Rishikesh News Updates
Rishikesh News Updates
Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is one of the favourite places in the world for taking a yoga teacher training programme. Perhaps rightly so given the many places you can sign up for one around Rishikesh. It can be found in almost every corner of the city at prices competitive to those you can find outside of India. Yes, this is true. Even when cost of living is substantially lower than elsewhere. The allure of a total immersion programme in the yoga capital of the world has driven demand and prices of TTCs in Rishikesh way higher than you would expect. Besides, anyone with or without yoga experience, is allowed to sign up for a yoga teacher training here! So the barriers to entry is almost non-existent except the weight on your wallet. In 4 weeks or less, you could become a certified yoga teacher with a fully recognised certificate from the Yoga Alliance, practice experience and teaching ability aside. That’s certainly a very short cut to being a yoga teacher.
So if this is what you want, here is what you can expect from a TTC in Rishikesh. These programmes are almost always full-time programmes. This means an early morning start, at say 6am, for meditation and breathing classes, followed by asana practice before breakfast at 9am. Then it could be followed by lectures on anatomy and asanas before lunch and lessons on yoga philosophy in the afternoon. More asana practice classes are scheduled for late afternoons/evenings before dinner followed by meditation before bedtime at 9pm. Sundays are often off days with no classes and when some form of excursions around Rishikesh could be offered by the center at extra charge.
Such a schedule is standard everywhere in Rishikesh. The main difference is in the quality of the teachers you will be taught by. Class sizes are not fixed and are completely dependent on demand. Don’t be surprised by a TTC class with just 2 to 3 students, it can happen.
What not to expect: full-on-sweaty asana classes. TTCs are for gaining knowledge on how to teach, on learning about the asanas in details and understanding the non-asana aspects of yoga. Therefore, the focus is not on getting you a strong workout. The classes will tend to be slower so that teachers can share more details. And the teaching styles in India may be different from what you are used to; lots more talking is expected from the teacher, not the other way around. Understanding the teachers is a matter of luck, depending on whether your teachers speak clearly and good enough English.
So don’t go to a Rishikesh TTC expecting it to be like your classes at home or you would be in for a disappointment. Find out more about the school and the teachers instead of signing up online for one randomly. Many teachers in Rishikesh have some form of yoga degree (it is not surprising that the nearby university has a focus on yoga), but this doesn’t necessarily make them good teachers or practitioners. If you have the time, go and take some casual classes at the school first before deciding if you should sign up with them.
Photo by Ilya Mauter
Events in the last 3 years have changed how we think about travelling to our favourite teachers. Live classes have gone online, satsangs have gone online and so have kirtan sessions. So what happened to the normally full season in the months of February and March in Rishikesh? Where are the popular gurus who once attracted international crowds of hundreds during this season when guest houses are fully booked and eating at popular restaurants are a long wait every meal time? A check on the schedule says that not all of them are coming back to Rishikesh yet; some retreats and satsangs, like those with Mooji Baba and Shanti Mayi Ma, are now only held around Europe and online. Those of you who still want to attend live sessions in Rishikesh this season, there are a few good news: Prem Baba, Krishna Das, Kirtan Fest and the International Yoga Festival are back in town. Check out their schedules:
Prem Baba satsangs and silent retreats – 1 Feb to 8 March, Dhyan Mandir
Krishna Das concert – 19 February, Swami Swatantranand Ashram Sheesham Jadhi
Kirtan Fest – 1 – 20 March,
International Yoga Festival - 8 – 14 March, Parmath Niketan Ashram
Perhaps the less crowded atmosphere in Rishikesh this year is a good change too? It certainly will be for long term stayers at least.
Yoga Retreat In Bali Or Rishikesh?
Bali is a holiday heaven - lovely people, beaches, mountains, lush greenery, beautiful hotels, wonderful variety of food and a tropical climate. Yoga in Bali has gained popularity over the years, with several well-known yoga studios in various parts of the island like in Ubud, Seminyak and in almost every resort.
Rishikesh is, on the other hand, a famous international yoga city and deservedly so. There are yoga teacher training and classes in almost every corner of Rishikesh, all with well trained teachers who are qualified to teach more than yoga. It can't get better than being totally immersed in India where the source of yoga originated, particularly in a holy city like Rishikesh. If learning yoga from excellent teachers, learning about vedic philosophy (like in ashrams), experiencing ayurveda and attending satsangs are what you are after, then Rishikesh is all about this. So the choice for a serious yogi is clear, Rishikesh is definitely the place to deepen your knowledge and practice.
