Tourism in Uttarakhand
‘Expect the unexpected’ being the tag line for adventure tourism, this remains to be a niche, fast emerging and growing sector in the recent years. With run-of-the-mill beach destinations and usual tourist spots fast fading, only to be replaced by mountaineering, river rafting, skiing, bungee jumping, para gliding and other adventure related activities. These adventure sports, offers the much needed ‘zing factor’. Uttarakhand
with varied topography is nothing but a vast canvas, left to be coloured the way one imagines and wishes to. The mountainous terrain of the Himalayas, the glaciers, snow peaks, abundant waterways makes it extremely conducive and holds a placard of numerous option for all kinds of adventure sports. The journey is rewarding in every sense, from being a trekker’s paradise to a mountaineer’s challenge, Uttarakhand is a place even for a well-discerned traveller.
The softly rounded hills revealing the breathtaking mysterious landscapes, the translucent and shimmering snow, the mighty pines with crimson leaves, the gentle springs with a constant murmur has always remained a secret to mankind, preciously guarded by nature. Uttarakhand unravels all these mysteries and allows mankind the opportunity to explore the murmured tale.
Here are the top hill destinations, that will give you time to examine the beauty of the world around us. “One who is tuned with nature is tuned to the practice of living”.
Top Hill Destinations of Uttarakhand
The ‘Queen Of Hills’ Mussoorie
, gets its name from a shrub named ‘Mansur’ that grows in abundance in this region. It has been great summer retreat for decades, providing the much needed respite to its visitors. The history of this place can be traced back to the British Raj, which is evident in the architectural style of the structures, found in the region. Mussoorie is situated at a height of about 2005 mts above sea level. The picturesque views, the varied flora and fauna, the mystical sight of the Shivalik ranges and interesting spots transport you in to an enthralling world.Mussoorie is also referred to as the ‘Gateway of Yamunotri and Gangotri’.While in Mussoorie Do not miss to visit these places:
Gun Bridge, Childer’s lodge, Camel’s Back Road, Municipal Garden, Jharipani Fall, Bhatta Fall, Kempty Fall, Mussorrie Lake, Clous End, Nag Devta Temple, Jwalaji Temple, Sir George Everest House and Van Chetna Kendra.
Best Season: April to June/ September to November. (The place is covered with beautiful canopy of colourful blooms, during September to November)Did you know? This place served as a secret Summer getaway for the British Officers during the British Raj
, located at an altitude of about 1,938 mts above sea level, derives its name from the famous Naini lake
. This place is also known as the ‘Lake District of India’. The beauty of this place finds no parlance, with its serene environment, pristine lakes, lush-green environment and snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Each angle of this place provides you with a mesmerising shot. This place holds significant spiritual semblance, which finds a fair mention in the Hindu mythology. A quiet walk into woods, a boat ride in the lake, a trek in the mountain and the list of interesting opportunities this place can offer seems endless.While in Nainital Do not Miss to Visit these Places
: Naini Devi temple
, Naini Tal, Governor’s house, Govind Ballabh Pant Zoo
, Aerial ropeway
, Tiffin Top
, Eco Cave Garden
, Mall Road
, Laria kanta, Khurpa tal
, Hanuman Garhi
, Cheena Peak
, Land’s End
Best time to Visit: March – June/ September – October
(If you want to enjoy the Snow fall, December and January, is the apt time)Did you know? Lord Shiva is said to have performed the ‘Tandav’ at this place, according to the Hindu Mythology.
One of the most important skiing destinations, not just in India but acclaimed globally. It is located at an altitude of about 3050 mts above sea level. Surrounded by coniferous and pine mountains, it offers a scintillating view of the majestic peaks of the Himalayas. It hosted the first SAF Winter games in the year 2011. The place is thronged by professional, amateur skiiers, during the skiing course conducted by the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam.Must Visit:
Kwani Bugyal, Gurso Bugyal, Chattra Kund, Bhavishya Badri, Artificial lake, Trishul lake, Winter Ski Resort, Joshi Math and Chenab Lake.
