Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary "Kedarkhand". Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the asura king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, using two jute ropes at the point where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' stands today. The 'Kedarkhand' of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by a 248-foot long iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889. After it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced in 1927 by the present stronger bridge built by the United Provinces Public Works Department. This bridge connects the two districts of Tapovan, Tehri and Jonk, Pauri Garhwal. Another similar suspension bridge Ram Jhula was built in 1986 at nearby Sivananda Nagar.
The historical records mention that some pilgrims used to stay at Rishikesh as a resting place before moving onwards to the higher mountains for the pilgrimage while a larger number used to visit Rishikesh as the original destination and visited various sites between Rishikesh and Lakshman Jhula before returning. However, Rishikesh has in recent decades shifted from a pilgrim to a tourist town. The International Yoga Festival introduced in 2000 has brought new influx of tourists. Local markets have evolved from commercializing goods such as "local and religious handicrafts" to a more service-oriented tourist industry with "provision stores, cafes, hotels and yoga and meditation" as well as rafting.
Ganga or the river Ganges is the holy river of India for Hindus. She is truly a Divine mother and source of inspiration. She irrigates not only farmer's fields, but also hearts, mind and souls of millions of devotees. Every evening, as the suns last rays touches the holy Ganga, people gather near Paramarth Niketan's Ganga Ghat and Thriveni Ghat to experience the holy Ganga Arthi (Fire offering to the river). It is a top attraction at Rishikesh and is an important religious ceremony. This Divine ceremony is filled with prayers, and arthi where, people provide fire offerings to the river in the form of floating lamp and flowers. It is a spectacular view, where thousands of lamps float on the river and looks like stars