with spiritual teachers, yoga, meditation and organic cafes creates a healthy and inspiring ambiance, which is the perfect backdrop to immerse yourself. Countless courses are offered, from yoga, meditation, cooking to dance. Rishikesh truly provides something for everyone — and if your just passing through, you can easily soak up the cities vibe with long meditative walks along the Ganga from Laxman Jula to Ram Jula bridges, observing the devotion that is continuously taking place along her flowing waters.
Ramana’s Organic Cafe, Tapovan
Amongst an orphanage lies the best kept secret in Rishikesh. An organic cafe, only open for lunch offers a set menu option or a la carte. Green kale salads, homemade raviolis and momos, tulsi teas, and the best dark chocolate truffles in India(!) are some of my favorites. Saturdays they have healthy pizzas and documentary nights and Sundays offer acoustic jam sessions with musicians from across the globe. The prices are a bit higher (in comparison with other cafes) however it is well worth it as most of the proceeds go directly to the kids. Long term travelers can volunteer if they would like to give even more.
Tavola con Te, Tapovan
A short hike above Tapovan leads you to the sacred garden and authentic Italian eatery. The menu is literally thin crust pizzas, pastas and deserts — but it’s all you need to enjoy their fusion of ingredients which create classic mouthwatering Italian dishes in India. The tiramisu is like a dream and not to be missed! Go early as space is limited and this is a popular spot.
Zorba Organic, Laxman Jula
Overlooking the Ganga with cozy chill out spaces, Zorba has an extensive menu which offers organic and vegan items. They offer a juice cleanse package which includes super food smoothies and wheatgrass shots. For the more touristy restaurants, Zorba has a nice environment and consistent quality foods.
The Juice House, Ram Jula
This must be my favorite place in all of Rishikesh! The Juice House is a cozy, packed juice cafe which has room for about 12 people to sit inside. Vegetables, herbs and fruits are the constant aroma as their juice machine is nonstop working. The young guys who run the place are friendly and have mastered the menu…not only are juices and smoothies are made within minutes, but they are always delivered with a smile. The Juice House is known for its infamous ‘fruit, muesli, soya/curd’ salads which have perfectly ripened tropical fruits, figs and fresh mint and coconut. The fruit is cut and prepared fresh with every bowl they make. Hint: order a half portion as the fruit salads are packed with nutrients, energy and love…a full portion is enough for both breakfast, lunch and dinner! The cafe is charming as it boasts like-minded travelers who have an appetite for health and will welcome you to join them at one of the two tables.
Anna Prem, Tapovan
Run by the deciphers of Baba Prem, this cafe doesn’t look like much, but has an amazing view over the Laxman Jhula bridge and the frenzy of activity crossing it all day long, along with a healthy (mostly vegan) menu.
A mini garden oasis nestled in the midst of dusty streets, Ayurpak is an authentic Ayurvedic restaurant which serves incredible food, thali’s and tea infusions. A well known spot among reoccurring Rishikesh travelers (and often busy) however its lush green property creates a sacred and shanti atmosphere, perfect for a lazy lunch and your book/journal.
LAUREN LEE is passionate about holistic health, exploring the world and empowering others to live vibrant and happy lives. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated yogini and sun seeker, she lives for creating connection and enjoying simple pleasures. Read more about her here