It's only around 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from Haridwar to Rishikesh in Uttarkhand, so most people choose to visit both places. This is ideal, because both are very different in nature and offer unique spiritual experiences. But how to get from one to the other? Here are the options. Traveling time is about 45 minutes to an hour.
If you're not on a budget, the most comfortable and hassle free way to get from Haridwar to Rishikesh is to take a taxi. Expect to pay about 1,400 rupees upwards depending on the type of taxi, where you get it from and if your hotel arranges it. This starting rate is for a standard air-conditioned Tata Indica or similar small car.
Shared Auto Rickshaws
These auto rickshaws are not your ordinary Indian autos. Known as vikrams (their brand name) or tempos, they're much larger in size and have fixed routes. The ones you'll find in Haridwar and Rishikesh seat eight people, and are open-sided like a rickshaw. You can take a shared auto from Haridwar right up to the Tapovan area of Rishikesh for 40-60 rupees, or hire a whole one for yourself for about 500 rupees. However, the journey might not be as comfortable as you expect. Shared autos are very crowded, and you'll be sandwiched in. Even if you take your own vehicle, its open sides will ensure that you'll be subjected to plenty of traffic noise, fumes and pollution. The suspension isn't the best either! Thus, if you're looking to save money, it's a much better idea to take the bus.
Shared autos can be found near Haridwar Junction railway station on the south side of town. Or, cross the bridge over the river and head to the main road in Haridwar. Shared taxis are also available from the main road.
The buses that run between Haridwar and Rishikesh are old and haggard but if you want an economical journey, they really can't be beat. They run frequently (at least every half hour) and are cheap at only 30-40 rupees per person. Buses can be boarded at the rather unaesthetic bus station, located close to Haridwar Junction railway station. The only drawback of taking a bus is that you'll end up in the unappealing center of Rishikesh town. From there, you'll need to take further transport (such as a shared auto) to the traveler's part of Rishikesh around Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula, situated about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) northeast of town.
Another option for getting from Haridwar to Rishikesh is the train. However, there are only a few departures during the day and the trains run slowly, taking more than an hour to get there. (Train timetables can be seen here). It's actually faster by road! The exception is during peak season or mela (festival) times, when roads become congested and bus routes are diverted. Similar to the bus, the railway station is located in Rishikesh town and you'll need to take further transport from there.
Most of the trains are unreserved passenger trains, with the cost of tickets being only 10 rupees for adults. The most convenient options are:
- 24888 Barmer - Rishikesh Link Express Departs Haridwar daily at 9.55 a.m. and arrives in Rishikesh at 10.50 a.m. This is an air-conditioned train with various classes of travel from Unreserved to 3AC.
- 54483 Haridwar - Rishikesh Passenger Departs Haridwar daily at 10.20 a.m. and arrives in Rishikesh at 11.20 a.m.
- 54463 Bandikui - Rishikesh Passenger Departs Haridwar daily at 13.28 p.m. and arrives in Rishikesh at 2.45 p.m.
- 54485 Haridwar Rishikesh Passenger Departs Haridwar daily at 8.30 p.m. and arrives in Rishikesh at 9.45 p.m.