Neer Garh Waterfall
Rishikesh may be known as the world’s yoga capital, but a hike to the nearby Neer Garh Waterfalls demonstrates the region’s true tranquillity.
One of the best natural escapes in Rishikesh is about a mile and a half northeast of the Laxman Julla Bridge. The Neer Garh falls are made up of three stunning waterfalls. Although Rishikesh has a thriving tourist economy, these waterfalls are more of a “off the beaten path” type of spot, where mostly locals go to cool off in the cool pools beneath the falls.
The Neer Garh waterfalls can be reached by walking, driving, or taking a taxi up to the first waterfall. From Rishikesh’s Topovan area, take the 7 highway (or Karprayag-Haridwar Rd.) for about a mile until you see signs for Neergarh Waterfall Rd. on the left. The steep mountain road will lead you to a parking lot just below the first waterfall. You can pay the small entrance fee of 30 Rs here.
When you get to the stream, there is a small pool at the bottom where you can dip your feet or even sit and drink some chai. From here, take the stairs up the mountain and along the stream to the first bridge. The trail continues up and gradually steepens, but when you see the two lower tiers of waterfalls from the trail, you can veer off to get a closer look and a more intimate photograph.
Continue climbing the trail, resting on the numerous benches as needed. Soon after, you will come across the second bridge and the main Neer Garh Waterfall. With a height of about 25 feet, this is the tallest of the three falls. This waterfall also feeds the largest swimming hole, as well as a concrete platform from which to enter. The water here is cold all year, but it is definitely refreshing.
If you go to the waterfalls before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m., you will most likely be one of the only people there. Despite the insane amount of yoga that takes place in the city, this can be one of the most relaxing experiences in Rishikesh. Sitting next to the rushing water with a hot cup of chai in hand after a chilly swim was by far the most peaceful thing I was able to do during my time in India.