So why do people still head to Bali for yoga? Bali is an island that is very well developed for the western tourists who want to have it easy. Standards of living are much higher and the living environment makes one feel much more comfortable. But don't expect more than yoga classes in Bali as most are drop-in studios which focus only on the physical aspects of yoga. If practising is all you want, Bali is a more comfortable and 'westernised' option.
Rishikesh is an Indian city, and like in any other place in India, things can get a little chaotic. The living environment is less comfortable or clean so you will feel more like on a budget holiday rather than a luxury retreat. Sure, there are better hotels but most are in the budget/mid-class range and once you are out of your hotel, it's the same chaos! People who do come to Rishikesh have a different mindset - to learn and to experience more than to be pampered.
For a serious yogi, Rishikesh is the obvious choice. If you don't want to sacrifice your western comforts, then Bali might be better. But why lose the chance to learn more about yoga if you are serious?
Check out here to know more about yoga and meditation classes in Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a pure vegetarian city where you can enjoy excellent Indian vegetarian food everywhere within all budgets. This used to mean even eggs could not be found. These days though, you will see some egg and even chicken dishes at some restaurants, mostly located in the Upper Tapovan areas. What about vegan food in Rishikesh? Vegetarian Indians do enjoy dairy products such a chai, paneer and malai (a kind of cream). Many Indian vegetarian food are actually vegan, the problem is, you need to know what they are as the dishes are often listed in the menu with only their Hindi names. You could ask the service staff which dishes are vegan if you are in places that are better established.
As Rishikesh is a big tourist city, the restaurants often even serve vegan Western style dishes. Organic cafes are also not uncommon in Rishikesh although it is hard to say if all the ingredients used are indeed organic. These cafes and restaurants are mostly located in the areas around Laxman Jhula, all the way from the autorickshaw stand to the places across the bridge. Just keep a look out for the signs if you are looking for an organic place to eat.
The large number of foreign tourists in high season brought along a few very good and big local provision shops selling organic and vegan food. So if you are vegan or vegetarian and plan to stay for a while in Rishikesh, here are some supermarkets you can buy your raw organic ingredients, packed organic/vegan food and other organic products:
Tattv Organic Store
Arora Provision Store
They are probably the largest and most well-stocked organic shops in Rishikesh and all of them are located on the main Badrinath Road as you walk down towards Laxman Jhula. Can't miss them. If you aren't in this area, most other smaller provision shops scattered all over Rishikesh do sell a smaller selection of organic products.
Why Learn Yoga In Rishikesh
Yoga has its origin in India and Rishikesh has been known as the land of yoga. Why is Rishikesh a good choice in India to learn yoga when you can learn it anywhere else in India or even in your own country?
Reasons for coming to Rishikesh for yoga:
It is probably hard to find another more comfortable town in India to learn yoga or do a yoga retreat. And despite the large number of yoga centers in Rishikesh, you can still find some genuinely good and experienced teachers. Rishikesh is indeed the land of yoga.
Finding a deserving non-profit organization in Rishikesh to support can be a difficult task. There are many big charitable organizations in Rishikesh. Even the ashrams in Rishikesh are also involved in different forms of charity work. If you speak to the locals here, they might paint you a different picture of how these bigger charities work, especiallly those run by the ashrams in Rishikesh. But this should be in a different post.
I have chosen to highlight here 2 very small initiatives I found recently. They support the underprivileged in Rishikesh, and sometimes in the regions nearby, in different ways - food rations, medication costs, education fees, children day care centers, individual help for difficult circumstances, etc. Their activities benefit the beneficiaries directly without all the resources wasted in bureaucratic matters or having the donated money passing through too many hands. These are joint efforts by both Indians, Rishikesh locals and foreign volunteers, doing what they can to care for the community they live in.
Atma Seva - they have a website as well but this Facebook page here has plenty of current updates about their work
Freedom Group Rishikesh - focuses more on the children in Rishikesh
If you have more time out of your yoga retreat or travel schedule and would like to spend some time getting to know the Rishikesh community better, I have written in another post about volunteering in Rishikesh.