Best time to Visit: March – June/ November – February
(In case you are one of those adventure freaks and do not mind the cold, winter is the best time for if you want to put on your skiing rigs)Did you know? The world’s highest man-made lake is in Auli
Pangot, an ornithologist’s delight, is situated 15 kms from Nainital. It is a beautiful spot to witness more than 580 species of birds. It is a great retreat for people who enjoy wildlife. The drive through the forested path that leads to Pangot is as exciting as the destination. The tranquil atmosphere fused with the nature’s beautiful landscape attracts people all through the year. Since it does not have the normal tourist crowd pouring in, the whole place has a laidback charm. Activities to do:
Bird Watching, mountain biking, trekking.
Best time to Visit: March – June/ September – NovemberDid you know? India’s first and foremost birding lodge, “Jungle Lore Birding Lodge” is situated in Pangot
Himalayan beauty witnessed at its pinnacle, this place is blessed with great and magnificent views of famous peaks like the Nanda Devi, PanchChuli and Trishul. The place is extremely famous amongst professional photographers for the scenic splendour and shutter moments it offers. The Father of our Nation, referred to this place as “The Switzerland of India”, owing to its breathtaking Landscape. Places to Visit:
Anashakti Ashram, Sumitranandan Pant Museum, Baijinath Temple, Tea Gardens and Lakshmi Ashram.
Best Time to Visit: April – June/ September to November.Kausani is famous for its tea gardens and Pear Orchards.
A very quiet and pleasant town has started gaining importance in the recent years. It is at an elevation of about 1700 mts above sea level. On a lucky day one can get a magnificent view of the surrounding snow clad peaks. Khirsu provides a lot of opportunity for exploring new destinations, since the Pandora’s box has been untouched for a long period. The fragrance of the Pine trees, the lush apple orchards, the panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas, make for an interesting travel log.Places to Visit:
Pauri Garhwal, Kandoliya Temple and Ulkha Giri.
Best time to Visit: April – June /October and November.
Resting in the most picturesque backdrop, at an altitude of about 2286 mts above sea level, is one of the highest ridges of the central Himalayas. It is known and famous for its nature trails, waterfalls, secret pools and sun drenched meadows. The fruit orchards on the terraces add to the astounding beauty of this hill town. Read More about MukteshwarPlaces to see:
Mukteshwar temple, Chauli ki Jali and Sona Pani
Best time to Visit: March – May/ Ocober and November.Did you Know? Mukteshwar gets its name from the famous 350 year old temple of Lord Shiva.
Tourist Spots in Uttarakhand
This tranquil town of Uttarakhand
gets its name from the then Viceroy Lord Lansdowne. This place enjoys a salubrious climate throughout the year. It is situated at an altitude of about 1700 mts above sea level. Being the nearest hill station to the Capital, it is a much sought after weekend getaway. The serene atmosphere, lush green surroundings, cool environs rejuvenate the tourists who need a break from the humdrums of the city. Must Visit:
Bhulla Tal, Regimental Museaum, Durga Devi Temple, St Mary’s Church, St John’s Church, Tip-in-top, The Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial, Hawaghar and Bhim Pakora.
Best time to visit: All through the year.Lansdowne's original name was Kaludanda.
Jageshwar is a small temple town in the district of Almora. The spiritual vibrancy and the beauty of the place finds no parlance to the earthly existence. The gushing streams, small rivulets, ancient deodars and the absolute serenity of the place takes you into a trance. The place is dotted with 200 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The structure of the temple fluxed with the mystical environment is an important reason for many ‘Sadhus’ and tourists to throng this place seeking answers of higher purpose and rejuvenation. Many treks, nature trails amidst the thick Deodar brings in a perennial flow of avid trekkers, nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.Places to Visit:
Bridh Jageshwar, Jageshwar Mahadev, Jaganath temple, Kuber temple, Jhanker Saim Mahadev, Jageshwar Temple complex, Mritola Ashram, Pushti Devi and the archaeological museum.
Best time to visit: March – June / October and NovemberDid you know? One of the rarest Ekhamukha temple is found at Jageshwar.
