Uttarakhand Stories

‘Irresponsible Tourism’- A threat to Rishikesh’s individuality and uniqueness.

by Archana
Jan 21, 2020
Creative by Kaushal Shah

Many popular tourist hubs are gradually becoming the victims of Irresponsible tourism, Rishikesh’s story is no different, a place which has great historical and religious relevance is steadily losing its individuality and uniqueness to mass, commercialization and careless tourism.

Anti-social behavior of tourists is affecting Rishikesh severely such as dressing inappropriately in sacred places, boozing, spoiling local customs, disrespecting people’s living spaces, Polluting, trampling and littering, with little financial benefit for local people and huge environmental destruction.

Yoga capital Rishikesh is revered among every age group individual for multiple reasons:

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram (Beatles):

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram

Rishikesh catapulted to western acclaim when the Beatles dropped by for a visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram where they had practiced contemplation here for weeks and made a few excellent tunes. Ashram (closed till Dec 2015) has been reopened to the public.

Outdoor activities:

River Rafting at Rishikesh

The popularity of Rishikesh among youthful era cannot be underestimated, it is in demand for its different adventure exercises, such as Bungee jump, Water rafting, Camping, Cliff jumping, Rappelling, Rock climbing, Trekking etc.

Religious significance:

Ram Jhula, Rishikesh

Scenically located where the Ganges River comes down from the Himalayas, there are numerous religious myths and history related to this place, it has numerous sanctuaries and spots of devout significance such as, Shatrughan Mandir, Sivananda Ashram, Bharat Mandir, Gita Bhavan, Laxman Jhula, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Swarg Ashram, Trayambakeshwar Sanctuary, etc.

Yoga capital:

People performing Yoga

With yoga becoming a worldwide phenomena, Rishikesh is in the spotlight as one of the finest destinations to visit for the Indian art of yoga and spirituality. This devout and notable town, which is additionally called Yoganagari, has been home to countless holy people, rishis and spiritual seekers over the years.

This global recognition of being the Yoga Capital of the world has driven people from across the globe to grab positivity from this earthly land of sages. But due to this alternate boost towards irresponsible tourism the reputation of Rishikesh is at stakes. It is an individual’s responsibility to be a responsible tourist and an organizers responsibility too to spread the awareness.

Getaway to Char Dham Yatra:

It is a useful gateway to the Himalayas. The Char Dham Yatra ideally begins from Rishikesh. Gangotri, Yamnotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are the Char Dham of Uttarakhand.

Trimbakeshwar Temple Rishikesh

Above are the major reasons which promote mass tourism in Rishikesh. As it is said, with great demand comes great responsibility. So, are tourists Responsible?

Yes! A few of them are capable, their endeavors merit appreciation, but majority of them are careless and don’t consider a tourist place as their own homes because nobody would exploit their own home.

  • Non-vegetarian food and liquor is prohibited in Rishikesh but numerous cases frequently come to light where individuals bring such drinks amid their camping and ruin the calm and peaceful climate of Yoga capital. Besides, they dump those purge liquor bottles into adjacent water-bodies consequently contaminating water
  • Another most common faux these days is around photography. Taking pictures and selfies here, there and all over. Arriving into a modest town outfitted with cameras, but no sense of compassion as they treat individuals as objects for amusement.
  • For hikers and bikers adrenaline addiction rather than adventure in remote places has become a new trend, often making the expeditions more about the achievement than the journey, which as a result lead to accidents.
  • With thousands landing on the slopes, trampling and littering, with small budgetary advantage for nearby individuals and colossal natural devastation. In spite of the fact that, A few charity companies or race organizers have mindful tourism approaches, but they are uncommon, the reality is that numerous travel companies and the travel media don’t highlight this genuine issue.
  • As per wikivoyage, “A holy city it may be, but Rishikesh draws more than its fair share of criminals and con men. Don’t walk around alone at night and beware of the motives of sadhus offering one-on-one tutoring. There is also a gem stone hoax going on in at least one gem store: They ask you to bring the stones to your own country to a “buyer” who doesn’t exist.”

How incredible a giver is nature, everything it has it shares with us, its rains, its winds, its snow, its sunlight and sometimes the mixture of all these, still what does it gets in return? A reckless and Irresponsible tourist?

So, let’s pledge to become a responsible tourist and follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t litter and offer your assistance in keeping up our cities clean and green.
  • Don’t smoke, do not drink liquor or do not use drugs at public places and devout spots.
  • Do not drive on unless you’re well-aware of Indian streets and drive to the left of the road.
  • Don’t touch or bug creatures and back preservation of creatures by paying entrance expenses to parks and preserved sites.
  • Don’t purchase crafts or items made from skin of endangered animals.
  • Do not take any photos which will make individuals embarrassed.
  • Do not deliver any hostile comment around any religion; it might be controversial
  • Do not buy or book hotels/bus/air/railway tickets through outsiders or unauthorized agents.
  • Do not enlist transportation from unlicensed administrators.


Unlike spoken words written expressions and feelings remain loyal forever, so I thought why not become a writer and make my words immortal.

One Response

Purnima Sharma Says

Vary very nice and relevant issues raised by you but unfortunately Indians are not very keen in paying any heed to this kind of sane voices.there is great need to start some kind of mission or drive by public and UT government. Some kind of restriction on outsiders movement,mandatory registration like Amarnath Yatra as ecology of this area is fragile. Use of plastic should be totally banned.