Coronavirus in Rishikesh
For a few months this year, tourism in Rishikesh came to a halt. The state did not allow entry to tourists and Indians from certain states till September. For Rishikesh, tourism is a big and important business and many locals are employed in the industry. In September, rafting in Rishikesh is open again. This is a mainstay that brings in lots of local tourists every year. Sounds like good news for Rishikesh. Unfortunately shortly after opening for business again, many rafting guides began testing positive for the corona virus. The reason? The tourists were not following rules.
India is a very crowded country, even in a small town like Rishikesh. Many logical corona virus measures would not be quite logically implementable here or anywhere in India as people live in close proximity in crowded areas.
When can Rishikesh be safe again? When can the world be safe again for travels? Let's hope the corona vaccine will relieve us of this terrible period of time soon. Meanwhile, you will have to wait for that yoga retreat. But if you just want to practice with a particular yoga teacher in Rishikesh, many have started zoom classes. Check it out. Even some satsang teachers have gone online. So all is not lost, thankfully.
Crime in Rishikesh
Is Rishikesh safe? Can women travel alone around Rishikesh? The big answer is Yes.
Does it mean there are no crimes on women or general crimes in Rishikesh? No, it doesn't mean that. Petty crimes like pick-pocketing or minor robberies can happen anywhere in the world although this doesn't happen often in Rishikesh. India is infamous for rape crimes. Rishikesh is no exception although the incident rates are low and if you read such news carefully, you may notice possible reasons that the crime could happen. Many men in India are sex hungry. I am sorry, but this is the truth. Perhaps from being deprived of regular boy-girl relationships which are sometimes frowned upon or restricted? Perhaps from lack of experience with nudity or partially clothe/unclothe women? Nobody really becomes sexually aroused seeing a naked woman in Europe for example, in fact, people will just laugh at the sight and wonder what's wrong. Nude strangers sitting together in public saunas in Europe raise not an eyelid. Reactions are different in India, bear in mind this is a totally different culture.
So okay, why is it still safe for women in Rishikesh then? Well, if you behave as Romans do when in Rome and don't do anything silly, why shouldn't it be safe? Here's what women should not do in Rishikesh:
- Walking in areas not inhabited by people (this can hardly be the case in main Rishikesh areas where tourists are), especially at night.
- Drinking with Indian male "friends". If you don't already know, Rishikesh is an alcohol free city. But nevertheless locals are known to drink in private sometimes. So if you are invited by your new found, friendly local guy to an alcoholic (or for that matter non-alcoholic) drink in your hotel room, a private house/room or yoga center, know that you put yourself at risks of being drunk or drugged or both. Many locals are nice, friendly people. Just know where the borders are with the men.
- Inviting men into your hotel room for chats. This could look like something else to the other person. Remember, you are in a different culture. Why not go to a cafe? Or just in your hotel lobby if everything is closed at that hour?
- going home too late after a round of hanging out somewhere - get someone you know to walk you back or not stay beyond 9-10pm when the shops are all closed and most people are already home.
- dressing too immodestly. Meaning showing off your cleavage in super tight yoga clothes for example. Too much skin attracts too much unnecessary attention no matter how you see it. Besides, Rishikesh is a holy town, so why the urge to flaunt or make a statement?
These sound all like logical advice but believe me, if you are in India for the first time, you might become over friendly or not understand where boundaries should be. Just be aware of your surroundings and nothing much can happen in Rishikesh. It is indeed a very safe town, especially the tourist areas.
Here's some recent serious crimes in the news. Though not at all common, it happens. Read how it happens.
Uttarakhand: 37-year-old yoga enthusiast from US raped by local resident in Rishikesh
Yogashala attendant rapes US woman in Rishikesh
Many people end up staying in Rishikesh for a longer period than they had planned. It is not just for the yoga classes but also the extremely tourist friendly environment of Rishikesh makes it a very comfortable stop in India. It does get crowded in high season but nothing as bad as being in big cities like Delhi or Mumbai. Even with the tourist crowd, Rishikesh is still a very peaceful and lovely spot to hang out longer. It has everything to please the tourists - somewhat in between a cosy bohemian and a very Indian feeling. You get it.