Ranikhet entices you with its bewitching enchantment. Resting at an altitude of about 1,829 mts above sea level, has a perennial flow of tourists all through the year. The ambient weather conditions, ancient temples, interesting picnic spots, tall coniferous trees, sprawling meadows makes it a favoured destination. Ranikhet roughly translates in to ‘Queens Land’, and indeed lives up the expectations of the name it is been bestowed with. One can also get a glimpse of the crisp regimental atmosphere at this spot. Places to Visit:
Chaubatia Gardens, Golf Course, Ashiyana Park, Rama Mandir, St Bridget Church, Haidakhan Temple, Bhalu Dam, Jhula Devi temple, Katarmal, Binsar Mahadev, Syalikhet, Majkhali and the Kumaon Regimental Centre museum.
Best time to Visit: March – October.Did you Know? The golf Course located in Ranikhet is one of the highest in Asia.
Joshimath or Jyotir Math is one of the four cardinal pithas established by Sri Adi Shanakaracharya. It is an utmost significant spiritual location for multitudes of religious tourists and Hindu pilgrims. This place is located in the district of Chamoli and at a height of about 6150 feet. Joshimath witnesses a steady flow of tourists during the months between May and October, since it serves as a base camp for many religious and adventure locations like, Badrinath, Hem Kund Sahib, Kauri Pass and Auli.Places to visit:
Nanda Devi National Park, Shankaracharya Math, Narasinh Temple, Tapovan, Ropeway, Ghangharia and Govindghat.
Best time to Visit: The best time to visit is during the summer months April – June. Avoid visits during monsoon since the pathway gets tricky and slippery, ie during July – September. If you can brave the weather, winter is also embraced by many who want to enjoy the snowfall and the blooms which can be only seen during the winter season.Did You Know? The ropeway from Joshimath to Auli is one of the longest in Asia.
Valley of Flowers
A high altitude Himalayan valley, is known for its stretching expanse of beautiful blossoms, regional flowers and a wide variety of fauna. This India National Park was unknown for a very long time, due to its inaccessibility, only to be accidentally discovered by a group of British mountaineers in 1931. It is situated in the district of Chamoli and is a UNESCO world heritage site. This place has always been a ‘Botanist’s delight’, since it houses more than 500 species of wild flowers bearing brilliant colours and unique symmetry. Places to visit:
Hemkund Sahib and Ghangharia
Best time to visit: The best time to visit is during July – September when the place is in full bloom.Human Settlement in the area and grazing has been banned in this area since 1983.
It is a beautiful town located in the Indo-Nepal border of Pithoragarh district. Its striking resemblance to the shape of stove, which means ‘Chula’ in hindi, (a peak - ‘Dhar’) is where the name originates from. The array of mountains, picturesque surroundings, dense forest, clear rivers adorn this region. Dharchula is an important base camp, for the Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra and the Aadi Kailash Yatra.Must Visit Places:
Narayan Ashram, Askot Sanctuary, Jauljibi, Kali river and Chirkila Dam.
Best Time to Visit: March – June/ September – DecemberThe Caterpillar Fungus, which is said cure many ailments and a natural aphrodisiac grows in this region.
Resting at an altitude of about 1600 mts above sea level, this hill town is an offbeat retreat, with many interesting places to be explored. Since it has been less travelled, most of the places retain its pristine charm. This place was discovered by Raja Varman, who named it after his daughter, ‘Champavati’. It is dotted with many places of religious significance. This unpolluted beauty nestled in the lap of Himalayas offers exquisite and breathtaking moments.Do not Miss to Visit
: Chamunda Devi Temple, Sui Mata Temple, Shri Bageshwar Mahadev Mandir, Gabbar singh Negi Memorial, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Bhuri Singh Museum,
Best time to Visit: March and JuneThat the Chamba-Mussorie belt is famous for delicious Apples
This small town of Pithoragarh is at an altitude of about 2000 mts above sea level. It is very famous amongst trekkers, since it serves as the starting and base point for many trekking routes. The town is surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. Places to see
: Milam Glacier, Thamari Kund, Kalamuni Temple and Birthi Falls.
Best time to Visit: March – May/ October and November.Did you know? The whole place turns red when the Rhodendorans blooms between March and April.
