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Rishikesh is really a collection of districts in India, which became famous as a spiritual centre because of its position on the banks of the Ganges, where the mountains majestically rise out of the scenic plains. Many years ago, it was rural and peaceful, and its heady mix of Himalayan highlands and holy river water attracted ascetics, gurus and yogis who set up ashrams.

By the time The Beatles arrived in the 1960s it was already more or less commercialised; the hippies have now metamorphosed into New Agers and yoga devotees. Don't expect tranquillity, but do expect some fine ashrams and temples, walks and people-watching.

Tourists come from all over the globe to experience the ‘Yoga capital of the world’ and Rishikesh has been home to several famous spiritual leaders, such as Swami Sivananda and Swami Ram, who taught at institutions like ‘The Divine Life Society’, which now has branches all over the world. For more active experiences, there are plenty of walking trails to be found here, as well as rafting opportunities.

In accordance with the religious significance of Rishikesh, only vegetarian food is permitted here, and alcohol is prohibited at this spiritual centre. Many visitors enjoy spending time in an ashram and exploring the lush green Ganges-fed forests which have long captivated those seeking spiritual enlightenment.

A particularly memorable and meditative event called the ‘Ganga Aarti’ takes place every evening on the ‘ghats’ of the river. As dusk descends, offerings are made in the form of tiny flickering lanterns surrounded by flowers which float beautifully down the river. As incense swirls over the water and sadhus (holy men) chant and chime bells, visitors can expect to be moved by this hypnotic spectacle. This intoxicating, almost magical, experience is bound to leave you wanting to explore India more, as well as return to the wonderful country again and again.

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I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson

I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
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We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
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I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
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