Although most people come to Rishikesh for yoga, there are plenty of other things you can do if you stay for a longer term. Learning Hindi is one, especially if you want to build a longer relationship with the Indians you meet or want to understand a little more about the community beyond what regular tourists know. Most Indians speak English and you do get by very well without Hindi, but the minute you want to explore outside the main Rishikesh areas, being able to read and speak some Hindi helps you connect to what you see and experience. Being able to speak to locals in their language brings another dimension to your travel experience too. Do you need to learn the Devanagri script? Well, there are still quite a lot of sign boards (including boards that explain about places of interest) written in scripts although you don't need to learn the script to be able to speak Hindi since the language has a Romanized form. So if you would like to be able to read the signages around you, it helps to learn the script.
Here are a few Hindi teachers in Rishikesh:
Hindi Lesson by Ravi
Pushpa Language School of Hindi
Be patient with it and have fun!
Check out here what other things you can do in Rishikesh.
May to September are popular months to go for pilgrimage in the mountains north of Rishikesh. During these months, Rishikesh is normally very crowded with pilgrims and hotels and guesthouses are often full. These are also the hottest months in Rishikesh and the tides in the Ganges can be dangerously strong and high (not adviced to swim in it during these periods).
There are a few popular sites near Rishikesh that local tourists visit for pilgrimage. One of them is the Neelkantha Mahadeva Temple, about an hour up the mountains just behind Rishikesh. Jeeps can be chartered or shared from Laksman Jhula jeep stand to get there. Be prepared for the very windy road up, so if you tend to get car sick, get those seats facing the front and not sideways. Private taxis are also available from all the taxi stands in Rishikesh.
What is very famous and important in this region is the Char Dham pilgrimage to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri high up in the mountains with beautiful routes along the Ganges, the Alaknanda and many other rivers. Starting with Rishikesh either with the bus from the city bus station or a private taxi, you will pass through the holy site where the Ganges starts (not the source but where the river starts to be known as the Ganges) at Devprayag. Expect the car ride to be a day long to reach any of the temples and do plan at least a 7-10 days if you wish to visit all 4 temples. The limited hotel/guesthouses in the mountains are often full during the pilgrimage months, so book ahead and be prepared to pay pretty high prices for basic accomodations. The weather is hot and sunny in the day, but cools down rapidly in the night, so bring some warm clothes and good walking shoes. Take note that Kedarnath is about 17km walk one way, a stay overnight near the temple is usually required.
If you are still haven't had enough of the mountains after visiting the Char Dham sites, there are a few other lovely hikes and pilgrimage sites such as the Valley of the Flowers and the Hemdkund Sahib - an important pilgrimage site for the Sikhs. These sites also require day long hikes to reach.
If holy sites are not your thing, there are plenty of nice hikes in these mountains. Discuss with a tour agent in Rishikesh and they will arrange something to meet your ability and needs.
Satsangs in Rishikesh
Beyond being a hotspot for yoga, many tourists also come to Rishikesh for the famous satsang gatherings. What are satsangs? Basically it is a gathering of like-minded, spiritual people to listen to an expert speaker talk about topics in spirituality.
In Rishikesh, the main satsang season runs from October till March when the climate is cooler and dryer. There are a few famous satsang speakers who do annual sessions or are based part of the time in Rishikesh:
Shanti Mayi speak at the Satcha Dam Ashram near Laxman Jhula - she caters mostly to the English speaking crowd.
Mooji currently draws the largest crowd, usually in February or March. He speaks at the Swami Swatantranand Ashram in Rishikesh market area.
Sri Prem Baba is a spanish speaker. His satsangs are concurrently translated into English. He speaks also at the Satcha Dam Ashram in a different hall as Shanti Mayi. They both sometimes have sessions at the same time.
Most satsangs end or begin with kirtan singing which is very enjoyable. As with the talks, it really depends on what you are looking for. All the 3 speakers above have their own youtube channels and websites where you can also listen to them for free. Maybe try them out online first to decide who suits you?
Booking a guesthouse when any of these 3 speakers are in town, especially Mooji, is often very difficult as they have all been pre-booked by their followers. If you know you want to go to Rishikesh during the satsang season, do book your room ahead of time. Rooms can also become more expensive then. Restaurants do become full and waiting time is long. These speakers do command a crowd into town! And this is on top of the usual yoga crowd!
Check out here for more details on the satsangs.
Indians speak of the market very often. Not just the housewives but also the men. Why? Because the market in small towns like Rishikesh simply means the main city area with plenty of shops selling everything you need.
