The name of Rishikesh can be broken down into the Sanskrit words of hrishika, meaning "senses" and isha, meaning "lord." Therefore, the name can be translated as “lord of the senses,” referring to the Hindu god, Vishnu. The name was given after Lord Vishnu appeared to Raibhya Rishi when he was carrying out his spiritual practices here.
The local laws ensure that Rishikesh is a strictly vegetarian and tee-total place, where cows always have the right-of-way in traffic.
The large number of yoga centers and ashrams here mean that it is almost always filled with foreigners seeking spiritual enlightenment. Meditation in this city and time spent in the Ganges here are believed by many to help advance a person’s quest to reach moksha.