Sattal is a network of seven fresh water lakes interconnected with each other. It is located in the picturesque district of Nainital. The calm, serene atmosphere set amidst the green orchards and at an elevation of about 1,300 mts above sea level proves to be a sheer bliss. The magnitude at which one can witness the biodiversity of flora and fauna in this place is abundant. This place is a favourite spot for ornithologists, since it is home to many migratory birds apart from the permanent residents.Places to see:
Sattal Lake, Sattal Christain Ashram, Bhimtal, Butterfly Museum, Subash Dhara and the resorts.
Best time to visit: March – June/ September – December.The Butterfly museum, founded by Federic Smetacek, also known as the ‘butterfly man’, houses 2500 species of butterflies and 1100 species of insects.
is a small hill station which gets its name from the mystique lake with nine corners. Naukuchiatal perched at an altitude of about 1220 mts above sea level is surrounded by oak trees and lush green meadows. This lake is fed by a perennial underwater spring. This place serves as an ideal getaway to beat the humdrums of city blues.
Activities to do: Angling, Bird Watching, Boating, Paddling, trekking and Parasailing.
Best time to visit: March – June/ October and November.Did you know? Myth has it that whoever gets to see all the nine corners of the lake in a single sweep is said to attain Nirvana. Next time when you are there, you know what to do if you want to attain ‘MOKSHA’.
Wildlife Sanctuaries in UttarakhandUttarakhand
owing to its geographical expanse has a variety of flora and fauna. This is evident in the number of biosphere reserves, sanctuaries and parks dotted across the state. It is fascinating to witness how diverse and distinct the plants and animal kingdom varies in accordance to the altitude.
Uttarakhand has many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries covering almost 14 percent of the total area of the state. It houses many endangered species of flora and fauna.
List of National Parks and sanctuaries in Uttarakhand
- Corbett National Park
- Valley of Flowers National Park
- Rajaji National Park
- Gangotri National Park
- Nanda Devi National Park
- Nalanda Devi National Park
- Govind Pashu Vihar
- Aranyam Eco and Herbal Park
- Pangot Bird Sanctuary
- Askot Wildlife Sanctuary
- Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Govind Wildlife Sanctuary
- Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary
- Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Motichur Wildlife Sanctuary
- Malan Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary
- Binog Wildlife Sanctuary.
Forts of Uttarakhand
The fort is situated at the outskirts of Pithoragarh. This fort was built by the Gorkhas around 1789 during the Chand Period. Pithoragarh is blessed with numerous glaciers, cascading waterfalls, sparkling lakes, gushing rivers and lush fauna. It is the eastern most district of Uttarakhand with an altitude of about 1,650 mts above sea level. This place is filled with locations, which attract tourists for various reasons ranging from historical, spiritual to that of aesthetical relevance. Places to Visit:
Pithoragarh Fort, Kapileshwar Mahadev temple, Dhwaj Temple, Thal Kedar and Chandak.
Best Time to Visit: Since it enjoys a salubrious climate, it is good to visit this place all through the season.It is often referred to as ‘Little Kashmir’ due to its stark resemblance to the Kashmir valley.
It is situated at Patti Sili Chandpur, in District Chamoli. This Fort was the seat of KanakPal, belonging to the Garhwal dynasty. Some of the ruins of the fort are still seen here.
This fort is a great asset given to the people by the Chand Dynasty. It was after the Indian Independence that this fort was converted into the District Collector’s Office. The fort offers a great view of Almora and the nearby countryside. Being situated at the highest point of Almora bazaar, this fort is worth the visit.
Badhan Garhi Fort
Gwaldam hill station is located at the height of about 1700 mtrs above sea level. This hill station is situated in Chamoli district. This place falls on the highway which connects Garhwal and Kumaon region. The remains of Badhan Garhi Fort is located on this hill. This place is also famous for the Durga temple.
Religious Places in Uttarakhand
The very fact that Uttarakhand is referred to as the ‘Dev Bhoomi of Land of Gods’, is proof enough to ascertain the spiritual and religious significance of the region. Nestled amidst the mighty Himalayas which is supposed to be the very abode of ‘Lord Shiva’, the perennial Ganges believed to wash away the sins of its partakers, Uttarakhand remains to be a favoured pilgrim destination. This very expanse once taken by great saints and ascetics centuries ago, has indelible spiritual mark etched, which is evident in the form of temples, ashrams and pilgrim centres across the state. Few places of utmost religious importance being:The Char Dham:
Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and the Yamunotri.The Panch Prayag:
Vishnu Prayag, Dev Prayag, Rudra Prayag, Nanda Prayag and Karna Prayag.