When locals in Rishikesh speak of the market, they refer to the main Rishikesh city area, not those at Laxman or Ram Jhula areas. So where is this? It is about 3km downstream from Ram Jhula on the main road side. This means you can either walk for 30-45 mins or take an Autorickshaw anywhere along the road, just flag them down and they costs about 10-20R each way. Read more about the local transportation here. The market area is pretty big, so it would be better if you can tell the driver where to stop, else just stop and wander around once you see the start of all the shops. Here you can get anything from household items like electronics, cleaning tools and towels, to food items, clothes and saris. There are also plenty of hardware shops if you need one. Some shops will also sell yoga items, such as ropes to make yoga belts, etc. There are also plenty of ATMs (when the ones near your guesthouse do not work) and a few banks in the market area. More information on the main Rishikesh market here.
The markets that most tourists know about are the ones in Ram Jhula and Laksman Jhula. In Ram Jhula market there are shops selling religious items, religious books in Hindi, bookshops, provision shops, clothes shops selling more touristy apparels, shops with lots of yoga related items, jewellery shops, tourist cafes and restaurants. It is slightly smaller and more traditional than the one over at Laxman Jhula. Find out more about the Ram Jhula area here.
The Laxman Jhula market is a little more hip. There are some really nice cafes and restaurants along the Ganges, plenty of shops selling yoga clothes and other items, mini-markets for food and other yoga things, more upmarket boutiques selling indian/boho/ hippie clothes and home decorations, indian and tibetan jewellery shops, bookshops and just about anything that might interest a tourist. The Laxman square (on the German Bakery side) has also quite a few more upmarket looking shops selling ayurveda products and a couple of Fab India inspired shops (Fab India is also on that side!). So if you want to join the more hip crowd and have more shopping options, Laxman Jhula market is the better option. Find out more about the Laxman Jhula area here.
So you do have more than enough places to shop and eat in Rishikesh, just make sure you bring enough suitcases to carry the stuff home!
Spas in Rishikesh
Like any tourist towns in Asia, there are many spas in Rishikesh. Being in India, the spas here focus mostly on ayurvedic treatments and massages. The standard offerings like Pancha Karma, Shirodhara, Abhyanga, Ayurvedic facials, etc. are available in all the spas, with some offering also international massages such as Thai and Swedish massage. Ayurvedic consultation where you can get a full body analysis and the recommended treatments for your body type often comes with package treatments which can be anything from a week to a few weeks long. This is when you can fully indulge in all the different treatments, learn more about how to benefit from Ayurveda and enjoy satvic meals when full board is provided. Of course, all the services don't come cheap. But where else in the world can you enjoy and experience all these full Ayurvedic services in one house?
Here's my recommendation, they are worth your money and you do not have to worry about cleanliness or standards of treatments:
For a more affordable and very professional spa conveniently located at Laxman Jhula Chowk:
Prakriti Vedic Spa
For a full board spa with middle class hotel rooms located on the quiet hills opposite Ram Jhula:
For the ultimate luxury spa with 5 star hotel rooms in the former Tehri Gharwal palace an hour up the mountains from Rishikesh:
The Ananda Spa
*Shirodhara photo from Adams Homestay
There are thousands of volunteer opportunities in India, most of them involves teaching children in a school. Many volunteer work agents are online, looking for summer school volunteers. How do you choose where to volunteer? There are several reasons I think most volunteer work opportunities are not useful and not ligit.
First of all, most volunteers have no more than a week or two. What do you think the kids will stand to gain in this short period of time apart from a temporary friendship and a couple of possibly ill-prepared lessons? So if you do want to do it, give it more time and not take it as part of a traveller experience to be marked off the list. Look for opportunities to work with the organisation in other capacities beyond teaching, such as some office work, IT related work, cleaning up work, teaching sports to the kids, etc. Work with your skillsets.
Secondly, why go with these agents who take a cut from making travel arrangements for you and connecting you to the organisations? Your money is better off as a donation to the organisation. If an experience is what you want, why not look for an organisation yourself, write to them and ask. Making travel arrangements on your own is also part of the experience isn't it? If you are old enough to travel and volunteer, you are old enough to do this yourself.
Thirdly, be careful of where you volunteer. Stories of fake schools are not unheard of. These charity schools are set up with donations from foreigners trying to do something good for the village children. In fact, the schools get financially maintained from overseas funds, they buy some books, uniforms and stationary for the children but they don't normally run! Only when sponsors visit or when there are volunteer groups, do the children and teacher appear!
