As Rishikesh does not have an airport, you can fly to the nearest airport in Dehradun if you want to come here by flight. Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport has daily flights from Delhi and other cities and airlines such as Air India, Spice Jet and IndiGo fly here regularly. The airport is just 35km from Rishikesh and you can get a taxi to take you here once you land. There are also bus services that you can use to get to Rishikesh from Dehradun. The other alternative is taking a flight to Delhi which is an international airport and receives flights from all over the world. You can take a bus from Delhi to reach Rishikesh.
There are several buses connected to Rishikesh from Delhi. Buses from other pilgrimage sites such as Haridwar also come here often enough. If you want to travel to Rishikesh from Delhi by bus, then check the morning and late evening buses as they depart every day from Kashmir Gate ISBT. Buses range from regular, deluxe and luxury and depending on your budget, you can choose accordingly. Rishikesh has two bus stands, the Main Bus Stand and the Yatra Bus Stand. You can get on a bus at either of these bus stands to leave from Rishikesh. Tickets can be bought at the UTC Bus Booking Stand opposite Madras Café in Ram Jhoola.
As Rishikesh is connected to other cities by the National Highway 58, driving down in your own vehicle can be a good idea to reach Rishikesh. The highway is also in good condition, making the drive quite easy and pleasant. From Delhi, it takes around 6 to 7 hours to reach Rishikesh. Some parts of the road, especially the hilly terrain might not be smooth and there can be some ruts in the road. Still, many people prefer to drive up to the town as it makes getting around easier. If you are travelling from Delhi by car, then it’s a good idea to leave between 4 and 5 in the morning as there can be quite a bit of traffic in towns like Modinagar and Roorkee. Other options by road would be to hire a taxi. From Dehradun, there are also share jeeps which leave early in the morning. Do try and get to the stand between 5 and 7 in the morning.
To reach Rishikesh by train, you will have to travel to Haridwar, which is around 25kms away from Rishikesh and it is well-connected to many of the major Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow to name a few. While Rishikesh has its own railway station, there are only three slow trains which run on a daily basis. This is why the Haridwar railway station is a better approach. Once you reach here, you can take a bus or taxi, to reach Rishikesh. Travelling to Rishikesh by train is a good idea because the trains often run empty and the fares are reasonably low. During melas or peak season, they are even on time. Some of the best trains to reach Haridwar and subsequently Rishikesh by train are Shatabdi Express, Jan Shatabdi, AC Special Express and Mussoorie Express.
Getting around in Rishikesh by taxi is quite convenient. These can be hired from local tour operators or the taxi stand in Swarg Ashram. The other alternative would be to take a jeep which can be taken on a per seat basis. The jeep stand is in Lakshman Jhoola.
Autorickshaws are also known as vikram here. These can be hired on a shared basis or you can hire one for yourself. These are not metered and often have fixed fares, so determine the fares before you begin the ride. It’s a good idea to put on your negotiation caps and haggle well or the auto drivers will literally and figuratively take you for a ride. You can find autorickshaws everywhere in Rishikesh. It’s also the best way to get to the bus stand or railway station or places like Lakshman Jhoola.
If you want to reach the Eastern bank of the River Ganga, then you will have to take a ferry from Ram Jhula. This is a picturesque way to cross the river, although you can also walk across the Ram Jhoola or Lakshman Jhoola bridges.
As most of the religious attractions are close to each other in Rishikesh, it’s a good idea to travel on foot. Walking will get you everywhere and it’s easily doable even though the terrain can be a little hilly at times. Since the lanes are narrow, walking is considered the best way to get around Rishikesh and to see the splendour and glory of the town in a completely different aspect.