Sacred places like Haridwar, Rishikesh attracts multitudes of pilgrims to its spiritual space.
Resorts and Hotels in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is strewn with resorts, hotels and retreats which render recreation coupled with rejuvenation. It provides an array of amenities and activities which ensures a memorable experience. Here is a list of few resorts and hotels of Uttarakhand.Woods resort
: Nestled in the heart of Himalayas, this resort is a perfect location to enjoy the bliss of the mountains. The location of the resort is such that it entices you with its charm and the magnificent views. The resort is in a serene and peaceful environment offering you the much-needed respite. You do not have to strenuously venture far off to enjoy a nature walk or trek to explore nature, each and every corner of the resort offers you one such opportunity. The rooms give you a rustic feel with the native style and great amenities.
Address: Woods Resort (Pugs Paw Eco Retreat), Heili Chana, PO-Manan, Almora 263638, Uttarakhand, India.Binsar Eco Resort
: A secluded and tranquil space where you can
breathe in the beauty of the Himalayas. The resort offers a beautiful
view of the snow-capped mountains and ensures a comfortable and
cherishable stay for its guests. It is located near the Binsar
Sanctuary. It has around 10 cottages and 40 rooms equipped with all facilities and the windows and balconies open out to a beautiful and
magnificient view of the snow-capped peaks. It has apt locations for
relaxing and sightseeing amidst nature. Binsar Eco resort is an ideal
destination for rejuvenation and getting a grip about nature.
Address: SH 37, Binsar Road, Deenapani, Uttarakhand 263601
Phone Number: 094120 44281Clifftop Ski resort
: A very famous Ski resort, situated in Auli. It holds the honour of having hosted the National winter games and the SAF winter games. It has luxury studios, luxury suites, family suites with all facilities. A multi cuisine restaurant which offers a great dining experience and an open air barbecue. If you want to learn skiing, the resort has professionals who can teach and guide. One can enjoy leisure walks or trek in the pristine snow. The resort also has bonfire facilities, which offers a great camping experience under the stars.
Address: Clifftop Club Resort, Club Group of Hotels, Auli, Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India.Mountain trail Resort
: If you want to experience nature at its best, Mountain trail resort is the apt choice. This resort is snuggled right in the lap of nature, without any impact of the city humdrums. Inner peace, rejuvenation, calmness, serenity, silence are all connotations one can associate to, with respect to the stay at this resort. The Maountain Trail Resort arranges nature trails, yoga, jungle walks and many other outdoor activities. The rooms are simple and clean with all basic facilities, ranging from double rooms to a single one.
Address: Mountain Trail Resort, P.O. Sargakhet, Mukteshwar 263132, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India.
Best Time to Visit UttarakhandMarch to June, the summer months are the best to visit Uttarakhand. However, many tourists hard the weather with enthusiasm even during peak winters to experience the pristine snow and enjoy the activities related with it.Aranya Safari Resort
: Situated at the outskirts of the Corbett park, it offers you a great experience of the rich flora and fauna, along with a comfortable and memorable stay. With the Kosi River flowing by the side, lush green forests and meadows on the other side, the resort ensures breath taking views. It has exclusive villas, which offer privacy in addition to the normal suites. There are a range of activities that you can enjoy organised which include nature walk, safari, bird watching, angling, rafting and trekking.
Address: Aranya Safari REsort, Corbett National Park, Dhikuli, Ramnagar, Nainital - 244715, Uttarakhand, India.
Hotels in UttarakhandThe Haveli Hari Ganga
: The tag line of this hotel being 'Customer is the king', places the preference and comfort of its guests above all. The proximity to many tourist places makes this place one of the most favoured amongst the tourists. A perfect blend of architecture which is reminiscent of the past and the comforts that meet up with modern day standards makes the stay a delightful one. A ‘water well’ located in the very premises of the hotel is said to have curative properties with a unique sweetness. Steam and spa, astrology consults, yoga, meditation, satsang bhavan, local rickshaw transfers, spacious rooms, restaurant and a coffee shop are few of the many facilities offered by this heritage hotel.