In Rishikesh, I wouldn't suggest volunteering in an ashram because ashrams are usually well staffed by paid employees who can do the work and where you probably won't feel very useful. Just stay in an ashram and take up whatever programmes they offer if you want the experience. Volunteering in a commercial yoga school doesn't make sense too. These are schools that charge huge amounts of money for yoga courses and should be able to maintain their schools with paid employees (this helps someone have a job too).
After all the scepticism, here is a list of places in Rishikesh where you can directly be in contact with the organisation. These organisations aren't fakes, they look pretty well-run, located in very local neighbourhoods where the community is served and most times the founders live in Rishikesh and work personally in their organisations. Click on the names to go to their websites.
Kushi Charitable Society
Mother Miracle Community Development Programs
Children of the Ganges
Ganga Prem Hospice
Karma Animal Trust
Rishikesh Animal Care
If you wish to donate something, do check what is needed and buy them from the local Rishikesh market to support the shops. Check around for prices. It is also better to explore this on your own then to simply pay a local to do it for you, chances are, you will get a better deal.
PS: I found 2 very small, genuine Rishikesh charity initiatives recently which may need more support. Check out the other blog post - one particularly supports widows and underprivileged families in Rishikesh in various ways.
Hotels in Rishikesh
Do a google search for hotels in Rishikesh and you will find hundreds of them. How do you select one that suits your needs? What should you be looking for?
First off, plan what you want to do in Rishikesh. Travelling around Rishikesh can be time consuming, so deciding what you want to do before choosing a hotel/guesthouse nearby could save you time to do more things. This is particularly important if you want to be involved in several daily activities like taking part in classes.
There are a few areas to stay in and each one provides different amenities. The distances to other places and the convenience of each area various. Check out the different areas here.
The hotels and guesthouses can be broadly classified into 3 categories:
1) higher end hotels - these often feel more like middle class hotels in other countries. They are clean, often has in-house restaurants and sometimes a good view to the Ganges. Prices are upwards of US$60 per night.
2) middle class hotels - they feel more like budget hotels in other countries. Cleanliness is subjective, often in convenient and possibly quite noisy locations. Some have small in-house restaurants. Prices are upwards of US$30 per night.
3) budget guesthouses and homestays - these rooms range vastly in standards, prices and locations. They form the bulk of the accommodations in Rishikesh. You do need to look at their reviews and be prepared that it may not be what you expected. If you plan to stay long-term, it is cheaper to look for a homestay with a shared or personal kitchen (often at extra charges to be fixed with a gas stove). Negotiate with the owners for better long-term rates. Be prepared to give the room a thorough clean up before you feel uncomfortable in them, just like you would in any rented rooms. There are many homestays in the Upper Tapovan area which is a little further away from the main tourist spots but also generally quieter and cheaper.
So what can you do on your "yoga day-off"? Want to experience more of real India? Head down to the Rishikesh market and your senses are certain to be awakened - it's all loud, crowded and cramped. It is a typical small Indian city, with lots of shops selling anything from hardware to clothes to electronics and, of course, food. It may seem at first sight that there is nothing particularly interesting for tourists here, but there are a few places which deserves a mention. First off, the Triveni Ghat, a popular ghat with local tourists. The well-built and lovely walking path along the Ganges at Triveni Ghat brings you back to Ram Jhula if you turn left. It makes for a nice walk that is usually not too crowded.
If you really want to enjoy authentic Indian food, head to the famous and crowded Rajasthani Restaurant along the main road. The food here is great though a little spicier than what you get in the Ram/Laxman Jhula areas. They have a very special range of Indian sweets (mithai) as well and if you are there shortly before Diwali, they literally sell hundreds of different varieties. Bear with the crowd, it is worth it. If you can still stomach more, head down to Pappu Lassi across the street in the middle of the market. They sell the creamiest lassi around. What used to be just a popular lassi dispensing machine is now a proper shop with seats! At 30R a cup, it is really a drink not to be missed, especially on a hot day.
I did say top 3 places to visit in Rishikesh market, but if you still have time and are adventurous enough, take a slow hour walk from Rajasthani Restaurant to the Rishikesh Railway Station. It is small and peaceful, very unlike most other Indian train stations. This easy walk is also recommended if you are interested in seeing some local life away from the crowded market.