‘Ancient Mangrove Cave in Rishikesh’
Far away from the madness of the city lies the Vashishtha Gufa which is one of the best places to meditate in Rishikesh. This ancient cave sits on the banks of river Ganga and in the midst of a thick grove of Gular (Ficus) tree. A flight of 200 steps will take you to Vashita Gufa.
Inside Vashishtha Cave:
- The entrance of Vashishtha Gufa is well lit but as one steps further, the cave becomes pitch black.
- The cave is clean, well-maintained and its floor is strewn with white mats that can seat 12 people at a time.
- One can see a Shivlinga installed at the end of the cave. The only source of light is the flickering oil lamp.
- The cave is cool and the aroma of burning incense sticks lingers in the air. It’s a very nice place to indulge in meditation.
Mythology related to Vashishtha Gufa:
As per the Hindu legends, it is the same site where the great sage Vashishta meditated during his stay in Rishikesh. Revered as one of the greatest Vedics, Rishi Vashishta was one of the Saptrishis (Seven Great Sages or Rishis) and the guru of Lord Rama. Devotees believe that after the sad demise of his children, sage Vashishta tried to commit suicide in the Ganga river.
But Goddess Ganga refused his plea. The beauty of this place spellbound Arundhati, the wife of sage Vashishtha and she decided to stay here. To overcome the grief, Sage Vashishta and Arundhati immersed themselves in meditation at this place for over a hundred years.
History of Vashishta Gufa:
- People believe that Swami Purushottamananda Ji, a famous Hindu saint visited here in the 20th century.
- Later devotees built an ashram near the cave, which is popular as Swami Purushottamanand Ashram. Here many devotees come for meditation.
- Currently, Swami Purushottamananda Ji Trust manages the Ashram and the cave.
About Vashishtha Gufa:
- Vashishtha Gufa is a naturally-formed caved which is 60 feet deep and has a Shivlinga inclined vertically into the cave opening.
- There are several rooms built outside the cave area which has become a permanent stay for the Sadhus.
- Since the cave temple is situated in the midst of a dense thicket you can explore the wilderness.
Things to do in and around Vashishtha Gufa:
- Although Vashishtha Gufa is a place to offer prayer and engage in spirituality. But one can also delve deep into the surroundings that offer amplitude of adventure opportunities.
- The wooded beauty near Vashishta Cave is perfect for
- Bird watching
- And star gazing.
- Go for village walks to Gular, a tiny hamlet near the ashram or relax on the beach near the river.
- There is a small cave outside the ashram which is popular as “Arundhati Cave”. On the other side, you can see an iron suspension bridge near Gular village. From here you can cross the river.
- If you have ample time, then visit some of the nearby attractions like Neer Ghattu waterfall at 2.5 km away and Shivpuri a famous river-rafting and camping site at 11 km away.
When to visit Vashishtha Gufa:
One can visit Vashishtha Gufa throughout the year since the weather is always pleasant here.
Timings to Visit Vashishtha Cave:
The visiting timings of Vashishtha Gufa are from (9 am to 12 pm) and from (3 pm to 6 pm). The cave remains close between (12 pm to 3 pm).
Transportation Options: Cab/Auto
Trip Duration: 1-2 hours
Food: Few tea shops located nearby
Petrol Pump: Available at Shivpuri
How to Reach Vashishtha Gufa in Rishikesh:
- The Vashishtha Cave is about 20-25 km away from Rishikesh and only 6 km from Shivpuri.
- Follow the Rishikesh–Badrinath highway route which will only take an hour to reach here.
- Buses, jeep and taxis are available to Vashishtha Gufa from Rishikesh. Rishikesh railway station at 25 km.
- It is the nearest railhead and Jolly Grant airport Dehradun at 39 km away is the closest air connectivity from here.