Address: The Haveli HariGanga, No 21 Pilibhit House, Ramghat, Haridwar - 249401, Uttarakhand, India.
Phone number: + 91 1334 226443, 265207.The Naini Retreat
: This Himalayan resort, which entices its customers with a concoction of both its traditional and modern charm, is situated right on the slopes of Ayarpatta, valley in Nainital. Over-looking the picturesque Naini lake, this retreat is considered as one of the most reputed heritage hotels. The rooms are done with a great sense of elegance and exquisiteness. One has the option to choose rooms according to their liking, that includes garden rooms which open out in to a small private garden set up, suites offering a picturesque view of the lake, duplex rooms and many more. They also have a restaurant tucked within offering a beautiful view of the valley. If one wants to enjoy a game of golf, a trek or a relaxing day at the spa, this retreat has it all laid out for its guests.
Address: The Naini Retreat, Ayarpatta Slopes, Mallital, Nainital – 263001, Uttarakhand, India.
Phone Number: +91 5942 - 235105, +91 5942 – 235108.Country Inn and Suites
: This hotel located in the ‘Queen of Hills’ near the Kempty falls and many other popular tourist spots, offers a wide range of comfort fused with its contemporary charm. The suites and rooms have a regal touch with great amenities like, 24 hour room service, complimentary breakfast, wellness spa, Kids zone, library and a restaurant which offers a memorable dining experience. It assures a comfortable and cherishable stay.
Address: Country Inn and Suites, Convent Road, Near Library Chowk, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand – 248179, India.Ganga Kinare
: True to its name, resting right on the banks of Ganges is this boutique hotel. This hotel in Rishikesh came to existence in 1989, and has since then been providing exemplary services to its guests. It is the only retreat which offers you a great view of flora, fauna, the majestic mountains while strolling along the banks of the Ganges. It has been hosting the prestigious ‘International Yoga Week’ for many years now, and, hence, acclaimed globally too. At this place not just the stay is memorable, it also ensures the guests go back with a potpourri of experiences. Massage therapy, river rafting, trekking, jungle safari, bird watching and many more activities are on board at this river boutique hotel.
Address: Ganga Kinare, 237, Virbhadra Road, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand - 249201, India.
Apart from these there are many other resorts, hotels and home stay facilities in Uttarakhand, which you may opt according to your convenienceClick Here to Read More about Tourism in Dehradun | Nainital | Roorkee | Mussoorie | Rishikesh | Haldwani
Things To Do in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is one of the most favoured destinations nationally and globally for its tranquillity, picturesque landscape, majestic mountains and spiritual space. This ravishing tourist destination is frequented by travellers for myriad reasons. Here are a few things that you can try out when at Uttarakhand, which will leave you spell bound:
Enjoy the adrenaline gushing adventure sports like mountaineering, skiing, kayaking, river rafting, rock climbing, para gliding and many more.Click Here to Read Things To Do in Roorkee | Nainital | Haridwar | Mussoorie | Rishikesh
Explore the wilderness, Uttarakhand with many parks and wildlife sanctuaries offers a scintillating experience to discover the diverse variety of flora and fauna. Safaris, treks, nature walks, hikes gives the traveller a great scope to enjoy the breath taking expanse of Uttarakhand.
Simmer in the spiritual space, with many sacred and religious places, Uttarakhand provides an opportunity to visit many famous pilgrim destinations and temples. This region is dotted with religious centres thronged by tourists.
Rejuvenate and unwind, at any of the spas or wellness centres. It has many traditional yoga and Ayurveda centres which render a variety of cleansing and detoxifying treatments, that help you de-stress and rejuvenate. Indulge yourself and sink in bliss.
Uttarakhand is a place which will appease travellers from all facets, be it an adventure enthusiast, a spiritual seeker or a nature lover. Just put on the cap you wish to and devour the moment. Click Here to Read More about Tourism in Dehradun | Nainital | Roorkee | Mussoorie | Haridwar | Haldwani | Rishikesh